I am interested on how the structures form, grow, and evolve in the Universe. My approach to this is from the theoretical perspective. But I have been always interested in that our results can be tested with real objects in the Universe.
In the last years, I have been doing research to understand the build-up of galaxies in the LCDM cosmological context. In particular, I have focused on the study of the mass assembly of low-mass galaxies in the LCDM and LWDM scenarios. I have also studied by means of MHD simulations the star formation process at scales of molecular clouds. In these studies, I have gained experience on the analysis and visualization of numerical simulations, as well as in their comparison with observations.
Galaxy formation and evolution
My research is mainly focused on the study of low-mass galaxies in the LCDM cosmology. These scales are particulary interesting since it seems that the LCDM scenario faces potential issues at them. My approach is mainly associated to the analysis of high-resolution cosmological simulations. In particular, we addressed the question of how much the stellar and gas MAHs of central low-mass galaxies do depend on the different halo MAHs by analyzing high-resolution (up to ~60 pc) dwarf galaxies obtained with the H+ART code (Kravtsov et al. 1997; Kravtsov 2003). We find that the stellar MAHs follow closely the halo ones, which for these low masses imply early assembly. And pushing the threshold up to the lowest galaxy mass scales (Dwarf Galaxies), I am currently studying how well mass estimators for dispersion supported galaxies work in very high resolution simulations of galaxies in 10^10 Msun halos. To this, we are using simulations ran with the Gizmo+FIRE code.
Alternatively, I have started a project of studying the evolution of low-mass galaxies in the LWDM cosmology.
Star formation and interstellar medium physics
I have also worked on the study of the physical properties of molecular clouds by means of MHD simulations. In Gonzalez-Samaniego et al. (2014b) we tested various hypotheses frequently assumed in star formation theories. These theories predict SFR efficiencies per free fall time (SFEff) that depend on main physical parameters of the clouds (Mach number, Alfvenic Mach number, and the ratio of solenoidal to compressive modes injected to the turbulence, b-parameter; Federrath & Klessen, 2013). We find that the theoretical predictions tend to be larger than the SFEff measured in the simulations in which magnetic field plays an important role in suppressing the collapse of structures in the smaller simulation with a lower average global Mach number. There we conclude that randomly driven isothermal turbulence may not correctly represent the flow within actual clouds.
Recently, we started a new project with the aim to understand how is the assembly of clusters in collapsing molecular clouds.
All this is not only of great interest on their own sake, but also represent a necessary step to understand the physics at scales that can not be resolved by cosmological simulations and that can only be included by implementing sub-grid recipies in numerical codes.
Mock CMDs from numerical simulations
So far, I have been involved mainly in the analysis of numerical simulations. Since the conclusions we can made are guided by how well the simulations and models compare with observations, I was all the time interested in understanding well this comparison process. One of my goals for future research is to go into a more detailed study of the subgrid physics in numerical simulations, as well as in the adequate confrontation of observations with the simulation results.