Research interests

Dark matter indirect detection: searches and constraints

Weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs, are popular dark matter candidates. Annihilations of WIMPs in regions of high dark matter densities may produce observable gamma-ray signals. Our own Milky Way has garnered considerable interest lately due to the detection of a source of excess gamma-rays in its centermost regions. I analyze gamma-ray data from the Fermi space telescope and compare observations to theoretical predictions from models of dark matter annihilation in order to ascertain whether the galactic center excess may be a bona fide dark matter signal.

Dark sector interactions and astrophysical observables

Most searches for particle dark matter focus on candidates- such as the WIMP- whose strongest self-interactions occur at the weak scale. What if the interactions between dark matter particles are stronger? Self-interacting dark matter (SIDM) models yield a wide variety of predictions for observable cosmology and astrophysics, which may be observable even if the dark sector is completely secluded and does not interact with the Standard Model sector.

Atomic dark matter is one such SIDM model which gives rise to a rich astrophysical phenomenology. Along with collaborators Kim Boddy (U. Hawaii) and Annika Peter (Ohio State), I study whether atomic dark matter may be able to explain discrepancies between astronomical observations measurements and N-body simulations of individual dark matter halos, as well as other observable features that may either help to verify or disprove this model. In particular, I am interested in the unique effects that atomic dark matter models may have on the formation of supermassive black holes seeds in the early Universe.

Cosmic ray constraints on dark matter models

WIMP dark matter may annihilate to produce cosmic ray particles, which would be observable by the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) instrument aboard the International Space Station. Models of dark matter annihilation which result in significant cosmic ray production may be constrained by comparison to AMS-02 measurements of cosmic ray fluxes. Along with UCI collaborators Iftah Galon and Flip Tanedo, I study dark matter models that may be able to produce the aforementioned galactic center gamma-ray excess while simultaneously evading constraints from AMS measurements.