The CDL at UMass

It's in the nature of the CDL at UMass to change identities from time to time, and as of late summer in 2021 we're doing exactly that. We've just finished being the lead institution in building and testing the TolTEC camera and now we're transitioning into a more science-oriented group as we prepare to install it at the LMT, commission it, and then use it to explore the Universe. As a group, we are driven by the scientific studies that our instruments undertake. Our group members span a wide variety of astrophysics specialities; from comets to nearby galaxies to monster galaxies in the early universe to clusters of galaxies. What unites all of these studies is our new and unique ability to image samples of these objects (and their environments!) at millimeter wavelengths.

Steve Kuczarski

Steve is the Project Manager for the TolTEC project. He has worked in industry for most of his career but through an amazing stroke of lucky timing he came to work with us on TolTEC just as he was retiring.

Kamal Souccar

Kamal is an amazing engineer and software writer who works for the LMT group here at UMass. He also works very closely with our group to both help with instrument development and to integrate everything into the LMT Monitor and Control System (which he wrote along with Gary Wallace and Daniela Malin). I've been working with Kamal now for over 20 years and he's worth his weight in gold to all of our efforts. He's also "very good at computers."

Nat DeNigris

Nat is a graduate student working on the TolTEC instrument. They played an important role in the cryogenics design and deployment, electronics testing, detector testing, and all around instrument integration. Nat plans to work on the challenging goal of measuring the pressure profiles of clusters via the Sunyaev Zel'dovich effect.

Zhiyuan Ma

Zhiyuan is a postdoc working on novel approaches to our data analysis pipeline. Most notably, he is the author of the TolTEC data analysis framework called Tolteca. Beyond this, he has brought his massive skills in software architecture and design to us through our Instrument Dash Pages, our group's membership in the Unity Cluster, and in many other areas.

Michael McCrackan

Michael is a graduate student who studies the dust properties of nearby dwarf galaxies. In addition, he is the primary author of TolTEC's baseline data analysis engine citlali.

Emily Martsen

Emily is an undergraduate student working on detecting the Sunyaev Zel'dovich effect in clusters with TolTEC.

Caleigh Ryan

Caleigh Ryan is an undergraduate student working on measuring the dust properties of nearby galaxies with TolTEC.

Scott McElhinney

Scott is a new technician working with us since the summer of 2021.

Recent Alumni of the Lab

Sophia Abi-Saad

Sophia is an undergraduate researcher who excelled at doing hands-on work in the lab and actively building and testing TolTEC components.

Reid Contente

Reid was an undergraduate researcher working in the lab who we eventually hired as a technician to help us get TolTEC installed at the telescope. Reid is one of those people who seems to revel in taking on any task, no matter how hard or ill-defined. In early 2020 he took a job with the SOFIA telescope.

Yvonne Ban

Yvonne is a graduate student who worked with us on modeling kinetic inductance detectors for TolTEC. Her model still has the potential to be used to tie our lab and on-sky measurements back to the physical properties of the devices.

Miranda Eiben

Miranda has moved on to graduate school in Astronomy at Harvard. Good luck Miranda!

Amy Ralston

Amy is starting graduate school at UC Irvine where she'll be studying the evolution of galaxies.

Yuping Tang

Yuping passed his Ph.D. thesis defense in April 2019. He has been working on inferring the properties of dust in extreme environments - focusing on observations of our galaxy's central molecular zone.

Alan Braeley

Alexandra Burkott

Davis Hodges-Hall

Christian Ruiz