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Sep 2010Present


Monash University

My research focuses on theoretical astrophysics. My main interests include nuclear reactions occurring in Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) stars and how this produces stellar abundances. I also look at meteoritic stardust grains and use measured grains to compare with my theoretical stellar models of abundance production in these stars.

Mar 2006Jun 2010


CQ University

4.5 year bacelors degree with 2x 6 month work co-op placements. Graduated with First Class Honors.

Work experience

Assistant to Maintaenance Engineers

Rose Aircraft Engineers

Work experience

Assisted a team of four Senior Engineers with the maintenance and service of many aircraft such as single engines to twin engine aircraft and crop dusters, assisted with paper work and maintenance release forms, and aided engineers with the test run of serviced aircraft.

Jun 2009Sep 2010

Research Assistant

Monash Centre for Astrophysics, Monash University
Mar 2010Jun 2010

Assignment marker

CQ University

Marked assignments for course PHYS11184 Engineering Physics A. Up to 110 assignments were marked for each piece of assessment, all being my responsibility, each requiring individual attention. Each students mark was then recorded and sent back to the lecturer.

Oct 2007Apr 2008

Student Geologist/Geophysicist

GeoConsult Pty Ltd

Assisted with geophysical surveying, organisation and preparation of TSIM surveys, interpretation of resistivity and TSIM data, completed geophysical survey reports, liaised with landowners/clients/project managers, assisted qualified Geologists on site with CSG projects and performed core marking, photography or cores, core boxing, core quality and defect logging, taking coal samples and putting on test, obtaining coal readings and entering data into tables, interpretation of gas readings.

In regards to general consulting, I completed marketing task to promote company, participated in training workshops, liaised with potential/current clients of company, general reception work; answering telephone, organising couriers, booking appointments/accommodation, etc., researched new geophysical software for company, performed research and development in geophysical techniques/equipment, participated and took minutes of staff/project meetings.


Supermongo Plotting Program
I have been using Supermongo since starting research at Monash, and have over the years used this to create many different plots to emphasise and enhance my research results, presenting Supermongo-made plots in papers, professional talks and reports.
Linux Operating System
Since beginning my PhD and research work at Monash University, I have had to adapt to their computer operating system, Linux. I use Linux everyday, and also use Linux Fortran to write and operate simple to advanced computer programs to assist with my work and research. Everyday I am improving my skills.
Microsoft Office
Have used many Microsoft programs since primary school until now. Very profficient with Office, Spreadsheet and Powerpoint.


I have a number of career aspirations; to either continue on in Astrophysics, or to pursue a career with defense in their R&D sector. I also have thought about obtaining my Commercial Pilots license and go on with a career in Aviation. At this point in time, all my options are open. I am hoping a potential employer will come across me and all the skills and knowledge I have to offer, and help me choose a career that is best for me.


  • Aviation and flying
  • Astrophysics and physics
  • Going to the gym, boxing, rollerblading, cycling, running half marathons
  • Cooking
  • Travel

Scientific Publications

Buntain, J., Lugaro, M., Stancliffe, R.J., Karakas, A., Nittler, L. & Hoppe, P. 2010 “Wind composition beyond the tip of the AGB and its relevance to stardust grain data”, Proceedings of the 11th Symposium on Nuclei in the Cosmos. 19-23 July 2010. Heidelberg, Germany.

Buntain, J., Lugaro, M., Stancliffe, R.J., Karakas, A., Nittler, L. & Hoppe, P. 2010 “Wind composition beyond the tip of the AGB and its relevance to stardust grain data”,Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana, vol.81, p.958

Avila, J.N., Lugaro, M., Ireland, T.R., Gyngard, F., Zinner, E., Cristallo, S., Holden, P., Buntain, J., Amari, S. & Karakas, A. 2012, “Tungsten Isotopic Compositions in Stardust SiC Grains from the Murchison Meteorite: Constraints on the s-process in the Hf-Ta-W-Re-Os Region”, The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 744, Issue 1, article id. 49.

Flying acheivements


  • Rockhampton Aero Club Flying Competition student overall points – 3rd
  • Rockhampton Aero Club Flying Competition flour bomb – 2nd
  • Rockhampton Aero Club Flying Competition balloon burst – 3rd



  • Rockhampton Aero Club Flying Competition Night competition award – 1st
  • Rockhampton Aero Club Flying Competition balloon burst – 2nd
  • Obtained Formation flying endorsement (Aeroplane)


  • Rockhampton Aero Club Round 1 flying competition overall winner


  • Will be attending and competing in ALAC in Rutherford, NSW in April as a team member of the Royal Victorian Aero Club in Forced Landing and Spot Landing events.

Memberships & Positions Held

  • Active Member of Royal Victoria Aero Club (since October 2011)
  • Astronomical Society of Australia (since 2011)
  • Meteoritic Society (since 2011)
  • Golden Key International Honors Society (effective 2009)
  • Postgraduate Student Representative for the School of Mathematical Sciences (since March 2012)


I'm currently doing a PhD in Astrophysics in Melbourne, Australia. I also hold a Bachelors degree in Applied Physics, with First Class Honors. In my spare time, I'm a private pilot with the Royal Victorian Aero Club and enjoy competing in national aviation competitions with fellow members. I also enjoy going to the gym and work hard to maintain my fitness and health.

Conferences Attended

20091. Speaker at the Elizabeth and Frederick White Conference on Nuclear Astrophysics in Australia (Canberra, ACT)


1. Speaker at the 10th Torino Workshop on AGB Nucleosynthesis (Christchurch, New Zealand). Presented talk "Wind composition beyond the tip of the AGB and its relevance to stardust grain data". Was published as conference proceedings in Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana.

2. Attended the 11th Symposium of Nuclei in the Cosmo (Heidelberg, Germany) and presented a poster “Wind composition beyond the tip of the AGB & its relevance to stardust grain data”. Conference proceedings published by Cambridge University Publishing (CUP).

3. Attended the annual Mt Stromlo student Xmas seminar (Mt Stromlo Observatory, Canberra, Austalia) and presented a talk on Stardust grains.


1. Attended the Astronomy with Radioactivities VII Workshop (Phillip Island, Australia) and presented talk on "Tungsten and hafnium composition in stardust SiC grains".

2. Attended the IAU Symposium 283 Planetary Nebulae: An eye to the future (Canary Islands, Spain) and presented a poster “Could some meteoritic stardust have originated from the winds of post-AGB and PNN winds?’.

3. Presented talk “Tungsten and hafnium isotopic compositions in SiC grains” at 1st Macquarie University School for Astronomy and Astrophysics Workshop (Sydney, Australia)


1. Presented talk “Tungsten and hafnium isotopic compositions in SiC grains at ANITA workshop (Melbourne, Aust).

2. In August, I will be attending and possibly giving a talk on "Kr isotopic compositions in mainstream SiC grains" at the 12th Nuclei in the Cosmo Conference (Cairns, Australia).

3. Will be attending in August and possibly giving a talk at the75th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society (Cairns, Australia).


Class C Drivers License

Vic Roads, Department of Transport
Apr 2006Present

Private Pilots License (Aeroplane)

Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Australia
Aug 2006Present

Night VFR (Aeroplane)

Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Australia
Jun 2010Present

Formation Flying Endorsement (Aeroplane)

Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Australia

Certificate of Completion (Piano)

Australia Musical Examinations Board

Musicianship in theory

Australia Musical Examinations Board


Amanda Karakas

Maria Lugaro


Air Services Australia