I am a professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Western University.
Research: I study large carbonaceous molecules in
the interstellar medium, around dying stars, and in star forming
regions. I currently focus on two main research topics: the study of
fullerenes (and in particular
C60, a species we discovered in space in 2010), and the
century-old problem of the diffuse interstellar
bands (DIBs). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a very
closely related species. My PhD thesis was on molecular gas and dust
around evolved stars, and I am still involved in some projects that
study the surroundings of old stars.
My research includes observational studies with large ground-based telescopes (e.g. VLT, Gemini, Keck) as well as airborne (SOFIA) and spaceborne (ISO, Spitzer, HST, JWST) observatories, and it has theoretical and computational components as well. You can read more about these topics by following the links.
Graduate and Undergraduate Student Opportunities: I am always looking for motivated students to participate in my research program. Right now, there is an opening for a Ph.D position in Astrochemistry, co-supervised with Prof. Peeters and Prof. Staroverov (Chemistry). I am also looking for MSc, PhD and undergraduate students to support my research on Fullerenes and on the DIBs.
Detection of C60 and C70 in a Young Planetary Nebula: You can download our Science Express paper about the detection of fullerenes in space by visiting Scholarship@Western and clicking the "full text reprint" link about halfway down the page).