Partner 1: University of Leeds

Dr. Stuart Lumsden

Project Coordinator

Stuart Lumsden is an associate professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Leeds.   He specialises in the observational study of how massive stars form, at wavelengths from the near infrared, to submillimetre and radio.  He co-led the Red MSX Source Survey ( along with his colleagues Melvin Hoare and Rene Oudmaijer.  Deep in his background, he also worked on statistics of clustering in astronomy amongst many other things.


Prof. Rene Oudmaijer

Senior Researcher

Rene Oudmaijer is a professor of Observational Astronomy in Leeds and his research interests concern the formation of stars, their circumstellar disks and stellar evolution in general. He studies these using complementary observational approaches. On the one hand he studies larger samples of object which allows us to draw statistical conclusions on their global properties. These investigations are underpinned and informed by in-depth studies of smaller numbers of stars, often using the most modern techniques to probe circumstellar material at ever smaller scales. He is particularly keen in using GAIA to study the role of clusters in the formation of massive stars.


Dr. Anne Bucker

Researcher (Postdoc)

Anne Buckner is a researcher at the School of Physics & Astronomy of the University of Leeds. She is part of the team working on the SFM project and specifically the statistical analysis of young massive star clusters. Prior to SFM, Anne completed her PhD at the University of Kent on the properties of star clusters, for which she developed novel statistical methods to derive cluster distances, extinctions and scale heights from photometry alone, and established the scale height evolution of Galactic open clusters. She is passionate about outreach, such that when not researching Anne can be found giving public talks and writing a blog series here on the SFM Website.


Patricia Grant

Project Manager

Patricia Grant is a Project Manager at the School of Physics & Astronomy of the University of Leeds.  Over the past six years Patricia has project managed multiple EU funded projects, thus gaining extensive experience and knowledge of international collaborative research projects. It is Patricia’s responsibility to support the Project Coordinator, Stuart Lumsden, act as a single point of contact between the EU and SFM, ensure administrative systems are in place to support the management aspects of the project.


Partner 2: Cardiff University

Dr. Paul Clark

Project Lead

Dr. Paul Clark is a Reader in Astrophysics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University. He is a numerical modeller, and an active developer of the new “Arepo” astrophysical fluid code. His expertise lies in the chemical and thermodynamical modelling of the interstellar medium, with an emphasis on making synthetic observations from the simulation data. He has also worked on cluster formation, the origin of the initial mass function and the formation of binaries.


Dr. Zeinab Khorrami

Researcher (Postdoc)
Supervisor: Dr. Paul Clark

Zeinab Khorrami is a research associate at the School of Physics and Astronomy of Cardiff University. She is part of the team working on SFM project. She is working on the formation and evolution of the young massive star clusters, using high angular resolution observational data. Using Nbody6, she tracks the dynamical evolution of star clusters in different initial conditions. She got her PhD at the Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur with the title of “Sharpened close-up of R136 and NGC3603: unshrouding the nature of their stellar population”. In her thesis she focused on two very massive clusters, R136 and NGC3603, to investigate the mass-segregation, comparing HST and VLT/SPHERE data on the compact core of these clusters. She got her MSc degree at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences (IASBS), with the title of “Investigating the stellar system’s life-time and the evolution of their mass function using N-body simulation”.  She studied Physics at Tehran University during her BSc.


Partner 3:  Quasar Resources S.L.

Dr. Ignacio de la Calle

Project Lead

Dr. Ignacio de la Calle is a Scientist with more than 15 years of experience. He has a doctorate in High Energy Astrophysics and experience gained working in several international research projects, including HEGRA, Whipple, VERITAS and CTA. Currently he works as a support astronomer for ESA´s X-ray mission XMM-Newton. His expertise include, study of emission mechanisms in active galactic nuclei (AGN); gamma-ray astronomy with ground-based instruments; X-ray astronomy with space-based observatories; calibration of CCD-based instruments; analysis and statistical interpretation of gamma-ray and X-ray data; Monte Carlo simulations of Extensive Air Showers and Cherenkov Telescopes. He has also experience in developing and running analysis pipelines running under GRID/Cloud infrastructures.


Dr. Jose Manuel Blanco

Senior Analyst

Jose Manuel Blanco is a senior analyst currently working as operations engineer for the ESA SMOS satellite mission and as associate professor –part time– at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. He has a PhD in Theoretical Physics and a solid scientific background. In the last years he has specialised in Satellite Technology (M.Sc. in Satellite Communications by Universidad Politécnica de Madrid; Diploma in Space Systems Engineering by the SouthHamptom University).  He is an expert in IT technologies, specialized in deployment and configuration of Virtual Infrastructure, configuration and maintenance of large storage infrastructure, network infrastructure, web servers, databases, monitoring tools, load Balancers, security and backup solutions. He is also certified in VMWare, RedHat, Zabbix and F5. His experience includes 10 years as Computer System Engineer providing support to the ESA astrophysics and planetary missions located at ESAC.


Jesus Juan Salgado

Archive Software Engineer

Jesus Salgado is an Archive Software Engineer with more that 13 years of experience in Data Management and Archiving in ESA projects. He is responsible for the design and implementation of ESA´s spectral visualizer VOSpec. He is highly involved in the VO community, and has been the IVOA Data Access Layer Group vice-chair (2009-2011) and currently the Data Model Working Group chair (2011-present). He is an expert on IVOA protocols implementation and is the lead of the Gaia Data archive hosted at ESAC.


Aitor Ibarra

Software Engineer

Aitor Ibarra is a Software Engineer with more than 15 years of experience in software development for scientific experiments. He has been involved in scientific astronomical projects with European universities and research organizations. He has developed data processing software and monte-carlo simulations for the high-energy ground-based telescopes HEGRA. Currently he is in charge of the developed of the analysis software for ESA´s astronomical X-ray mission XMM-Newton. He is also experienced in web application development oriented for data processing in Grid environments.


José María Herrera Fernandez

Senior Software Developer Engineering
Supervisor: Dr. Ignacio de la Calle

José M. Herrera-Fernandez was born in Madrid (Spain) where he has been living since then, in a small town in the mountains to the west of Madrid called Becerril de la Sierra. He received his MSc degree from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) Madrid, Spain, in 2008. Afterwards, he received his diploma in Applied Physics from the UCM in 2010. In 2009, he became a research fellow in the Applied Optics Complutense Group (AOCG), at UCM. During that period he worked in the design and analysis of Diffractive Optical Elements (DOEs) for beam shaping and beam collimation testing. The results of his work were collected in the PhD thesis entitled “Synthesis Techniques and Applications of Diffractive Optical Elements” (UCM, December 2015). Later, he started a new career in the company Optiva Media where he was responsible for the Research and Development department. Currently, he is working as a software engineer for the Spanish company Quasar Science Resources (Las Rozas de Madrid, Madrid, Spain) where he is part of the team working on the SFM project.


Luis Valero Martín

Junior Software Developer Engineer
Supervisor: Dr. Ignacio de la Calle

Luis Valero Martín was born in Madrid, Spain, where he lives at present. He started his studies in Computer Science at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) in 2008 and finished in 2013. While he was studying, in 2011, he did an internship for the company TCP Sistemas e Ingeniería as a C++ developer in the outsourcing department. In January 2014 he started working as a C++ Junior developer in the engineer department of Informática ECI, S.A. (IECISA). During that period he worked in several projects, where it is noteworthy to mention the Madrid’s Parking meter project, in which he was one of the main developers up until the release date. After that, in September of 2014, he did a one year Masters in Computer Games Development at UCM. Meanwhile he worked as a C++ teacher in the academy Maths Informática. In January of 2015 he co-founded a game development studio, Garlic Games, with some friends. In 2016 he worked as a C++ developer in Invoin Consulting as member of the SICE’s project. Currently, he is working as a software engineer in Quasar Science Resources where he is part of the team working on the SFM project.


Partner 4: University Grenoble Alpes

Dr. Estelle Moraux

Project Lead

Estelle Moraux is an associate professor at the Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG) of the University Grenoble Alpes (UGA). Her research work aims at constraining the formation of stellar clusters by combining observational studies of their stellar population and numerical simulations of their early dynamical evolution. She has in praticular a strong expertise on the determination of the low-mass stellar IMF in clusters and she was the PI of the young researcher ANR project “DESC” (Dynamical Evolution of young Stellar Clusters). She is involved in large observational surveys to measure proper motions
(DANCe) and radial velocities (Gaia-ESO-Survey, WEAVE) from the ground in order to complement Gaia.


Dr. Isabelle Joncour

Senior Researcher

Isabelle Joncour is an associate professor at the Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG) of the UGA University. She is currently associate professor visitor in the department of astronomy of the University of Maryland and develops her SFM research project in collaboration with the other members of the SFM group within the Laboratory of Millimeter Astronomy (LMA) team lead by Pr Lee Mundy. She gained expertise in graph theory and complex networks, clustering analysis, astrostatistics and inverse problems as well and applied these tools to contribute to the understanding of the formation and evolution of young stars.


Dr. Frédérique Motte

Senior Researcher

Frédérique Motte is a researcher at the Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG) of the UGA University. She is part of the team working on SFM project and especially on the formation of the young massive star clusters. Using far-infrared to submillimeter images obtained with for instance the Herschel space observatory, the IRAM 30m antenna, and the NOEMA and ALMA millimeter interferometers, she constrains the initial conditions of (massive) stellar clusters. She is the PI of the Herschel/HOBYS (the Herschel imaging survey of OB Young Stellar objects) and IRAM/W43-HERO (Origins of molecular clouds and star formation in W43) large programs.


Dr. Pouria Khalaj

Researcher (Postdoc)
Supervisor: Dr. Estelle Moraux

Pouria Khalaj is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Planetology and Astrophysics of Grenoble (IPAG), in the University Grenoble Alpes. He got his PhD at the University of Queensland, working on the mystery of multiple stellar populations (MSPs) in globular clusters. In particular, his focus was to constrain the scenarios which have been proposed to explain the origin of MSPs and derive the initial conditions of globular clusters with MSPs according to different scenarios using N-body and Monte Carlo simulations. Pouria’s research expertise lies mainly in the interface between computer simulations of star clusters and the analysis of their observational data. As a part of the SFM team, he is now working on testing and development of statistical methods to look for clustering in 6-dimensional phase space at various scales in a combined sample of stars and gas.