Gaby Canalizo

I’m a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Riverside.


The main focus of my research is the study of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) in the near and distant universe.   AGN are centers of galaxies containing supermassive black holes (BH) that are actively accreting matter at relatively high rates.   Much of the gravitational energy of the infalling material is transformed into radiative energy across the electromagnetic spectrum, making AGN some of the most powerful and luminous objects in the universe.   There are many outstanding fundamental questions regarding the origins and astrophysics of AGN, such as determining the most common triggering mechanisms, the duty cycle, and the mass of the central BH.   I investigate these topics through the detailed study of the environments and host galaxies of AGN, as well as establishing relationships between observable parameters in the host galaxies and fundamental parameters in their active nuclei.

A brief overview (though outdated) of my research: Quasars, Host Galaxies, and Their Role in Galaxy Evolution
A list of Publications.

Current Projects

  • The relevance of mergers in the triggering of quasar activity
  • Low-ionization broad absorption line quasars and feedback
  • Velocity dispersions of quasar host galaxies
  • The evolution of velocity dispersions during mergers
  • The evolution of the M-sigma relation out to z~1
  • Black hole growth in dwarf galaxies and bulgeless galaxies
  • The Lick AGN Monitoring Project (LAMP)

UCR Research Team

  • Graduate students: Remington Sexton, Christina King, Thomas Bohn
  • Former PhD students: Eddie Laag (now at the Aerospace Corporation), Mariana Lazarova (now faculty at UN Kearny), Kyle D. Hiner (now at Capital One), Nathaniel Stickley (now at Caltech), Roozbeh Davari (now at The Honest Company)


  • PHYS 6: “The Violent Universe” – a survey course for non-science majors, next offered Winter 2018.
  • PHYS 214: “Techniques of Observational Astrophysics” – a graduate core requirement, offered Spring 2017.
  • PHYS 217: “Stellar Structure and Evolution” – a graduate astronomy elective, last offered Fall 2016.
  • PHYS 251: “Observational Astronomy” – a graduate seminar offered every quarter.
  • HNPG 015: “Hazards of the Universe” – an honors program course covering topics ranging from geology to public policy, last offered Spring 2015.
  • HNPG 015: “Astrophotography: Capturing the Beauty of the Universe” – an honors program course co-taught with Dr. Mario de Leo Winkler, offered Fall 2017.
  • NASC 093: Freshman Advising Seminar, offered Fall 2017.

Press Releases