Lisa Dang completed her PhD at McGill University where she characterized the climate of extremely hot exoplanets from phase curves. For her thesis, she used full-orbit phase-resolved observations obtained by the Spitzer Space Telescope to map the thermal emission of a variety of short-period exoplanets. From thermal maps of distant worlds, she characterizes their climate by measuring advective and radiative properties. At McGill, she led the detection of the usual westward hot spot offset in the atmosphere of the young hot Jupiter CoRoT-2b, which suggests that our current understanding of exoplanets is incomplete. With Spitzer, she also observed extreme seasonal variation on the massive hot Jupiter XO-3b caused by its eccentric orbit and put constraints on its internal heating.
More recently, she is interested in studying scorching hot rocky planets, i.e. lava planets, predicted to be covered with magma oceans. With undergraduate mentees, they revisited the Spitzer phase curve of the iconic lava world, 55 Cnc e, where they found a smaller hot spot offset than previously reported, as expected for these objects. At the Université de Montréal, she will continue to study lava worlds as geological worlds since they offer unique opportunities to study the interplay between the planetary interiors and their atmosphere. She is the principal investigator of a program with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to map the atmospheric temperature structure and constituents of the lava world K2-141b. In parallel, she will take her work on gas giant mapping to the next level by investigating the multidimensional nature of hot Jupiter atmospheres via spectroscopic observations with JWST.
When she is not thinking of planetary atmospheres, Lisa occasionally dabbles in exoplanetary gravitational microlensing. During her graduate studies, she held a visiting research fellowship at Caltech/IPAC to work on the Spitzer Microlensing Campaign aiming to constrain the distribution of exoplanets towards the galactic bulge.