I am an astrophysicist with broad research interests and expertise, studying primarily the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies in the infancy of the Universe. I am a heavy user of the Hubble Space Telescope, and have been awarded about three months of time (1400 Hubble orbits) to date as Principal Investigator on this multi-billion dollar facility, placing me within the top 10 users since 2001 (when large programs were introduced). In addition to observations of the most distant galaxies, I am interested in theoretical modeling and computer simulations of galaxy formation, in understanding the connection between Gamma Ray Bursts and star formation, and in the dynamics of self-gravitating stellar systems such as globular clusters. Finally, I have a keen interest to contribute to the growth of the emerging Australian space sector in the area of innovative and high performing nano-satellites for Earth and space observations. I am the Principal Investigator of the SpIRIT satellite and director of the Melbourne Space Laboratory.

From January 2021 I am a Professor in the School of Physics at the University of Melbourne (Associate Professor 2018-2020; Senior Lecturer 2014-2017). Before moving to Melbourne I was a Senior Kavli Institute Fellow at the University of Cambridge (UK) from 2012 to 2014. I was born and educated in Italy, where I graduated from Italy's most selective and prestigious institution: Scuola Normale Superiore, shaped on the model of the French Ecole Normale Superieure. After the PhD (2005), I held postdoctoral positions in the USA at the Space Telescope Science Institute and at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

When not in the office, you are likely to find me hiking or running on trails, playing board games, or experimenting in the kitchen.