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Scientific Organizers

Andrew M. Burkhardt

Andrew is a Lecturer in Physics at Wellesley College and works on the synthesis of observational and theoretical astrochemistry. In particular, as the PI and Co-PI of the ARKHAM and GOTHAM GBT surveys, he studies the rich carbon chemistry in dark clouds, up to and including aromatic species. He is also interested in constraining the production of complex prebiotic molecules in interstellar ices through the observations of ice destruction in astrophysical shocks and comparisons to novel shock chemistry models.

Ilsa R. Cooke

Ilsa is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of British Columbia. She is interested in understanding the kinetics of molecular processes at the ultracold temperatures of interstellar space, both in ices and in the gas-phase. To do this, she uses a range of different laboratory techniques. Recently, she has been studying gas-phase reactions involving aromatic molecules. 

Sommer L. Johansen

Sommer is a Jill Hruby Postdoctoral Fellow at Sandia National Laboratory. She uses quantum chemistry and rotational spectroscopy to study nitrogen-containing radicals and low temperature, gas-phase reactions relevant to cold molecular clouds. Additionally, she is part of a collaborative effort to explore potential time-variability in the Diffuse Interstellar Bands.

Thanja Lamberts

Thanja is an Assistant Professor at the Leiden Institute of Chemistry, working in close collaboration with Leiden Observatory. She is a computational chemist with an experimental background, interested in understanding processes relevant to surface astrochemistry at the molecular level. Previously she has computed reaction rate constants and currently studies heat dissipation after reaction in interstellar ice analogs.

Nienke van der Marel

Nienke is an Assistant Professor at Leiden Observatory. She works on structures of gas and dust in protoplanetary disks, in particular CO isotopologues, using a combination of ALMA observations and physical-chemical modeling, in collaboration with experts on hydrodynamical and dust evolution simulations.

Brett A. McGuire

Brett is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  His focus is on laboratory and observational  rotational spectroscopy of complex interstellar molecules.  He's particularly interested in pre-biotic and aromatic chemistry.

Giulia Perotti

Giulia is a PSF Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. She is an observational astrochemist, with a background in quantum chemical modelling. Her focus is on the interplay between solid- and gas-phase molecules in star-forming regions. To study this, she combines infrared and millimetric observations. She is also particularly interested in the connection between astrochemistry and meteorite chemistry.  

Yao-Lun Yang

Yao-Lun is a VICO-Chalmers Origins Fellow at University of Virginia.  His research focuses on the embedded phase of star formation, especially on the kinematics and chemical signatures.  Recently, he has been working on surveys of complex organic molecules in protostars as well as synthetic observations of massive protostars.