B.S. Case Western Reserve University (2002)
Ph.D. University of Washington (2010)
My research focuses on the formation and evolution of planetary systems, those of both our Sun and other stars. In particular, I have been studying how the giant planets orbits have evolved over the history of the solar system and how this has affected the long-term stability of the inner terrestrial planets and the architecture of the Kuiper belt. In addition, I have been simulating the injection of long-period comets from the Oort cloud into the Sun's planetary region to understand the timescales over which comets 'fade', or lose their activity.
As far as exoplanetary systems are concerned, I have a strong interest in how the presence of a binary stellar companion can affect the formation and evolution of planets. Counterintuitively, I have shown that the most distantly orbiting stellar companions can have dramatic effects on planetary systems, causing violent instabilities billions of years after the planetary systems have formed. In addition, these same violent instabilities may occur within tighter binaries while they still reside within their stellar birth cluster, and I am actively investigating this process.