Studying Galaxies

Aisha Al Yazeedi is a research assistant in physics, with Global Network Associate Professor of Physics Joseph Gelfand supervising her work as a Kawader Fellow.

Before joining the Kawader Program, Aisha Al Yazeedi worked on similar research projects sponsored by MBRSC with Professor Joseph Gelfand and Professor Dave Russell

According to Aisha, her first research experience was the main asset for her understanding of everything she knows today in her field and why she can excel in it. Back then, “I was still a fresh physics graduate and I was keen to dive into astronomy and astrophysics research after I completed my internship with the same group of professors, who were working with simulations and observational research.” This opportunity has allowed Aisha to discover her true passion for observational research and opened the door for Aisha to pursue a career in this field. 

As a Kawader Program Fellow, Aisha is continuing to work with astrophysics. “Galaxies eventually undergo a phase in which they lose most of their gas, which results in a change into their properties over the course of their evolution. This evolution is directly linked to their central supermassive black hole (SMBH) activity," Aisha explained.

However, as the connection between the two is poorly understood, it became the motivation for her current research. “Therefore, I study the radio emission of nearby galaxies which appear to have an Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN) in both parsec and kiloparsec scale, a few light years and thousands of light years away from the central region, which is the SMBH. I aim to understand the gas ejection mechanism and its correlation with the outflow properties we observe.”

Being part of the Kawader Program has provided Aisha with a distinctive professional growth experience. Aisha admires the program for its intensive nature and because it is individually tailored for researchers to explore state-of-the-art research resources and connect them to the global research community. Aisha’s own research is being conducted using best-in-class observing facilities such as the Very Long Baseline Observatory. It has made her a member of major research collaborations such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Aisha believes the Kawader program has broadened her career path and provided her with the tools she needs to excel as a scientist.


Every successful step in my research is influenced by my great mentor, Professor Joseph Gelfand who helped me dive into this field trying to answer crucial physics questions and make true scientific findings.

Aisha Al Yazeedi

“He helped me ask the right questions which is the essence of every successful scientific paper, and help me explore the different ways of interpreting the results to make connections and draw scientific conclusions," Aisha said.

As a Kawader Fellow, Aisha has produced her first published academic work. Throughout her time, she has collaborated with different professors on different projects as a co-author.

Still, the largest highlight of her journey so far has been publishing her first paper as a leading author in the Astrophysical Journal (ApJ). In her paper, Aisha presented a detailed analysis of the radio and optical properties of one of her most interesting galaxies, with key findings on the evolution of galaxies. Aisha’s research received wide media coverage, with her paper being featured in The National and other newspapers. Aisha is excited that her work is being noticed and shared.

Motivated by her success thus far, Aisha is working on her second paper as a leading author which will be ready to be submitted to ApJ this year. Looking into the future, Aisha is also very keen on presenting her work and research findings at an international astrophysics conference and finding new opportunities to collaborate with other professors and researchers from different institutions in the US and Europe on new research projects.