My research focuses on understanding how planetary systems form in the hopes of determining how common systems like our own are in the galaxy. I develop theoretical models to study the thermal, chemical, and dynamical evolution of materials in protoplanetary disks to understand the makeup of planetesimals and planets. I compare the predictions of my models to measurements of meteoritic and planetary materials in order to put constraints on how the processes operated in our own protoplanetary disk, the solar nebula. I also apply my models to investigate how extrasolar planets or protoplanetary disks developed their observed properties. Thus I am exploring ways to bring together the fields of meteoritics and astrophysics.
Among the specific topics of research that I have been involved are: evaluating whether chondrules could have formed in shock waves that passed through the solar nebula, understanding how dust grains grow from sub-micron sized particles to planets that are thousands of kilometers across, how the dynamic evolution of a protoplanetary disk affects its chemical evolution, and how primitive materials may have formed close to the sun and then been transported outward large distances to be incorporated into comets. I have also recently begun a collaboration to investigate the role that planetesimal impacts had on the thermal and chemical evolution of planetary building blocks.