Paola Pinilla, Group Leader

I am from Colombia where I did my bachelor and masters studies in Physics at Universidad de los Andes. I did my PhD at ITA in the University of Heidelberg. Afterwards, I was a postdoc at Leiden Observatory and then a Hubble Fellow at Steward Observatory in Tucson/Arizona.

By living in these four countries, I have learnt that diversity is the key to increase creativity and collaborations, both of them being crucial for my scientific career. I love spending my free time with my family and friends, in particular around nature: hiking, biking, etc.

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Matías Gárate, Post-doc

I am from Chile. I did my bachelor and master in Astronomy at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile with Jorge Cuadra, and my PhD at the Ludwig-Maximiliams-Universität with Til Birnstiel as my supervisor.

For my research I study the coupled evolution of gas and dust using numerical simulations. I focus on modeling high dust-to-gas ratio environments such as dead zones, icelines, and photo-evaporative disks.

In my free time I like to read fiction, play videogames, and make digital 3D art.

Timmy Delage, PhD student

Hello everyone!  

I am from France where I did my Diplôme d'Ingénieur. I then went to the UK at Imperial College London where I did my MSc in Physics. I am now a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg.

My PhD project aims to investigate the diverse origins of the sub-structures observed in protoplanetary disks. To address this topic, I am building hydrodynamic and (ideal/non-ideal) magneto-hydrodynamic models coupled with gas and dust evolution. From those models, I am generating synthetic observations that I am comparing to current multi-wavelength (from optical to millimetre) observations from e.g. ALMA or VLT/SPHERE. Doing this comparison is key in refining the current interpretation of observations and understanding the first steps of planet formation.

In my free time, you will find me either bouldering or playing basketball.

Nicolás T. Kurtovic, PhD student

Hola :) 

Since I was a child I have wondered about our universe and our origins. My researching experience has been mainly in exoplanets and protoplanetary disks, and I hope I can contribute to better understand where everything surrounding us came from.

I also love cats.

Max Ackerman, BSc Student

I am studying Physics at the University of Heidelberg, with focus on astronomy. My thesis project is to simulate the impact of protoplanets on a circumstellar disk and compare them to observations.

For leisure I like drawing, painting and sculpting. Living on the countryside, I find my sportif compensation in running.

Publications and Presentations

Recent papers
- Sicilia-Aguilar, A., et al. (incl Pinilla), Time-resolved photometry of the young dipper RX J1604.3-2130A: Unveiling the structure and mass transport through the innermost disk, A&A 633, A37 (2020)
- Hendler, N, et al. (incl Pinilla), The evolution of dust-disk sizes from a homogeneous analysis of 1-10 Myr-old stars, Accepted to ApJ
- Pinilla, P, et al., Hints on the origins of particle traps in protoplanetary disks given by the Mdust-Mstar relation, A&A 635, A105 (2020)
- Muro-Arena, G. A., et al. (incl Pinilla), Spirals inside the millimeter cavity of transition disk SR 21, A&A 636, L4 (2020)
- Facchini, S., et al. (incl Pinilla), Annular substructures in the transition disks around LkCa 15 and J1610, accepted to A&A


Some recent scientific presentations
Discs to Planets, Ringberg meeting, Sep 2019
AG 2019, Sep 2019
Königstuhl Colloquium, Sep 2019
Heidelberg Joint Astronomical Colloquium, Nov 2019
Building blocks of Planets, April 2020
DIAS Star Formation Seminar, May 2020

Other presentations
Ethics in Astrophysics, Oct 2019
Imposter Syndrome Workshop, Feb 2020

Our Funding

Currently, the main funding of our group is provided by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in the framework of the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award endowed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.