Nhung Ho

I received my undergraduate degree in astrophysics from The University of California, Berkeley in December, 2006. I then matriculated in August, 2007 to the Ph.D. program in Astronomy within the Astronomy Department at Yale University . Under the guidance of my thesis advisor, Marla Geha , I successfully defended my thesis on 'Studying the Evolution of the M31 Dwarf Galaxies' in September, 2013. I am currently a Fellow at Insight Data Science.

Ph.D. Research

My thesis research focuses on understanding the evolution of dwarf galaxies, specifically those around the Andromeda Galaxy. We approach this using three methods: deep photometry to understand the structure of these galaxies, medium-resolution spectroscopy to determine the current internal dynamics of these systems, and chemical abundance studies to determine their integrated histories.

Deep photometry

Deep photometric surveys of dwarf galaxies allow us to study in detail their morphology. Signatures of recent interactions is preserved in the way the stellar component of these systems is distributed. Decomposing the stellar populations into their requisite populations gives us insight into the age distribution of these stars.

Internal dynamics

Using medium-resolution spectroscopy of the stellar populations of these dwarfs, which gives us the radial velocity of individual stars, we determine the internal dynamics of these systems. With samples of >100 stars per galaxy, distributed almost uniformly across the surface of the dwarf, we deduce spatially resolved mass profiles for these dwarfs.

Chemical evolution

Using the same stars observed for the purposes of determining the internal dynamics of these dwarf galaxies, we determine the chemical content of individual stars using the strong calcium triplet lines (CaT). While the dynamics of the system is a snapshot of its current state, the chemical content of a galaxy provides its integrated history from the time of formation to the present.

Data Science Projects

In addition to my thesis research, I have worked on a few data science projects to gain exposure to the field. My first project involved looking at H1-B data for the state of California between 2006-2012. I became interested in finding out which companies were hiring workers needing an H1-B and what types of industries these workers are in. I created Tableau dashboards to display the results binned by zip codes as well as by city. The details of the projects can be found here.

As a fellow at Insight Data Science, I created Healthy-me, a webapp that makes the health discovery process easy. Using three (mostly) immutable facts about a person: age, sex, and ethnicity, Healty-me will determine the top five diseases they are predisposed to. It provides information about the disease, as well as a risk number to gauge actual risk, in addition to a link to treatment solutions. It serves as a portal to personalized health discovery and distills easy to digest information.

I recently gave a talk on my transition from a PhD researcher to data scientist to the Astronomy and Physics departments at Yale. You can view the PDF version of my talk here. In composing this talk, I drew from my experiences at Insight as well as from this awesome talk by Jake Klamka on the different types of data scientists and what the gap is between PhD researchers and data scientists.
PDF Resume PDF Curriculum Vitae

Visualizations From My Research

In my research I have produced many figures, below I present a curated view of my favorites, most of which are unpublished.

Contact Information

If you would like to contact me, please use one of the following sources.

Postal Mail:

728 Orange Street #5 New Haven, CT 06511


Nhung.t.ho at gmail.com

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