The team

Paco Najarro pioneered the infrared studies of the massive stars at the Galactic Center, and the use of massive stars across the Galaxy as metallicity probes. He is an expert on the CMFGEN code, and contributes to its development since 1990. His expertise encompasses UV to radio multiwavelength quantitative spectroscopic studies of massive stars from the Milky way till galaxies beyond the Local Group. From 2005 on he was the Spanish Head of Nation within the SAFARI/SPICA consortium and one of the two Co-PIs since 2009, coordinating the Spanish participation in the mission.


Miriam García is mostly interested in studying resolved, metal-poor massive stars. To this aim, she is conducting a vast VLT and GTC campaign to unveil blue massive stars in nearby dwarf irregular galaxies (mostly IC1613 and Sextans-A). She is an expert on UV spectroscopy and obtained the first UV spectra of metal-poor massive stars beyond the SMC with HST. M. García developed the AUTOPOP code to look for clusters of massive stars in the Milky Way (from IR photometry) and other galaxies.

María del Mar Rubio‘s science driver is the detailed accounting of the mass and mass loss of massive stars. She recently reviewed the initial mass of the most massive stars known in the Local Group. Using multiwavelength observations, she is also reviewing the stratification of clumping in radiation-driven winds, a critical parameter to estimate the true mass loss rates of massive stars. She is an expert on near- and far- (Herschel) infrared observations, but her studies also include photometry and spectroscopy from the ultraviolet to radio wavelengths.

Marta Lorenzo carried out her Master thesis on the interaction between metal-poor massive stars and their host galaxy. She developed an optimal reduction protocol for GTC-OSIRIS-MOS observations that will be applied to all our observations of OB stars in dIrr galaxies. At the moment, she is enjoying an FPI-María de Maeztu fellowship and carrying out her PhD thesis on the massive stellar content of Sextans-A.

Gonzalo Muñoz is carrying out the Master’s degree program at the University of La Laguna. He joined our team after being awarded one of the JAE-INTRO-ICU internships from CSIC, with Paco Najarro and Miriam García as supervisors. He is working on near-infrared spectroscopy of massive stars in the Milky Way. More specifically, he is contributing to improve the team’s pipeline to reduce GTC-EMIR data and using it to study the population of massive stars in the cluster Mercer 23. At the same time, he is carrying out his final project on chemical abundances of planetary nebulae as part of his MSc studies.


Marco Flores is currently a Master’s student at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He joined our team in 2020 to carry out his Master thesis on near-infrared spectroscopy of Luminous Blue Variable Stars taken with TNG-GIANO and VLT-XSHOOTER. Simultaneously, he is optimizing the use of MOLECFIT for the telluric correction of GIANO and XSHOOTER data as part of an intership.

Supervisors: María del Mar Rubio Díez, Paco Najarro and Miriam García

Iris Bermejo is a Master’s student at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She joined our team in 2020 to work on the line of research of massive stars in metal-poor galaxies of the Local Group. She is carrying out her Master thesis on the first stellar census of massive stars in the dwarf irregular galaxy Leo A. In parallel she is working on GTC-OSIRIS observations of SagDIG as part of her internship.

Supervisors: Miriam García and Paco Najarro

Rogue members in Villafranca

Miguel Cerviño’s main research is related with stellar population synthesis studies, with special emphasis in massive star-forming regions and star-forming galaxies, and low number statistics effects in the resulting integrated observables. Massive stars meet both situations: a low number of massive stars usually dominates the  integrated light of star-forming regions. He is also interested in interpolations techniques that would be more robust to analyse the parameter space which defines the large variety of  massive stars spectra. He complement’s our group activities by providing a top to bottom approach, i.e. from integrated properties of the population to individual stars.

Former members

Diego de la Fuente carried out his PhD thesis in our team. After his first postdoctoral contract in Mexico, he joined us again as a postdoc during 2019-2020. His work focused on characterizing the massive stellar content of young massive clusters in the Galactic disk with IR spectroscopy. At the moment he is an APOSTD postdoctoral fellow at the Departamento de Física, Ingeniería de Sistemas y Teoría de la Señal of the University of Alicante.

Vicente García enjoyed a pre-doctoral contract funded by the Youth Employment Initiative during 2019-2020. Starting from observed spectra and a grid of model atmospheres, he assessed different methods for unsupervised spectral fitting. He implemented an artificial neural network in our computers and tested its performance to derive the physical properties of O-type stars.

Rosa Arenales carried out an internship in our team in 2019, as part of her Bachelor’s degree in Physics at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Her work consisted on using Python software to reduce multi-object IR spectroscopic observations taken wih EMIR.

Supervisors: Paco Najarro and Miriam García.

Marta Ramos joined our team in 2016, and carried out her Master thesis entitled “Estudios en el infrarrojo de estrellas masivas en la Vía Láctea”. Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 2017.

Supervisors: Paco Najarro and María del Mar Rubio.

Noemí Mateos joined our team in 2015, and carried out her Master thesis entitled “Supergigantes en M33: Un nuevo punto para el gradiente de metalicidad”. Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 2017.

Supervisors: Miriam García and Paco Najarro.

More about us: