I have a strong background in stellar physics. I am interested in the evolution of single and binary stars, with a special focus on the progenitors of Supernovae and Gamma-Ray Bursts. For my research I use 1D numerical modeling of stellar evolution, analytical estimates and detailed multi dimensional MHD calculations of stellar interiors and calculations of stellar oscillations. I work in close connection to observations of stellar populations, stellar explosions and asteroseismology. The topics I have been investigating include the evolution of massive stars toward supernova and gamma-ray bursts, the physics of internal mixing and angular momentum transport, binary stars, turbulence at the stellar surface, compact objects, stellar magnetic fields, stellar convection and oscillations . My line of research is highly collaborative: in 2013 and 2014 I published theoretical papers with 28 different scholars.
I am a member of the MESA council. MESA (Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics) is a state-of- the-art, open source code for experiments in stellar astrophysics (Paxton et al. 2011, 2013), with a worldwide rapidly growing user base ( > 800). In the last three years I played an important role in the development and testing of the code, planning the distribution strategy as well as the organization and teaching of the yearly MESA summer school (2012, 2013 and 2014).
I am a PI of the SPIDER (Supernova Progenitors, Internal Dynamics and Evolution Research) Network. This is a collaboration network funded by NASA through a TCAN (Theoretical and Computational Astro- physics Networks) grant. The goal of the SPIDER network is “To get the progenitors right”. Thanks to this collaboration I am currently working in close contact with experts in computational astrophysics using a number of state-of-the-art 3D MHD codes.
I am also a member of the VLT-Flames Tarantula Survey consortium (Evans et al. 2011), a European Southern Observatory (ESO) Large Program which has obtained multi-epoch FLAMES spectroscopy of over 900 stars in the 30 Doradus region of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). 30 Dor is our closest view of a starburst-like region in the local universe, with many examples of the rare, short-lived evolutionary phases of the most massive stars.
The field in which I am working is currently going through a very exciting phase, transiting to what we can call the “era of high precision stellar physics”. This is due to an amazing wealth of data, coming from space asteroseismology (CoRoT, Kepler, K2) and soon from space astrometry (GAIA). Also the recent transient surveys have provided outstanding results concerning the final fate of stars. My work focuses on providing the theoretical background required to interpret the results coming from current (K2, ZTF, Pan-STARRS, LIGO) and future observational projects (GAIA, TESS, PLATO, TMT, LSST).