In addition to my programmatic work within the Kepler mission, I also run several highly successful and varied research programs. This research takes three interweaving strands: analysis of data from the Kepler and K2 missions, statistical methods in astronomy, and simulating the giant impact phase of terrestrial planet formation.
I work for the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute. I am the Principal Investigator of a NASA co-operative agreement that provides funding to run the Kepler/K2 Guest Observer Office where I serve as Director.
My primary scientific interests lie in the analysis of data from space and ground-based telescopes to infer properties of exoplanets and their host stars. This has led to a number of major discoveries including the detection of the smallest known planet, the detection of the first super-Earth-sized planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star, and the detection of the first Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of another star. I am also a keen enabler of science exemplified by my leadership position in the Kepler science community.
I grew up in the city of Sheffield in Northern England, UK. My undergraduate studies were performed at the University of Leeds, UK where I obtained a Bachelors degree in Physics with Astrophysics in 2006. My Masters thesis work was performed at the Jodrell Bank Observatory, part of the University of Manchester. I obtained a Master of Science degree in 2007 for work to understand Galactic dust emission. I then moved to Northern Ireland for my doctoral studies where I worked at the Armagh Observatory. I was co-supervised, and was awarded my Ph.D. by, University College London in 2011. I worked on understanding the population of ultra-compact white dwarf binaries.
After my postgraduate studies, I was appointed to the Kepler Guest Observer Office at NASA Ames Research Center, California as a research scientist.
In 2014 I was promoted to Director of the Kepler/K2 Guest Observer Office. My team develops proposal calls, organizing proposal reviews, provide critical support to the scientific community and develops software to enhance output from Kepler and K2 data sets.
I live in the Mountain View, California.
Here is a sample of videos of me presenting my scientific work to the general public. There include TV interviews, NASA press events, and scientific seminars.