The MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research (MKI) has established a high-profile postdoctoral fellowship program for research in exoplanets, gravitational wave science, X-Ray astronomy, cosmology, Optical/IR Astronomy, or other topics in the broadly defined area of astrophysics and space research. MKI postdoctoral fellowships offer independence, generous stipends and resources, access to a variety of ground-based and space-based observatories, and the opportunity to collaborate with faculty, research scientists, and engineers. MKI postdoctoral fellowships are awarded for three years, and offer health insurance as well as stipend. Fellowship solicitations are posted in Academic Jobs Online.

Current MIT-Kavli Postdoctoral Fellows

Kenzie Nimmo (October 2022 –)

Past MIT-Kavli Postdoctoral Fellows

Hsin-Yu Chen (September 2023 – January 2023)
Hsin-Yu is currently a NASA Einstein-MKI Fellow. Before coming to MIT in September 2020, she was a Black Hole Initiative Fellow at Harvard University. Hsin-Yu received her PhD from the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago. Hsin-Yu’s research interest is in gravitational-wave astrophysics and cosmology. She’s a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the LISA Consortium. With Advanced LIGO-Virgo’s gravitational-wave detection of compact binary mergers, she is trying to answer the question of how old the Universe is—one of the biggest mysteries in cosmology. In addition, Hsin-Yu is helping to capture electromagnetic signals from the LIGO-Virgo’s binary mergers, so that the joint detections can shed light on the origin of the heavy elements in the Universe. Finally, the mergers of neutron stars observed by LIGO-Virgo will teach us how matter behaves at low-temperature and high-density environments—another question Hsin-Yu is trying to study.

Juan Mena-Parra (September 2018 – September 2022)     Personal Website
Juan studied Electrical Engineering at Universidad de Antioquia (Colombia) before moving to Canada to study Honours Mathematics and Physics at McGill University. He obtained his PhD in Physics from McGill University in 2018.  Juan is an observational cosmologist who designs and builds novel instrumentation to improve the understanding of the origin, composition and evolution of the Universe. Juan is part of the team that designed, commissioned, and now operates the digital correlator for the CHIME telescope (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment). In Fall 2022, Dr. Mena-Parra joined the faculty at the University of Toronto as an assistant professor in the Dunlap Institute and the David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Tansu Daylan (June 2018 – May 2022)     Personal Website
Dr. Tansu Daylan is currently an associate research scholar and an LSSTC Catalyst Fellow in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University. He works on the discovery, characterization, and demographics of exoplanets as a probe of planet formation and evolution as well as on searching for astrophysical signatures of dark matter and its structure at sub-galactic scales. His research involves development of fast, accurate, and scalable astrostatistical methods including convolutional autoencoders and Bayesian inference via transdimensional sampling also known as probabilistic cataloging.

In Fall 2023, Dr. Tansu Daylan joined the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis as an assistant professor of physics. He holds a double major in electrical and electronics engineering and physics from METU, Turkey, and as an undergraduate, worked on cosmic ray detection as a member of the AMS-02 collaboration at CERN. He received his PhD in physics from Harvard University in 2018, where he characterized the gamma-ray emission from the inner Milky Way to show its consistency with the products expected from the self-annihilation of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs).
Following his PhD, he became a Kavli Fellow at MIT Kavli Institute and has since worked on various aspects of the TESS Mission including the extraction of light curves from the full-frame images, the TESS Objects of Interest process, the spectroscopic follow-up of detected exoplanet candidates, and characterization of exo-atmospheres. He became a TESS Postdoctoral Associate in 2021. His work on TESS enabled the discovery of more than five thousand planet candidates and some of the prime discoveries of the TESS Mission such as the TOI-1233 multiplanetary system with an exceptionally bright host star. During his postdoc at MIT, he also served as the Human Affairs Chair (2019-2020) and the President (2020-2021) of the MIT Postdoctoral Association.


Denis Martynov (September 2015 – January 2018)
Denis obtained his M.S. from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in mathematical physics. His first research projects included simulations of gas flows in micro-scale devices.  Denis received his PhD in instrumental science at the California Institute of Technology in the LIGO laboratory in 2015.  Denis is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham UK where he works on the design of the future gravitational-wave instruments.


Kevin Schlaufman (August 2012 – August 2015)     Personal website
Kevin was the inaugural MIT-Kavli Postdoctoral Fellow.  Kevin is a theoretically-oriented observational astronomer working at the intersection of Galactic astronomy and exoplanets.  He received his PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from University of California, Santa Cruz in 2011. Before coming to MKI in August 2012, Kevin spent a year as a Senior Data Scientist at LinkedIn Corporation. Following his three years at MKI, Kevin was a Carnegie-Princeton Fellow, Carnegie Observatories and Princeton University, from 2015-2016. Kevin is currently Assistant Professor, Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University.


Future MIT-Kavli Postdoctoral Fellows