PhD Alumni

(Image: The South Pole Telescope during the Austral winter)

Past students of the Astrophysics group and their stellar careers.

We’ve complied a list of all past postgraduate students of the Astrophysics Group including a brief career history and their research interests and/or professional activities. If you would like to submit an update or have a question please email:

Information is current to July 2014.

PhDs (since 1997)


Frank Masci
Staff Scientist, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, Caltech, USA
Frank’s research interests are in image processing and reconstruction, methodologies for detecting variables and transients, machine learning, data mining, and statistical inference in general.


David Barnes
Platform Manager; Senior Research Fellow, Monash Immersive Visualiastion Platform (CAVE2), Monash University
David has published in the fields of radio astronomy, signal processing, scientific visualisation, visualisation for communication, education and outreach, and biomedical image management, analysis and visualisation. He has particular expertise in parallel supercomputing using graphical processing units for image computation and visualisation, and has significant experience as a project scientist in major e-research projects.


Maurizio Toscano
Lecturer in Science Education, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne
Maurizio has a strong interest in interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and communicating climate change. Maurizio’s approach to climate change is informed by the breadth of his academic experiences: his doctoral training was in astrophysics; he has undertaken and supervised research into the role of aesthetics and the scientific imagination in science education; he has explored the relationship between art and science through collaborations with artists (eg. Syzygy project) and more recently has been examining perspectives on environmental and science education that draw upon the works of philosophers such as Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Cavell.

Christopher Fluke
Associate Professor, Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology
Chris’ main research interests are in 3D astronomy visualization, computational techniques for gravitational lensing, and the use of graphics processing units (GPUs) to accelerate the rate of astronomical discovery.


Michael Brown
Senior Lecturer and ARC Future Fellow, Monash University
Michael is an observational astronomer whose research interests include the evolution of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) and the growth of galaxies over cosmic time. He undertakes this research, in collaboration with many others, using large surveys of the Universe including Galaxy & Mass Assembly survey (GAMA), the NOAO Deep Wide-field Survey (NDWFS), the Spitzer Deep Wide-Field Survey (SDWFS), the AGN & Galaxy Evolution Survey (AGES) and planned surveys with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder and TAIPAN.

Daniel Mortlock
Lecturer in Astrostatistics, Imperial College London
Daniel’s research mainly involves the application of statistical ideas – particularly Bayesian inference – to problems in astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology.


Virginia Kilborn
Deputy Director, Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology
Virginia’s main research interest is in surveying the Universe for Neutral Hydrogen (HI). I have worked on the HIPASS and HIJASS surveys in the past, and am now working towards the next generation radio surveys such as ASKAP, Apertif, and the SKA.

Matthew Whiting
Develops science analysis software for the ASKAP processing pipeline, Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO
Matthew’s background is in the optical and infrared part of the spectrum, but he’s also getting some radio experience at ATNF. Topics of interest include: Optical & infrared emission processes of quasars and active galaxies; the relationship between optical and radio emission in quasars; absorption lines seen in quasar and radio galaxy spectra, particularly at radio wavelengths, and variable and transient objects, particularly in the radio.


Stuart Wyithe
ARC Australian Laureate Fellow, Astrophysics Group, University of Melbourne
Stuart’s primary research interests lie in the field of quasar formation and reionisation in the early universe. In particular, the evolution of the earliest galaxies and how this evolution may be studied with the next generation of radio telescopes. He also works in the field of gravitational lensing where he studies problems in quasar microlensing, and the statistical properties of gravitational lensing by galaxies.


Alicia Oshlack
Head, Bioinformatics Research Group, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
The bioinformatics research group analyses data from high-throughput genetic technologies in collaboration with a diverse range of medical research groups. This includes: 1. Analysis of RNA-seq and ChIP-seq and understanding the regulation of gene expression in disease; 2. Epigenetic regulation including DNA methylation microarrays; and 3. Detecting disease causing variants in the human genome using high-throughput sequencing technologies.
Read Alicia Oshlack’s article “A 10-step guide to party conversation for bioinformaticians


Martin Meyer
Research Associate Professor, International Centre for Radio Astronomy, University of Western Australia
Specialisation: HI Surveys, Galaxy Formation and Evolution

Matthew O’Dowd
Faculty Lecturer and Course Coordinator, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Lehman College, City University of New York
Academic Interests: Observational and theoretical astrophysics; multi-disciplinary science education. Research: Active galactic nuclei (AGNs); studies of AGN central engines with gravitational microlensing and reverberation mapping; models of AGN broad emission line regions; AGN variability studies; epoch of reionization measurements using improved Lyman-alpha line templates; multiwavelength studies of galaxy evolution; mid-to-far infrared diagnostics of galaxies; dust and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in galaxies.
Listen to an audio interview with Matt O’Dowd about his career choice:

Emma Ryan-Weber
ARC QEII Fellow/Senior Lecturer, Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology
Emma leads the intergalactic medium research group at Swinburne whose science focuses on detecting metals in absorption at very high redshifts. To achieve this they use near-infrared spectroscopy towards high redshift quasars on the world’s largest telescopes including Keck and the VLT. The group also works on high redshift galaxies and their influence on reionization, including their escaping fraction of ionizing radiation. My Emma’s PhD was on HI in the local Universe, and she still has an active interest in this field.


Arna Karick
eResearch Consultant, Research Information Services, Swinburne University of Technology
eResearch; data management facilities, policies and guidelines.

Jamie Stevens
Senior Systems Scientist, Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), CSIRO

Cathryn Trott
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Slow Transient Algorithms (CAASTRO), International Centre for Radio Astronomy, Curtin University
Signal processing theory; signal estimation and detection; calibration of radio interferometers; Epoch of Reionisation estimation; radio astronomy algorithms.

Randall Wayth
Senior Research Fellow, International Centre for Radio Astronomy, Curtin University
Specialisation: Technical astronomy.

Donald Payne
Scientific and Policy Director, Direct Energy (geothermal commercial start-up company)
Geothermal Heat Pump Industry: “Direct Energy has a strong reputation for safe and reliable delivery of direct geothermal energy solutions to the commercial industry with one of our technical specialists, Dr Donald Payne, considered one of the most experienced and respected proponents of Australian Direct Use Geothermal Systems. See”


Meryl Waugh
Artist, scientist and teacher, Various
University of Melbourne PhD thesis on “Neutral hydrogen in Fornax and Eridanus – blind basketweaving for beginners”.


Carlos Peralta
Research and Development, Deutscher Wetterdienst, Offenbach, Germany
Also: Aerodynamics and CFD, Fraunhofer IWES, Oldenburg, Germany.


Swati Filippova (nee Singh)
2014 – Secondary School Teacher Physics/Science, Melbourne Grammar School
She also teaches an elective subject: ‘Astrophysics-Robotics and Rockets ’.

Jhan Srbinovsky
Researcher – Earth System Modelling Team, The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (CSIRO/Bureau of Meteorology partnership)
Modelling Human-Climate Interactions, Land Surface Modelling.

Matthias Vigelius
Research Fellow, Centre for Computational Science, Monash University
(Declined a postdoctoral fellowship in theoretical astrophysics and numerical relativity at Cornell University, USA). Postdoctoral fellowship in computational biology (Self-organized Collective Decision Making in Dynamic Environments).

Oiwei (Ivy) Wong
ARC Super Science Fellow, International Centre for Radio Astronomy, University of Western Australia
Ivy was a postdoctoral associate in the Astronomy Department of Yale University, USA. Ivy is currently an observational astronomer who studies how galaxies start and stop forming stars. She specialises in multiwavelength observations of nearby galaxies and extragalactic surveys of neutral Hydrogen (HI) with the aim of studying the detailed processes of star formation and evolution of nearby galaxies.


Sally Langford
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Climate Processes Research Group, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), The University of Colorado, Boulder, USA
After a stint at The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (joint CSIRO/Bureau of Meteorology group), Sally currently researches multi-decadal droughts in western North America using global climate models, as part of the NSF project: Investigation of Decadal Climate Predictability and Hydroclimate Impacts (IDCPI) on the Western US.

Nicholas Bate
Postdoctoral Fellow and “Galactic Archaeologist”, The Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIfA), University of Sydney
Nick is part of a group that conducts research in many exciting frontline areas including stellar astrophysics, plasma astrophysics, cataclysmic variables, black-hole binaries, masers, pulsars, supernovae and their remnants, the interstellar medium and the Galactic Centre. Beyond our Galaxy, they study normal galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds, clusters of galaxies, active galaxies & quasars, gravitational lensing and cosmology.

Adrian Melchiori
Commercial Research, OMC International
OMC International provides under keel clearance advice to 19+ ports around the world (from Iron ore ports like Hedland and Dampier in WA, to the Port of Melbourne, to the Columbia River in Portland), ensuring that large vessels don’t ground while trying to sail into and out of a port.

Christine Chung
Researcher – Climate Processes and Impacts Team, The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (CSIRO/Bureau of Meteorology partnership)
Climate change science; data visualisation.

Alpha Mastrano
Research Fellow (Casual), Astrophysics Group, University of Melbourne
MSc on superfluid dynamics (U. Melb, 2006); PhD on the origin of magnetic fields in relativistic stars.


Paul Geil
Research Fellow, Astrophysics Group, University of Melbourne
Galaxy formation and evolution. Cosmic reionisation. Low-frequency radio interferometry.

Lila Warszawski
Postdoctoral Fellow, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany
Since October 2011 Lila has been a post-doctoral researcher in Research Domain II Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities at PIK. She is also a member of the co-ordination team of the ISI-MIP project (, focussing on the global vegetation models.

Cornelis (Anthony) van Eysden
Nordita Fellow (Postdoctoral prize fellowship), Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics (NORDITA), Stockholm, Sweden
Anthony’s primary research interest is bulk nuclear matter in neutron stars. His 2012 doctoral thesis showed how the transport coefficients arising from strong interactions can be inferred from radio timing and gravitational wave observations of pulsars. The work has also been successfully applied to explain terrestrial liquid helium experiments.


Andrea Ruff
Project Manager, Product Operations, trivago (internet travel company), Germany
Andrea’s 2012 thesis was titled: ‘The broad emission line region of quasars and gravitational lensing by early-type galaxies’, a study into the behaviour of gas around super-massive black holes.

Christina Magoulas
SARChI Postdoctoral Fellow in Extragalactic Astronomy, University of Capetown, South Africa
WISE; Large-scale structure and cosmic flows; 6dF Galaxy Survey.


Bradley Greig
Postdoctoral Fellow, Scuola Normale Superiore, University of Pisa, Italy

  • Large-structure formation/simulations (semi analytic and numerical)
  • Perturbation theory prescriptions for structure formation
  • Lyα forest and LAE galaxies as cosmological probes
  • GPU based simulations and computing
  • Large-structure formation/simulations (semi analytic and numerical)
  • Perturbation theory prescriptions for structure formation
  • Lyα forest and LAE galaxies as cosmological probes
  • GPU based simulations and computing