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Group members

My research group, in the lingo of my institute, is called a “research section” with the name Stellar Physics and Exoplanets, and it includes an embedded “research group” with the name Stellar Activity which is led by my senior scientist Sydney Barnes. The current group members, as of January 2022, are:

Senior scientists:

  • Prof. Dr. Katja Poppenhaeger (head of Stellar Physics and Exoplanets); star-exoplanet systems, stellar magnetic activity, exoplanetary atmospheres, young stars, coronae
  • Dr. Sydney Barnes (head of embedded group Stellar Activity); gyrochronology, stellar clusters
  • Dr. Thorsten Carroll; Doppler Imaging, Zeeman Doppler Imaging
  • Dr. Matthias Steffen; stellar chromospheres, simulations


  • Dr. Julián Alvarado-Gómez (Schwarzschild Fellow); stellar coronal mass ejections, exoplanet atmospheres
  • Dr. Matthias Mallonn; exoplanet atmospheres
  • Dr. Eliana Amazo Gomez; stellar magnetism and rotation
  • Dr. Elisabeth Cole-Kodikara; stellar clusters (with Barnes)
  • Dr. Andy Gallagher; stellar atmospheres and abundances
  • Dr. Engin Keles; exoplanet atmospheres
  • Dr. Dario Fritzewski; stellar clusters (with Barnes)

PhD students:

  • Ekaterina Ilin; low-mass stars, flares, star-planet systems
  • Nikoleta Ilic; stellar magnetic activity, binary systems
  • Xanthippi Alexoudi; exoplanet detection and characterization
  • Laura Ketzer; young exoplanets
  • Grace Foster; X-ray observations of exoplanet systems
  • Judy Chebly; simulations of coronal mass ejections in star-exoplanet systems
  • David Gruner; stellar spectroscopy (with Barnes)
  • Yu Xu (visiting PhD student); coronal mass ejections

Master and Bachelor students:

  • Prachi Rahate (master student); stellar rotation
  • Joana Wokittel (master student); tellurics and exoplanet atmospheres
  • Julia Schötzig (bachelor student); exoplanet obliquities
  • Cole Kilby (master student); machine learning and exoplanet spectroscopy
  • Desmond Dsouza (master student); stellar activity of wide binary systems

Graduates and former long-term group members

  • Dr. Silva Järvinen; magnetic fields of low-mass and intermediate-mass stars (moved over to the AIP’s high-resolution spectroscopy group as the Instrument Scientist for the ELT-ANDES UBV spectrograph)
  • Engin Keles (earned PhD degree from Potsdam University in 2021, stays in group as postdoc)
  • Dario Fritzewski (earned PhD degree from Potsdam University in 2021, stays in group as postdoc)
  • Marzie Hosseini (Master student, graduated 2021 from Potsdam University); light curve analysis of a potential young exoplanet
  • Alexandre Gillet (Master student, graduated 2021 from Potsdam University); variability of exoplanet albedos
  • Rob Wells (PhD student, graduated 2020 from Queen’s University Belfast); exoplanets, transits, habitability
  • Rachel Booth (PhD student, graduated 2019 from Queen’s University Belfast); stellar ages, stellar magnetic activity, X-ray and optical observations

Special exoplanet seminars

  • Feb. 2022: Victoria diTomasso on exoplanet projects and the graduate student experience in the US
  • Feb. 2020: Prof. Dr. Carolina von Essen on TESS light curve studies of exoplanet host stars
  • Nov. 2019: Dr. Vera Dobos on tidal heating of exomoons