• The Group

Group Leader

Wladimir Lyra

Assistant professor and Origin's group leader. Professional stargazer, computational astrophysicist and geophysicist. Planet formation is a very ancient question: "How did the Earth come to be?". Virtually every society in recorded history tried to answer this question. In modern times this quest has been stirred up by the discovery of thousands of exoplanets, the vast majority of these lying in planetary systems remarkably different from ours. Wlad harnesses the full power of modern computers to build a digital laboratory to study the processes shaping ours and these planetary systems.


Natalia Dzyurkevich

Natalia has 9+ years of work experience in quantitative modelling, data analytics, and massive 3D numerical simulations, having worked on a broad range of problems in Astrophysics. Prior to joining the Origins Lab, she was a postdoc at ENS-Paris (France) and she has been employed at MPIA (Germany). Natalia holds a PhD in Astrophysics (Magna cum laude). She has extensive experience in Fortran, IDL, MPI, C/C++, and Python, and participating in several online courses in Machine Learning, Big Data, and Data Mining.

Graduate (M.Sc.) Students

Vincent Carpenter

Vince read a book about stars when he was eight years old, interrogated his parents about the earth and universe when he was twelve, read Cosmos when he was teenager, and got a B.S. in physics from UC Davis in his early twenties. The latest development in his long history of increasingly greater fascination with questioning the world finds him investigating the tidal downsizing model, a proposed method of forming planets from circumstellar disks, as he works toward a master's degree from Cal State Northridge. He is particularly excited to be doing this work during such a bountiful time in the history of humanity's observations of planetary systems, and hopes to continue his work in this field into a PhD and beyond.

Areli Castrejon

First-generation Mexican-American graduate student at Cal State Northridge. Since a young age, Areli was fascinated by astronomy. He learned about black holes, star formation, and cosmology. All his science projects pertained to astronomy, he built and launched model rockets, and briefly dabbled in telescopic observations. He is now working on making astrophysics his career. He started his research his final year of undergrad while recently becoming a father, and now continues researching photoelectric instabilities in optically-thin gas-rich disks in connection with planets. He continues working on his goal of obtaining a PhD.


Gabriel Bretado

Gabriel is researching on planet formation in the Ohmic zones of disks via the spirals that are induced by hydromagnetic turbulence in the active zones.

Andrew Clapper

Andrew is researching on planet formation via streaming instability in high pressure regions of circumstellar disks.

Chris Malek

Chris is researching on planet formation by triggering the streaming instability in localized regions of circumstellar disks.

Joshua Shevchuk

Joshua is working on models of active galactic nuclei, in order to explain the LIGO event via black hole accretion in disks, akin to the core accretion model of planet formation.

Former members

If you see them, hire them!

Blake Hord
High school summer intern. Now undergraduate at Stanford.
Amanda Rowen
MSc student. Now intern at JPL.
Leonardo Sattler-Cassara
MSc student from UFRJ. Back in Rio after graduating.
Sean Snyder
BSc student. Working in industry.
Alex Yep
MSc student. Now PhD student at Georgia State University.