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Research Team

Research team

My research team consists of close collaborators at Lund Observatory as well as colleagues in Europe, the US and Australia. In Lund I work closely with Thomas Bensby (expert in high-resolution spectroscopy and PI for one of the 4MOST surveys) and Diane Feuillet (postdoc, expert in stellar abundance analysis and large scale surveys, she also works in 4MOST and WEAVE).

Nationally we collaborate with in Uppsala: Paul Barklem, Bengt Edvardsson, Bengt Gustafsson, Andreas Korn, Ulrike Heiter, and Nik Piskunov. And in Stockholm: Göran Östlin.

Internationally we are members of several large collaborations including 4MOST, WEAVE and the Gaia-ESO survey. We are also members of the Swedish SELTIC consortium that aims to provide Swedish contributions to the two second generation instruments for ESOs ELT, ANDES and MOSAIC.

Former team members

Christian Sahlholdt, PhD student (2017 - 2021)

Thesis: Stellar Ages for Galactic Archaeology : methods and applications. The thesis is available here. You find all his research articles in ADS here.

Gregor Traven, postdoc (2018 - 2021)

Gregor holds a PhD from University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Whilst in Lund Gregor Traven worked on studies of the binary populations in the Milky Way. He also made important contributions to the stellar analysis pipeline for 4MOST. We continue to collaborate on science and in 4MOST, of which Gregor is a member in his own right now that he has moved back to University of Ljubljana where he works with teaching and research.

Dominic Ford, postdoc (2017 - 2019)

Whilst in Lund Dominic worked exclusively on the development of the stellar spectral abundance analysis pipeline for 4MOST. In 2019 he moved to take up a position at CASU in Cambridge, UK, where he focuses on pipeline work for PLATO. He continues to contribute his expertise to the development of the 4MOST pipeline. Dominic has created a valuable source for guides to the night sky:

Fan Liu, postdoc (2017 - 2019)

Fan holds a PhD from the Australian National University. His early work focused on developing methods for highly differential elemental abundance analysis of solar like stars. Whilst in Lund Fan continued to devlop this technique and apply it to a range of problems including the chemical homogeniety of open clusters and planet formation. He developed new lines of research in collaboration with researchers interested in planet formation. Fan also joined our work in PLATO for a while. 

Louise Howes, postdoc (2015 - 2018)

Louise holds a PhD from the Australian National University. Her PhD focused on finding the first stars in the Galactic Bulge using SkyMapper data and follow-up studies with high-resolution spectroscopy. Whilst in Lund Louise worked on stellar population studies as well as on methods of determining ages from photometry combined with Gaia parallaxes. She was also heavily involved in development work for the Galactic surveys with 4MOST as well as infrastructure work for the project, especially the helpdesk definition and initiation.

Pieter Gruyters, postdoc (2015 - 2017)

Pieter holds a PhD from Uppsala University. Whilst in Lund he worked in the SAGA project with myself and Luca Casagrande, who is the PI of SAGA.

Ingemar Lundström

Ingemar Lundström, lecturer, was for many years a close collaborator. His deep expertise in Strömgren photometry was essential to the revival of this photometric system that started with our work on several dwarf spheroidal galaxies and have now resulted in the SAGA project (, led by Luca Casagrande.

Edita Stonkute, postdoc (2014 - 2016)

Edita holds a PhD from University of Vilnius. In her thesis she determined the elemental abundance profile of several moving groups. Such data is useful in order to understand how likely it is that a group is the result of dissolved cluster or the result of dynamical processes in the Milky Way disk. Whilst in Lund Edita became heavily involved in determineing the selection function for the Gaia-ESO Survey and together with Ross Church we began a project on modelling the binary stellar populations in the Milky Way, with a first application to data from the APOGEE survey which has excellent temporal coverage. 

Gregory Ruchti, postdoc (2012 - 2016)

Greg holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins University, US, where he was supervised by Rosie Wyse. His PhD dealt with studies of the thick disk based. He came to Lund from MPA in Garching where he worked in Martin Asplund’s group. During his years at MPA he work closely with Maria Bergemann and Karin Lind on projects related to NLTE analysis of stellar spectra. These collabortions continued whilst in Lund, not the least inside the Gaia-ESO Survey where Greg, Maria and Karin lead much of the Lumba effort of the spectral analsysis. In a work led by Greg we developed the SWOC tool to better understand the impact of choices to made on wavelength ranges for stellar spectrographs. This tool was employed in the optimization of the 4MOST wavelength coverage. Greg left us to work at Veracity. Here is a link to an article by Greg about leaving the ivory tower. Greg passed away in 2019.

Cheng Liu, PhD student (2012 - 2016)

Thesis: The nature of stars with a common origin: clues from metallicity, elemental abundances, and kinematics. After his PhD Cheng moved to a fellowship at LAMOST.

Daniel Adén, PhD student (2007 - 2011), postdoc (2011 - 2012)

Thesis: A study of the Hercules dwarf spheroidal galaxy. After a year as a postdoc with us working on tests for the Gaia-ESO Survey Daniel decided to look for a job in industry, where he has a prosperous career.

Chiara Battistini, PhD student (2010 - 2015)

Thesis: The origin and chemical evolution of iron-peak and neutron-capture elements in the Milky Way. Chiara was jointly supervised by Thomas Bensby and myself. She is now a postdoc in Norbert Christlieb's group at Universität Heidelberg where she also participates in the work in 4MOST.

Anna Arnadottir, PhD student (2004 - 2009)

Thesis: A photometric study of the Galactic disks based on Strömgren photometry. Today Anna heads the Lund Observatory Planetarium at the Vattenhallen Science Centre. You find her webpage here .

Daniel Faria, PhD student (2001 - 2006)

Thesis: Photometry of resolved stellar populations in local group galaxies. Today Daniel works for the Swedish Defence research (FOI).

Jennifer Simmerer, Postdoc (2007 - 2009)

Jennifer was an Incoming International Marie Curie Fellow. Together we worked on studies of the mildly metal-rich globular cluster NGC 5927. After her time in Lund she worked as a postdoc in Utah and later in scientific publishing in New York.

Thomas Bensby, PhD student (2000 - 2004)

Thesis: Observational studies of the chemical evolution in the Galactic thin and thick disks. You find the thesis here. Thomas was first a postdoc with Sally Oey at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and then an ESO fellow in Chile. After that he rejoined Lund Observatory as "forskarassistent" with funding from the Swedish Research council. Thomas is now a lecturer at Lund Observatory. We enjoy a longstanding and fruitful collaboration.