As the chair of the institute’s science staff, Dr. Suvi Gezari works to strengthen STScI’s research productivity by advocating for the needs of our research staff. She monitors the use of research-enabling resources, oversees the peer mentoring program, seeks ways to enhance the scientific environment, and consults with the research staff to guide the institute toward exciting research initiatives.
Dr. Gezari’s research program harnesses the power of time domain observations to study supermassive black holes. She is a pioneer in observational studies of tidal disruption events (TDEs), luminous outbursts from the nuclei of galaxies that occur when an unlucky star is ripped apart and consumed by a central massive black hole. She has used wide-field time domain surveys to discover TDEs, including GALEX, Pan-STARRS1, the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF), the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), and soon the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope. Dr. Gezari uses follow-up observations across the electromagnetic spectrum, especially in ultraviolet (UV) and X-rays, along with spectroscopic observations of their host galaxies to classify and characterize these events, and use them as probes of accretion physics and massive black hole demographics. Dr. Gezari is involved in planning for future NASA missions. She is the science team lead for New Views of the Dynamic Universe for the UVEX: Ultraviolet Explorer medium-class mission concept, and science team co-lead on tidal disruption events for the High-Energy X-ray Probe (HEX-P) X-ray probe mission concept.
Dr. Gezari served as the project scientist for Time Domain Astronomy (TDA) and Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (MMA) at STScI. She also led two major initiatives in strategic planning for TDA and MMA, an AURA Roman-Rubin Synergy Working Group, which produced a white paper, “R2-D2: Roman and Rubin—From Data to Discovery,” and the NASA workshop on Time Domain and Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (TDAMM) and its associated report to NASA Headquarters. Dr. Gezari also served on the Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics (Astro2020) committee panel on ground-based optical and infrared telescopes.
Dr. Gezari is an affiliated astronomer at the Maria Mitchell Observatory on Nantucket, Massachusetts, and a member of the Aspen Center for Physics. Before arriving at the institute, Dr. Gezari was an associate professor of astronomy with tenure at the University of Maryland and the co-director of its Joint Space-Sciences Institute. She was awarded the Kavli Foundation’s Plenary Lecture at the 235th American Astronomical Society (AAS) Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, in January 2020 for her global leadership in the study of tidal disruption events, and received the University of Maryland’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences Board of Visitors Junior Faculty Award in 2016. She was a Scialog Time Domain Astrophysics Fellow in 2015, and received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award in the same year. Prior to her faculty position, she was a Hubble Fellow at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
Phd in Astronomy, Columbia University
MA in Astronomy, University of California, Los Angeles
ScB in Math-Physics, with honors, Brown University
- Supermassive black holes
- Tidal disruption events
- Time domain astronomy
- Multi-messenger astrophysics
Research Topics: Supermassive Black Holes, AGN and Quasars, Transients
ORCID ID: 0000-0003-3703-5154