Djazia Ladjal completed her undergraduate studies in Physics at the University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene in Algiers (Algeria). Her dream of becoming a professional astronomer led her to seek a Master's degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg (France). Working under the guidance of Prof. Ariane Lançon strengthened her resolve in pursuing a career in astronomy. She went on obtaining a doctoral degree at the KU Leuven University in Belgium under the supervision of Prof. Waelkens, Dr. Groenewegen and Dr. Blommaert. She worked on the science preparation of the Mass-Loss of Evolved Stars Program with the Herschel Space Observatory. This program investigates the circumstellar environment of evolved stars from low and intermediate initial mass by means of far-infrared imaging and spectroscopy data. Djazia is interested in how stars such as our Sun evolve and how the stellar material they shed during the end of their life is recycled into the interstellar medium to form the building blocks of new stars and even planets.
With her PhD in hand she joined the Herschel Planetary Nebulae (PNe) survey (HerPlaNS) project as a post-doc under the supervision of Dr. Toshiya Ueta at the University of Denver (Colorado, USA). Her expertise in dust radiative transfer in general and Herschel data processing in particular made her an active member of the HerPlaNS international team. The project is also part of an international community effort that aims at investigating the complex morphology and chemistry of PNe formation and evolution by combining data from different instruments and at different wavelength ranges. In order to contribute to this global effort, Djazia will use the Gruber Foundation Fellowship funding to join the Gemini Observatory in Chile, where she will use its world class observing facility to collect optical and near-infrared spectroscopy and imaging data of PNe. She will use 3D dust and gas radiative transfer codes to model these objects in order to help improve our understanding of this key evolutionary phase between the end life of a star and the recycling of its material in the interstellar medium.
Recognizing the important role that local clubs and astronomy organisations played in developing her interest in science, Djazia also hopes to get actively involved in local astronomy outreach programs in Chile.