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Chemical abundances are used as tracers of galaxy formation and the interaction of galaxies and the environment where they are located. The astrophysical processes that govern the evolution of galaxies such as gas dynamics, star formation, galaxy assembly, leave an imprint on the chemical properties of the gas phase and the stellar populations. The connection between chemical patterns in the local and high redshift universe is key to unveil the action of how galaxies formed and evolved across time.


We started working on this topic in the 90’s developing one of the first codes that include detailed enrichment by Supernova II and Ia (Mosconi et al. 2001). This code evolved and was included in different versions of Gadget (Scannapieco et al. 2006, Sillero et al. 2020). We perform our own simulations to study how galaxies formed and evolved and their interaction with the environment.

ONGOING RESULTS AND PROJECTS: We are currently focused on studying the metallicity gradients as a function of redshift, and for galaxies in different environments. We also analyse other simulations such as those of the EAGLE, Auriga and CIELO Projects with two-fold aim: expand our knowledge by exploring other models and numerical implementations and access to larger volume simulations, which allow us to study other physical mechanisms.

MAIN COLLABORATORS: T. Troround (UNAB), Facundo Gomez(USL), Lucas Bigone (IAFE), Susan Pedrosa (IAFE), Ruben Machado (UCuritiba), Yetli Rosas Guevara (San Sebastian),Tom Theuns (UDurham), Emanuel Sillero (IATE)


Key Related Publications


Different physical mechanisms regulate the star formation activity of galaxies and their properties such as morphology. Numerical models are constructed to explore the impact of different processes and the link to the properties of the interstellar medium.
In particular, a new implementation of KROME in GADGET-3 allows us to follow the formation of H2 and to study the connection between H2 and star formation. Our aim is to improve the modeling of the star formation in simulations so that we can better understand the impact of different astrophysical processes in the triggering and quenching of star formation in galaxies of different morphologies. 


ONGOING RESULTS AND PROJECTS: we are studying the formation and evolution of H2 in isolated galaxies and the impact it has on the regulation of the star formation using our code and numerical simulations.
We are also studying the impact of galaxy-galaxy interactions in the regulation of the star formation activity and chemical abundances distristributions in galaxies in pairs selected from the MaNGA survey (Public data).

MAIN COLLABORATORS: Emanuel Sillero (IATE), Diego G. Lambas (IATE), Jose Hernandez (UNAB), Dominik Schleicher (U. de Concepcion), Stefano Bovino, (U. de Concepcion)

Key Related Publications

Target Projects


The history of formation of galaxies with different morphologies are analysed in detail in relation to their merger histories, environment, angular momentum context and fundamental relations as a function of redshift. We study the properties of disc-dominated and spheroidal-dominated galaxies, focusing on their fundamental relations across time as well as their interaction with the environment.



Our current projects include the study of the angular momentum evolution and the formation of discs structures; the impact of the intergroup medium on the galaxies using the CIELO simulations.

Recent projects:

  • We studied the analysis of the fundamental relations for spheroidal galaxies using EAGLE and HORIZON-AGN simulations, focusing on understanding the dependence on age and the degree of rotation, the impact of AGN feedback in shaping the mass-size relation, mass-plane and fundamental plane since z~2 (Rosito et al. 2019ab, 2021).

  • We are also focused on studying the evolution of the dark matter haloes and how they react to the formation of galaxies. From Tissera & Dominguez-Tenreiro (1998), we have explored different aspects of this problem by using more sophisticated models and higher resolution simulations. We extended the study of the impact of galaxy formation in the dark matter distributions, focusing on the possible dependence on galaxy morphology (Cataldi et al. 2021).

  • We analysed  the stellar mass surface distributions of disc galaxies in the EAGLE simulation and identified the three known types of surface density profiles (TI, II, III) (Varela-Lavin, submitted).


MAIN COLLABORATORS: Nelson Padilla (PUC) , Silvio Varela (ULS), Susana Pedrosa (IAFE), M. Sol Rosito (IAFE), Lucas Bignone (IAFE), Elisa Chisari, Pedro Cataldi (IAFE), Maria C. Artale (Innsbruck).

Key Related Publications

Target Projects


The unprecedented large and detailed observations of the Milky Way transforms it in a magnificent natural laboratory to explore galaxy formation. Numerical simulations of the Milky Way analogues are performed and analysed to unveil the origin of our Galaxy. We have worked on the MW analysing different aspects of the formation of the stellar halo of the MW analogues, the metallicity patterns and the relation with the merger history of assembly and the impact of the Gaia-Enceladus merger.  The comparison with observations has led to interesting interpretation on the origin of stellar age distribution in the halo,  very low metallicity thick disc and formation of satellite planes.

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We will continue exploring different MW analogues in our numerical simulations that can be used to understand the exquisite observations data that is being gathered. New algorithms based Machine learning techniques are being developed to disentangle different stellar populations.

MAIN COLLABORATOS: Thor Tronroud (UNAB), Facundo Gomez (ULS), Lucas Bignone (IAFE), Daniela Carollo (Trieste), Tim Beers (U. Notredame), R. Dominguez-Tenreiro (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid).

Key Related Publications


2020-2023 PI, Research Grant, FONDECYT-ANID, Chile

The Evolution of Chemo-Dynamical Patterns: The origin and evolution of the chemical-dynamical patterns of stellar populations in galaxies of different morphologies as tracers of their evolution. Co-investigation together with Paula Jofré.

2019-2021 PI, Fondo Alma-CONICYT, Chile

The Impact of Gas Inflows and Mergers: The impact of mergers and interactions on the regulation of the star formation activity in galaxies. 

2017-2021 Coordinator of the UNAB Node, LaceGal RISE Network funded by the European Union
Collaboration network including several research centers such as the Max Planck Institute of Astrophysics (Germany), the Institute for Computational Cosmology (United Kingdom), the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), the Paris Observatory (France), the University of Leiden (The Netherlands), the Universidad de Sao Paulo (Brazil), the Universidad Autónoma de México (Mexico), and CONICET (Argentina).

2019-2021 Researcher, Galaxy Formation Network (GALNet)

Integrated by the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, the Institute Milenio de Astrofísica, the Institute of Computational Cosmology (Durham), the National University of Cordoba and the National University of Buenos Aires. 

2021-2026 PI, Center for Excelence CATA, BASAL - ANID, Chile

Galaxy formation in different environments.

2021-2024 codirector, Nucleus Millennium ERIS, MINCYT, Chile

Phylogenetic galactic trees, developing a new tool to study galaxy formation.