Joseph Rodriguez

Assistant Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy
Location: 4208 Biomed Phys Sci


My research group focuses on understanding how planets form and evolve by studying exoplanets, planets that orbit stars other than the Sun, and the disks of gas and dust that they form within. Using observations from NASA’s Kepler, K2, and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) missions, combined with ground-based photometry and spectroscopy, we work to discover and characterize new keystone exoplanet systems that can help us understand specific questions about planetary formation and evolution. We are also interested in disk eclipsing systems, when a young star is eclipsed by either its own circumstellar disk or one around another body in the system (i.e. rings). These rare events allow us to directly investigate the dust and gas (the building blocks of planets) around a young star, and combined with millimeter mapping from ALMA, provide a more complete picture of the full system architecture.

I earned my B.S. (2010) in Astrophysics and Psychology from Rutgers University and an M.S (2012) in applied and engineering physics from George Mason University. In 2016, I received my Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University for using transiting exoplanets and eclipsing disks to understand planet formation and evolution. Prior to arriving at MSU in January of 2021, I was a Future Faculty Leaders Postdoctoral fellow (2016-2019) at Harvard University and an Astronomer (2019-2020) for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, working at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian.