• The University of Western Australia (M468), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

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Personal profile

Biography

Dr Elisabete da Cunha is a Portuguese-Australian astrophysicist and a senior research fellow at the University of Western Australia. She was born in Paris and raised in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, from age 7. She obtained her honours degree in Physics/Applied Mathematics (Astronomy) at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto in 2005, and her doctorate from the University of Paris (Pierre & Marie Curie) in 2008. After that, she held several post-doctoral research appointments in Greece, Germany, and Australia. She has been in Australia since 2014, having lived in Melbourne and Canberra before settling in Perth in 2019. She held a Future Fellowship from the Australian Research Council (ARC) from 2016 to 2020, and is now an ASTRO-3D ARC Centre for Excellence Senior Research Fellow and holds an ongoing research position at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research na University of Western Australia.
 
Elisabete’s scientific research aims to understand how galaxies such as our own Milky Way have formed and evolved in the Universe in the last 13 billion years. Specifically, she combines observations of galaxies with the world’s largest telescopes with theoretical models to measure the physical properties of the most distant galaxies in the Universe. Elisabete has developed a widely-used tool (MAGPHYS) that allows astronomers to derive physical properties such as stellar mass, star formation rate, and interstellar dust content from observations of galaxies across the spectrum from the ultraviolet to the far-infrared/sub-millimetre. She is also interested in how interstellar dust forms and evolves in galaxies across cosmic time, and has recently been using the world's most powerful sub-millimetre telescope, ALMA, to address this question.
 
Besides research and teaching/mentoring graduate students, Elisabete also has a passion for sharing her science with the public and encouraging young students to pursue science studies. She has organized and participated in various public outreach events in Portugal and Australia. In 2019 she co-chaired a simposium of the International Astronomical Union in her home town of Viana do Castelo on "Uncovering early galaxy evolution in the ALMA and JWST era", an event in which over 170 professional astronomers from all over the world participated, and that included several outreach events for the local population.
 
 

Research interests

  • Galaxy evolution
  • Multi-wavelength galaxy surveys
  • Spectral energy distribution modelling of galaxies
  • Interstellar medium
  • ALMA observations of high-redshift galaxies

 

Previous positions

2016 - 2019: ARC Future Fellow, Australian National University, Australia

2014 - 2016: Postdoctoral researcher, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia

2010 - 2011: Postdoctoral researcher, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Germany

2008 - 2011: Postdoctoral researcher, University of Crete, Greece

 

Education/Academic qualification

Astronomy & Astrophysics, Doctorate, Sorbonne Université

Award Date: 9 Oct 2008

External positions

Division J (Galaxies & Cosmology) Steering Committee Member, International Astronomical Union

2018 → …

Council Member, The Astronomical Society of Australia

2017 → …

Associate Investigator, ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D)

Industry keywords

  • Space

Research expertise keywords

  • Galaxy evolution
  • Extragalactic astronomy
  • Star formation
  • Interstellar Medium
  • Submillimetre astronomy
  • Radio astronomy
  • Spectral energy distributions
  • High-redshift galaxies

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