Kate Rowlands

Astronomy postdoc at the Johns Hopkins University


My main research interests are galaxy evolution, with a focus on the multiwavelength properties of both local and distant galaxies. I use the Herschel Space Observatory in combination with UV-optical data from large photometric and spectroscopic galaxy surveys such as GAMA and MaNGA to determine the star-formation histories and dust properties of large samples of galaxies.

My research interests include:

  • Multiwavelength spectral energy distribution (SED) model fitting.
  • Statistical interpretation of galaxy properties derived from large spectroscopic and multiwavelength photometric surveys.
  • Galaxy bimodality - starbursts, galaxy mergers, post-starburst galaxies, quenching.
  • Connection between galaxy morphology and physical properties.
  • Properties, origins and evolution of dust and gas in galaxies, particularly in (traditionally gas/dust-poor) early-type galaxies.
  • Chemical evolution modelling.

Why do galaxies stop forming stars?

Post-starburst galaxy evolution

My research focuses on post-starburst galaxies which are thought to be caught in the act of transformation between star-forming and quiescent Post-starburst galaxies are commonly assumed to be devoid of gas and dust, although recent studies (e.g. Rowlands et al. 2015) showed that post-starbursts still harbour a significant gas reservoir, comparable to those of star-forming galaxies. Post-starburst galaxies in the local Universe are not red-and-dead as previously thought. My research aims to address what role do post-starbursts really play in the formation of quenched galaxies.

About me

I am a postdoc at the Johns Hopkins University working with Tim Heckman, Nadia Zakamska and Brice Menard on the MaNGA survey.

I previously worked at University of Andrews with Vivienne Wild on the ERC starting grant SEDmorph project to study the physical properties of galaxies and how these change over time.

I completed my PhD at the University of Nottingham in June 2013, where I worked on the dust properties of galaxies using Herschel-ATLAS data.

Kate Rowlands


Department of Physics & Astronomy
Johns Hopkins University
Bloomberg Center
3400 N. Charles St.
MD 21218, USA
Email: katerowlands.astro AT gmail.com
Tel: (+1) 410-516-6659