About the Group

The energy output of actively accreting supermassive black holes (active galactic nuclei, AGN) has become a critical ingredient in modern galaxy formation theories and is widely considered to be the main driver in regulating the growth of massive galaxies. This energy typically exceeds the binding energy of a galaxy, such that even if only a few percent of that energy couples to the gas, gas may be heated and/or driven outside the galaxy which can effectively quench star formation activity. The critical role of AGN in galaxy formation was hypothesised two decades ago, yet this paradigm only recently obtained observational support and specific observational evidence of AGN-driven feedback has been surprisingly hard to come by. The group's research focuses on finding concrete observational evidence for the self-regulation of supermassive black holes and their host galaxies, on understanding the power, reach and impact of feedback processes exerted by AGN, and on the role of AGN in galaxy evolution at all cosmic epochs. The group aims to characterise the internal structure and the multi-phase nature of AGN feedback signatures, determine outflow masses and energetics, and inventory the sources of gas excitation. To achieve these ambitious goals, data from state-of-the-art ground- and space-based telescopes are being used to determine the physical properties of AGN-driven winds and to measure how and how much gas they can remove from their host galaxies. Specifically, the group leverages and will continue to leverage integral field unit observations, including data from the approved JWST Early Release Science program Q3D, which yield complex datasets probing spatially resolved stellar and gas kinematics and enable fundamentally new methods of investigating AGN feedback.

This group started its work in September 2020 and is funded through an Emmy Noether Grant of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and acknowledges support through the Daimler und Benz Stiftung , the MERAC foundation and the BMBF.

Team Members

Group Lead

Dr. Dominika Wylezalek                                                           
Email: dominika.wylezalek at uni-heidelberg.de
Link to ADS Library
Personal Website


Dr. Caroline Bertemes                                                                                                          
Email: c.bertemes at uni-heidelberg.de
Personal Website

Dr. Pranav Kukreti                                                                                                          
Email: kukreti at uni-heidelberg.de
Personal Website

PhD Students

Mr. Wuji Wang, MSc                                                                                                          
Email: wuji.wang at uni-heidelberg.de
Thesis Title: Mapping the circumgalactic medium around high-redshift radio galaxies in 3D
PhD Profile

Mr. Marco Albán, MSc                                                                                                          
Email: malban@uni-heidelberg.de
Project Title: Mapping AGN-driven outflows in MaNGA AGN

Master Students

Benjamin Beckmann, BSc                                                                                                          
Email: benjamin.beckmann@stud.uni-heidelberg.de
Project Title: Exploration of MIR JWST spectra of high-redshift quasars

Jelena Ritter, BSc                                                                                                          
Email: jelena.ritter@stud.uni-heidelberg.de
Project Title: Ly_alpha emission at high spectral resolution in high-redshift radio galaxies

Bachelor Students

Virginia Lenk                                                                                                          
Email: virginia.lenk at stud.uni-heidelberg.de
Project Title: A connection between AGN-driven outflows and the molecular gas content in galaxiess

Delvin Ahmeti                                                                                                          
Email: yu-ruei.wang at stud.uni-heidelberg.dee
Internship: Exploring data cubes of low-z AGN


Prof. David Rupke                                                                                                          
Home institution: Rhodes College, Tennessee, USA
Scientific visitor from 9/23-8/24

Former Group Members

Jan Beckmann, BSc                                                                                                          
Email: janpbeckmann at gmail.com
Project Title: The environments of high-redshift radio galaxies as seen by MUSE

Yu-Ruei Wang                                                                                                          
Email: yu-ruei.wang at stud.uni-heidelberg.dee
Internship: Exploring data cubes of high-z AGN

Kolja Reuter                                                                                                          
Project Title: The relation between AGN driven outflows and molecular gas content in galaxies

Payel Nandi                                                                                                          
Email: payelnandi@iisc.ac.in
Home Institute: Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore

Simon Flesch                                                                                                          
Email: simon.flesch at stud.uni-heidelberg.de
Project Title: What impacts the star formation histories of nearby galaxies?

Chuanming Mao                                                                                                          
Project Title: The 3D rest-frame UV view of high-redshift radio galaxies


Nov 2023
Dr. Pranav Kukreti joins the group as a new postdoctoral researcher. Welcome Pranav!
Sep 2023

Hike and science: GALENA group hike.
Sep 2023
We welcome Prof. David Rupke to ARI. Dave will spend his one-year sabbatical in Heidelberg.
Aug 2023
Jan Beckmann submits his Master thesis!
Feb 2023
Caroline Bertemes' JWST Cycle 2 proposal is accepted! Beautiful NIRISS grism data to come soon.
Feb 2023
Payel Nandi from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics joins our group for a 3 month long visit. Welcome Payel!
Feb 2023
Kolja Reuter defends his BSc Thesis on the "Connection between molecular gas content and the extended narrow-line region in MaNGA-selected AGN". Congratulations Kolja!
Feb 2023
Marco Alban's first first-author paper on "Classifying the full SDSS-IV MaNGA Survey using optical diagnostic diagrams: presentation of AGN catalogs in flexible apertures" has been accepted for publication in A&A. Congratulations Marco! ADS Link
Jan 2023
Simon Flesch defends his BSc Thesis on the "connection between stellar mass build-up and morphology in nearby star-forming galaxies". Congratulations Simon!
Dec 2022

The GALENA group at Heidelberg Christmas market.
Nov 2022
New paper by Caroline Bertemes on molecular gas depletion times and metallicity gradients. Congratulations Caroline! ADS Link
Oct 2022
The first JWST paper is out! Wylezalek et al. 2022 Link to the paper and press release.
Sep 2022

Part of the group at the AGN Growth conference in Iceland: Link
May 2022
Marco Alban defends his Master thesis. Congratulations Marco! He will join our group as a PhD student later that year.
Nov 2021
New paper Wylezalek et al., MNRAS, accepted ADS Link
July 2021
Wuji Wang's first first-author paper on the "Mapping the invisible circumgalactic medium around a z ~ 4.5 radio galaxy with MUSE" has been accepted for publication in A&A. Congratulations Wuji! ADS Link
July 2021
Chuanming Mao defends his BSc Thesis on the "The 3D rest-frame UV view of high-redshift radio galaxies". Congratulations Chuanming!
July 2021
ESO UVES proposal accepted!
July 2021

First full in person group meeting in 3D!
April 2021 Wuji Wang's JWST Cycle 1 Proposal approved. Congratulations Wuji! Link to press release , Link to Unispiegel article (page 5)
Jan 2021 Video Portrait about our JWST Early Release Science Project: German Version, English Version
Sep 2020 The GALENA Emmy Noether Group starts its work. Department Press Release , University Press Release

Publications (selected)

"3D tomography of the giant Ly α nebulae of z ≈ 3-5 radio-loud AGN", Wang W., Wylezalek D. et al., 2023, A & A in press ADS Link

"Classifying the full SDSS-IV MaNGA Survey using optical diagnostic diagrams: presentation of AGN catalogs in flexible apertures", Alban M. and Wylezalek D., 2023, A&A in press ADS Link

"MASCOT: molecular gas depletion times and metallicity gradients - evidence for feedback in quenching active galaxies", Bertemes C., Wylezalek D., Alban M. et al., 2023, MNRAS ADS Link

"First results from the JWST Early Release Science Program Q3D: Turbulent times in the life of a z ∼ 3 extremely red quasar revealed by NIRSpec IFU", Wylezalek D., Vayner A., Rupke D.S.N. et al., 2022b, ApJL ADS Link

"MASCOT - An ESO-ARO legacy survey of molecular gas in nearby SDSS-MaNGA galaxies: I. First data release, and global and resolved relations between H2 and stellar content", Wylezalek D., Cicone C., Belfiore F., Bertemes C., Cazzoli S., Wagg J., Wang W., Aravena M., Maiolino R., Martin S., Bothwell M.S., Brownstein J.R., Bundy K., DeBreuck C., MNRAS, 2022a ADS Link

"Mapping the invisible circumgalactic medium around a z ~ 4.5 radio galaxy with MUSE", Wuji Wang, Dominika Wylezalek, Carlos De Breuck, Joël Vernet, Andrew Humphrey, Montserrat Villar Martín, Matthew Lehnert, Sthabile Kolwa, A&A, 2021 ADS Link

Data Products

Soon to come.