Research and publications

I am a fourth year Ph.D. candidate at Rutgers working with Andrew Baker. We use observations to study the interstellar medium and star formation in order to better understand galaxy evolution. A list of my refereed publications appears below:

  1. "Herschel and ALMA Observations of Massive SZE-selected Clusters,"
    Wu, J. F., Aguirre, P., Baker, A. J., Devlin, M. J., Hilton, M., Hughes, J. P., Infante, L., Lindner R. R., Sifón, C., 2017, ApJ, submitted
  2. "Galaxy Candidates at z ~ 10 in Archival Data from the Brightest of Reionizing Galaxies (BORG[z8]) Survey,"
    Bernard, S. R., Carrasco, D., Trenti, M., Oesch, P. A., Wu, J. F., Bradley, L. D., Schmidt, K. B., Bouwens, R. J., Calvi, V., Mason, C. A., Stiavelli, M., Treu, T., 2016, ApJ, 827, 76

An image of the massive mergiving cluster, El Gordo.

Galaxies in clusters

I investigate massive galaxy clusters detected via the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect by the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT). El Gordo, a massive cluster merger at z = 0.87, is depicted in Hubble Space Telescope imaging with overlaid mass density profiles in blue and X-ray emission in pink. We have been studying galaxies in El Gordo by using observations from Herschel and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in order to study their dust-obscured star formation properties.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, Jee et al.

A CO spectral line detected in a high-redshift cluster galaxy. Click to also see an ALMA dust continuum detection in the same galaxy.

Cold gas and dust

Clouds of dense, molecular gas fuel star formation within galaxies. Dust, which is also found in the interstellar medium, absorbs energy from starlight and re-radiates it at infrared wavelengths. We use the spectroscopic capabilities of ALMA to study carbon monoxide and neutral carbon spectral lines, which trace cold dense gas. ALMA continuum observations probe the Rayleigh-Jeans tail of the dust spectrum.

Image: The integrated flux map of a CO spectral line in a high-redshift cluster galaxy. This figure was shown in my 2016 AAS talk and will be presented in a (submitted) paper.

Blindly detecting emission-line galaxies

I have been using Fabry-Pérot observations taken by the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) to search for [O II] emitting galaxies in my sample of clusters. [O II] line emission, seen as a doublet in resolved spectroscopy, is characteristic of star-forming galaxies.

Image: SALT Fabry-Pérot detection of an emission line galaxy as the animation blinks through different wavelengths in the data cube's spectral dimension.

Life, et cetera.

During my first year, I started a coffee club for the graduate students. As a second year student, I served as vice president of the Physics and Astronomy Graduate Student Organization and coordinated the Student Seminars in Physics and Astronomy Research (SSPAR).

In my spare time, I enjoy playing sports, drinking coffee, and reading up on tech news. I also usually try to learn a new subject each year: in 2013, I was interested in design; in 2014, I studied quantum field theory; in 2015, I delved into machine learning. In 2016, I got married, which has (in my opinion) taught me more far life lessons than all the other subjects combined!

You can catches some glimpses into my life as a grad student below.

A picture of a MeerKAT antenna.

USAID RI Fellowship

In 2016, I worked with Sarah Blyth and Bradley Frank at the University of Cape Town on a USAID Research and Innovation Fellowship to improve the MeerKAT software pipeline. We are benchmarking source-finding algorithms in preparation for the LADUMA survey.

Learn more about the USAID RIF
Click to see some more plots!

Python data visualization

I mostly code in Python, which you can see in my side projects hosted on Github. Shown above is a visualization of the RESOLVE/ECO dataset using matplotlib and Seaborn.

My Github page
The picture is way too fancy for us. But we do have free pizza!


Student Seminars in Physics and Astronomy Research (SSPAR) is a lecture series given by students to other students. SSPAR provides a semi-professional setting for students to present their research and practice public speaking.

Learn more about SSPAR
A view from Castel Gandolfo.

Vatican Observatory Summer School

In 2014, I had the opportunity to work on astronomy research at the Vatican Observatory. This photograph was taken in Albano, Italy.

Rutgers press release