The formation of stars and planets and the origin of our Solar System is one of the oldest and most fundamental questions of astronomy. In the past decades our understanding of star and planet formation increased dramatically. Not only due to the immense observational and theoretical effort made, but also due to the increasing synchronisation and coordination between theorists and observers. The tight connection between these two groups will be absolutely essential as next generation telescopes will come online allowing to directly test star and planet formation theories.
My research focuses on the formation of stars and planetary systems trying to understand how planets form in protoplanetary discs around young stars. Using the Infrared Spectrographs onboard the Spitzer Space Telescope I study how small grains of interstellar origin grow in protoplanetary disks and how their internal structure changes from amorphous to crystalline similar to those in Solar System comets. I am also interested in variability of young stellar objects, how time-domain observations can help us to understand the structure and evolution of planet-forming disks. Currently my highest priority project is to study the observability of young planetary embryos in protoplanetary disks and various forms of planet-disk interactions using state-of-the-art 3D radiative transfer codes. I am also using various interferometers (e.g. PIONIER, MATISSE, ALMA) to test my predictions in real observations.