People

Carl Rodriguez is an assistant professor of physics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa, a position he has had since fall 2020.  He completed his Ph.D. at Northwestern University in 2016, working with Prof. Fred Rasio, before moving on to be a Pappalardo Fellow at MIT (2016-2019) and an ITC Fellow at Harvard (2019-2020).  He is currently PI of the stellar dynamics and gravitational waves group at Carnegie Mellon, currently supported by active grants from the National Science Foundation (AST-2009916) and the Kaufman Foundation (New Investigator Award).  Carl is originally from Shreveport, Louisiana.


Postdoctoral Scholars

Ugo Di Carlo (starting Nov 2021) is a postdoctoral researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, working in the field of star clusters dynamics and N-body simulations. He obtained his PhD at Università degli studi dell’Insubria in 2021. During his PhD he studied the formation of gravitational wave sources and the formation of massive black holes in young star clusters. Besides science, he loves cooking, music, photography and videogames.

Poojan Agrawal’s (starting Nov 2021) research focuses on examining the role of individual stars in the evolution of stellar systems. She is currently finishing her PhD with Prof Jarrod Hurley at the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. For her PhD, she used various modelling techniques to study how uncertainties in the evolution of massive stars affect the properties of their populations.


Graduate Students

Kuldeep Sharma is a graduate student in the Physics department at CMU since 2018. He previously worked under the supervision of Professor Sergey Koposov on mass estimation of Large Magellanic Cloud using the proper motion data of Blue Horizontal Branch stars from Gaia. Kuldeep is currently working on the time evolution of star cluster density profiles under the supervision of Professor Carl Rodriguez using COSMIC and the Cluster Monte Carlo (CMC) code.

Xiaoqi Yu is a thrid-year graduate student in physics at Carnegie Mellon Xiaoqi is a third year physics graduate student at Carnegie Mellon. She is interested in exploring different formation channels for Binary Black holes. Before jumping into cluster dynamics, she has worked in physical and observational cosmology. Xiaoqi’s favorite part about doing research is the opportunity to travel. Originally from Wuhan, China, she has lived in New Hampshire, Minnesota, Beijing, Munich, and now in Pittsburgh.

Tomás Cabrera is a second-year graduate student in physics at Carnegie Mellon University working under Asst. Prof. Carl Rodriguez using computational methods to study compact object dynamics in stellar clusters.  He moved to Pittsburgh after earning his BS in Physics at MIT from 2015-2019, during which he participated in the 2018 REU program at Northern Arizona University, working with Dr. Joe Llama of Lowell Observatory on detecting molecular signatures in exoplanet spectra.  Tomás grew up in Broomfield, Colorado.

Gina Chen is a first-year grad student at CMU working with Carl Rodriguez and Tiziana Di Matteo. She grew up in Austin, TX and went to the University of Texas at Austin, where she worked on star formation research. Outside of school, she loves rock climbing, digital art, and writing letters to her friends.


Undergraduate Students

Chloe Hess is a junior undergraduate physics major from West Virginia, working with McWilliams Fellow Miguel Holgado. She received funding from Carnegie Mellon’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in the summer of 2021 to study gravitational wave emissions from neutron stars. After graduating from CMU, she plans to get a PhD in Astrophysics


Previous Members


Undergraduate Students

Sofi Martinez Fortis (Spring 2021) worked on numerical integrators, coding up a new N-body integrator for the two-body problem from scratch.

Alexis Ortega (2020-2021) worked on fewbody scatterings and eccentric binary black hole formation (see story in Carnegie Mellon’s webpage). Part of this work was subsequently published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. Now studying for PhD at Brown University.

Kevin Quigley (Summer 2021) worked on likelihood-free inference for gravitational-wave populations. Over the course of the summer, he was able to train a neural network to emulate binary black hole populations from the COSMIC population synthesis code, reproducing their masses and spin-orbit misalignments in a fraction of the time.