Sierra Grant

Postdoctoral Researcher, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics


IMG_0408Hello and welcome! I am a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany in Prof. Ewine van Dishoeck’s group. In August 2021, I graduated with my Ph.D. from Boston University under the guidance of Prof. Catherine Espaillat. I study protoplanetary disks, which are disks of gas and dust that surround young stars and are the birthplaces of exoplanets. Specifically, I focus on the chemistry and structure of the inner disk and how populations of disks evolve. I use models and observations, with data from space-based (including JWST, Spitzer, and Herschel) and ground-based telescopes (including the Very Large Telescope, Lowell Discovery Telescope, Gemini South, NASA’s IRTF, ALMA, and NOEMA) to characterize protoplanetary disk evolution and what that evolution means for forming planets. More information is available on my Research page.
Artist’s conception of a protoplanetary disk with actively forming planets clearing a gap in the disk. Credit: The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Japan
A column density map of L1641. In Grant et al. 2018 and Grant et al. 2021, we analyze far-infrared photometry and sub-millimeter observations of protoplanetary disks in this region to study their evolutionary state. (Image from Stutz & Kainulainen, 2015)