Out in mid-sea, by guidance of the stars.
--- George Eliot, Middlemarch (1871)
I am a stellar astrophysicist. As in the poem by George Eliot, stars are the beacons that guide my scientific endeavors into the vast expanse of the cosmos. I use stars to map the geometry of the universe, and to shed light on the processes shaping other planetary systems like our own.
My research focus has three main directions: the determination of precise distances in the local and far universe using variable stars; the study of stellar populations and stellar properties; and the analysis of extrasolar planetary systems and their asteroid belts. As an observational astronomer, my work is based on data I collect from large space and ground telescopes, including facilities managed by NASA, NOAO, NRAO and ESO, and supported by NASA and the National Science Foundation.