How do galaxies form and what physical processes influence their further development? These questions are the focus of members of a new Emmy Noether junior research group, which has started its work at the Centre for Astronomy of Heidelberg University (ZAH). The research team led by Dr Dominika Wylezalek is concentrating on the role growing supermassive black holes have in the evolution of galaxies. Over the next six years, the physicist will receive funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) totalling approximately 1.6 million euros.
"Supermassive black holes are rather small objects in physical terms but during their active growth phases they appear to have a major influence on the development of galaxies and ultimately on how our universe appears today," explains Dr Wylezalek, whose "Galaxy Evolution and AGN" (GALENA) research group is located at the Institute for Astronomical Computing of the ZAH. The researchers will investigate the physical processes related to galaxy formation in different cosmological epochs and scales. Their goal is to find evidence for the self-regulation of black holes and their galaxies. They also aim to identify the strength, range, and effect of feedback processes of actively growing supermassive black holes.
Dominika Wylezalek earned her Bachelor’s degree in 2010 from Heidelberg University and completed her Master’s in astronomy in 2011 at Cambridge University (Great Britain). She was awarded her doctorate in 2014 from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Garching. Dr Wylezalek then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (USA) and as a Research Fellow at ESO.
The Emmy Noether Programme of the German Research Foundation affords particularly qualified young researchers the opportunity to qualify for a university professorship over a six-year period during which they lead their own independent junior research group.