Research interests

I am Full Professor at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute in Groningen. My main research interests are in galaxy structure and evolution, with emphasis on studying what the neutral hydrogen in and around galaxies can tell us how galaxies acquire and lose their gas.

New large area surveys of HI in galaxies, as will soon be untertaken by Apertif on the WSRT, will give us a wealth of detailed information on the neutral hydrogen (HI) in and around many thousands of galaxies in a range of different environments. These will allow a great advance in understanding how galaxies acquire the basic fuel for their star formation and how in turn the star formation and galaxy interactions affect the gas content of galaxies.

My ERC Advanced grant the "HI Story of the Nearby Universe" (HIStoryNU) focuses on this aspect of the HI surveys and in particular the preparation for the large data flow which requires automated source detection and characterisation and effective 3D visualisation tools for examining the many detections that the surveys will deliver. For the latter it is important to bringing experience in computer science and in advanced astronomical data analysis together, which is another interest I have developed in the last decade.

I have held staff positions at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the University of Minnesota, and ASTRON, before coming to the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute in 1988, where I became a full professor in 2001.

In 2011 I received the royal distinction "Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion".

Current research group