I'm a physics PhD student working at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany.

As a fellow of the 16th IMPRS-HD generation, I have started my PhD in October 2020 under the supervision of Bernd Husemann. I am interested in the growth of supermassive black holes and the interplay with their host galaxy. Outside of academia I love to discover nature, especially on my bicycle. Also, I am very passionate about music both experiencing and creating.

Further down on this page, you'll find more about my scientific and personal interests.
Feel free to contact me if anything catches your attention.


Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) represent the most luminous objects in the universe. They are powered by the accretion of matter by a supermassive black hole at the center of its host galaxy. Recent discoveries of luminous high redshift quasars at z > 7 however challenge our understanding of black hole growth. The black hole masses required to explain these luminosities cannot be formed via Eddington-limited accretion in the time since the big bang.

A convenient solution to close this gap would be to allow for super-Eddington accretion at early cosmic times. However, the host galaxy conditions under which super-Eddington accretion occurs are not understood to this date. To find out about the mechanisms fuelling the central black hole, I study the rare super-Eddington AGN in the nearby Universe.

What host galaxy properties promote the enhanced the accretion rates?
How do the stellar and gas kinematics of the host galaxy affect AGN activity and vice versa?
What role does the star formation play on different scales?

To answer these questions I analyse integral field spectroscopic observations of unobscured AGN host galaxies. In the golden era of advanaced instruments like VLT MUSE we can resolve the ongoing processes down to sub-kpc scales. As a member of the Close AGN Reference Survey collaboration (CARS) I am helping to provide the most detailed view on a sample of 40 nearby unobscured AGN.


You can find the papers to which I contributed on ADS.

First Author Publications

Co-Author Publications

... coming soon ...


I'm quite competetive. Cycling races combine both the beauty and tragedy of team tactics with the individual effort. Throughout the season I compete at several races for my home club RV Schwalbe Trier.

At the same time I like the completely different challenge of Gran Fondo races. In 2020 I have completed an Everesting and I will race the Tour des Stations in 2021.

Occasionally, you'll also find me running or swimming. I am always curious to try out a new sport and probably I am just planning the next thing to challenge myself.

© Ludwig Christ

Get In Touch

  Nico Winkel
        PhD Student
        +49 6221 528-489

  Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
        Königstuhl 17
        Office 323
        69117 Heidelberg


Nico Winkel