Diana Dragomir received her B.Sc. degree in Honours Physics (with a Minor in Chemistry) from McGill University in 2005. She obtained her M.Sc. degree in Physics from McGill in 2008, and her Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of British Columbia in 2013. During her Ph.D., she was also a visiting grad student fellow at Caltech/IPAC. Before arriving at MIT, she has been a postdoctoral scholar at Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope (LCOGT)/UC Santa Barbara, as well as at the University of Chicago.
Diana’s Master’s thesis focused on constraining the period and eccentricity distributions of long period exoplanets using radial velocity measurements. Her Ph.D. work involved a search for transits of low-mass, radial velocity-detected exoplanets with the Canadian MOST space telescope. She discovered that the super-Earth HD 97658b transits its star, which is one of the very brightest known to host a transiting super-Earth. The program also resulted in the discovery of another super-Earth transiting a bright star, 55 Cnc e. Diana continues to be involved with follow-up studies, in particular atmosphere observations, for both of these exoplanets.
At LCOGT, Diana has used the network’s 1-m and 2-m telescopes for various exoplanet-related projects, including atmospheric characterization of a warm exo-Neptune (GJ 3470b), monitoring the activity of exoplanet host stars, and follow-up of planet candidates discovered by the K2 mission. At the University of Chicago, she has continued her work on exoplanet atmospheres, using mostly HST and Spitzer data. At MIT, she will harness data from the upcoming TESS mission and her experience with transit detection and follow-up observations to improve our knowledge of small planets in the local neighborhood. Ultimately, Diana aims to understand the physical properties and formation of planets smaller than Neptune, and how these correlate with the planets’ orbital parameters and the properties of their host stars.
Space-Based Observatories: HST, Spitzer, MOST
Ground-based Observatories: Gemini, LCOGT