Invited Speakers

The list of invited speakers is not closed yet, but we are very happy to announce the following confirmed speakers:


Pascal OeschPascal Oesch is an associate professor at the Department of Astronomy of the University of Geneva as well as at the Cosmic DAWN Center at the University of Copenhagen. He received his PhD in 2010 at ETH Zurich, and was subsequently awarded a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Santa Cruz from 2010-2013. He then moved to Yale as a YCAA Fellow until 2016, when he became an assistant professor at the University of Geneva thanks to an SNSF Professorship grant. Since 2022 he has been appointed as an associate professor at the University of Geneva leading the Galaxy Build-up at Cosmic Dawn group. Pascal Oesch is an expert in observations of galaxies in the very distant Universe, using both ground- and space-based facilities. He has led large programs with the Hubble, Spitzer, and now the James Webb Space Telescopes including international teams to unveil the properties of the first generations of galaxies using both imaging and spectroscopy.



Pratika DayalPratika Dayal is an Associate Professor and Rosalind Franklin Fellow at the Kapteyn Institute at Groningen University. Her research focuses on answering some of the most pressing questions in modern astrophysics and cosmology such as: how did early galaxies form and evolve through time to form the amazing complexity of structure we see around us? What is the nature of the mysterious Dark Matter (DM) that makes up 80% of the matter content in the Universe? How can we use realistic astrophysical models to look for habitability in the Universe? She is Principal Investigator of the DELPHI project that is funded by an ERC Starting grant.



Benedetta CiardiBenedetta Ciardi received her PhD from the University of Florence in 2001. She then moved to the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) in Garching for a Postdoctoral position within a Marie Curie Fellowship program (2001-2005). In 2005 she became a Research Group Leader at MPA. She was awarded a Marie Curie Excellence Award in 2004 and became a Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic for academic excellence in 2010. Her research focuses on the theoretical investigation of early structure formation and intergalactic medium properties. In particular, she is interested in cosmic reionization and associated observational probes, among which the modelling and detection of the 21cm line from high redshift neutral hydrogen. In this respect, she is the project manager for the acquisition, building and operation of a LOFAR station.


Alice ShapleyAlice Shapley is a full professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She obtained her AB at Harvard University in 1997, and a PhD from the California Institute of Technology in 2003. She was a Miller Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University, before joining the faculty at UCLA in 2008. Shapley uses both large ground-based telescopes (e.g., Keck) and space-based facilities (e.g., HST, Spitzer, JWST) to collect optical and infrared images and spectra of distant galaxies, in order to address key questions in galaxy formation and evolution. She has been awarded honors for her research including Sloan and Packard Fellowships, and the Aaronson Memorial Lectureship, and was recently elected a fellow of the American Physical Society.




Roberto MaiolinoRoberto Maiolino is professor of Experimental Astrophysics at the Cavendish Laboratory (Department of Physics) and at the Kavli Institute for Cosmology of the University of Cambridge; he is also Honorary Professor at University College London, Blaauw Professor at the University of Groningen, and Royal Society Research Professor. He received his MS in Physics at the University of Florence in 1992 and the PhD in Astronomy at the University of Florence in 1996, with secondment at the Steward Observatory, University of Arizona. From 1995 to 1997 he was postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrische Physik, in Garching (Munich). From 1997 to 2006 he was astronomer at the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory (Florence) and then, from 2006 to 2012, he was senior astronomer at the Astronomical Observatory of Rome, prior to the appointment at the University of Cambridge. In 2018 he was knighted by the Italian President in the Order of the Star of Italy. In 2022 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society.



Katherine WhitakerKatherine E. Whitaker is an Associate Professor of Astronomy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an international associate faculty member at the Cosmic Dawn Center in Copenhagen, Denmark.  She is a 2019 Alfred P. Sloan fellow and 2023 Kavli Fellow. Dr. Whitaker completed her undergraduate degree at UMass Amherst (2005) and earned her PhD in Astronomy at Yale University (2012).  Dr. Whitaker was a NASA Postdoctoral Program fellow at the Goddard Space Flight Center (2012-2015), a NASA Hubble Fellowship at UMass Amherst (2015-2017),  and an Assistant Professor at UConn (2017-2019), before moving back to UMass in 2019. As an observational extragalactic astronomer, Dr. Whitaker studies massive galaxy formation and evolution over cosmic time using premier telescopes, with a focus on quenching. 



Adam CarnallAdam Carnall is a Chancellor’s Fellow at Edinburgh University and PI of the ERC Starting Grant approved project “OMG: The Origins of Massive Galaxies”. His work focuses on the early evolution of the most massive galaxies in the Universe, in particular those that have shut down their star-formation activity. He has led several early analyses of such galaxies with the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope. Adam is also active in the field of astro software development, having published the widely used Bagpipes galaxy spectral fitting code.



Recently accepted invited speakers:

  • Caitlin Casey (University of Texas)