Dr. Avestruz's research interests span astrophysics, cosmology, and computation. Dr. Avestruz uses simulations to make robust predictions and interpretations of observations of large-scale cosmic structure. Her primary focus is to understand the evolution of clusters of galaxies, the most massive gravitationally collapsed structures in our universe, comprised of hundreds to thousands of galaxies. Other aspects of her work prepare for the next decade of observations, which will produce unprecedented volumes of data. Dr. Avestruz incorporates big data methods, including machine learning, to extract gravitational lensing signatures that probe the mass distribution of massive galaxies and galaxy clusters.
Dr. Avestruz is passionate about making STEM accessible to those who have been historically excluded from the sciences and the academy. She has taught software and computation workshops to a variety of audiences ranging from undergraduate Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) groups to societies promoting the advancement of underrepresented minorities in STEM. She has also engaged in public outreach, believing that intellectual exchange is not and should not be isolated within the walls and members of higher education. This includes teaching labs to students from local middle and high schools and giving public talks at Astronomy on Tap and to underserved elderly communities.
Astrophysics, cosmology, galaxy clusters, computation, machine learning