Sabrina Einecke

Dr Sabrina Einecke

Grant-Funded Researcher (B)

School of Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD, but is currently at capacity - email supervisor to discuss availability.

As a passionate researcher in high-energy astrophysics, I love communicating complex ideas and findings in a simple and interesting manner to both peers and the wider community. Through my enthusiasm and love for STEM, I inspire young students and support growing the next generation, ultimately forming the foundation of our future prosperity. I strive to encourage them to seize global opportunities that exist in abundance in my field.

I am involved in a wide range of research projects. A majority of these projects have been developed, executed and/or led by me. The projects with the most significance are:

Science with the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA): CTA will be the major facility in very-high-energy gamma-ray astronomy for the next three decades. With its unprecedented capabilities, it allows a very rich and broad science programme. Defining this programme was a huge collaborative effort. The book’s immense impact is demonstrated by more than 350 citations. I am a Chief Investigator an ARC LIEF project to support CTA with optical observations for a variety of their key science projects.

Commissioning of the small-sized telescopes for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA): For CTA’s final design, three different designs for the small-sized telescopes were proposed. As Australia’s commissioning scientist, I supported one of the teams in commissioning and verifying their prototype, which resulted in our design being selected.

Quantifying possible Australian sites for Cherenkov Telescopes: To enhance the science capabilities of CTA, an extension of the array to Australia is crucial. We quantified several Australian sites to host Cherenkov telescopes. I lead this project and have performed the analysis and evaluation of possible sites with satellite images and data from the Bureau of Meteorology. The study is of impact for further future telescope sites, for example for optical telescopes or cosmic-ray detectors. To investigate the highest ranked site in further detail and to develop novel analyses to rate night sky conditions, I obtained funds from the DVCR Small Equipment Scheme to buy a high-quality all-sky camera. 

Towards a Cherenkov Telescope Ring: The aforementioned extension requires the investigation of different telescope types and configuration. I lead this project, which was executed by one of my PhD students.

Understanding the emission of Supernova Remnants (SNR) : To understand the origin of gamma-ray emission and the related cosmic-ray accelerators, gamma-ray emission can be modelled based on cosmic-ray spectra and measurements of the interstellar medium. Since such modelling is interesting for a variety of sources and the community in general, I am developing a comprehensive software package applicable to different sources and offering a variety of models. My models have already been used in several publications. With colleagues, I quantified, for the first time, the leptonic and hadronic components of a SNR. Using a similar approach, the Adelaide team also gained insights into the origin of a pulsar wind nebula.

Searching for Galactic PeVatrons: The sources of the highest energy cosmic rays and their acceleration processes are still unknown. I am a Chief Investigator of a Discovery Project that aims to reveal PeVatrons. I also work on searching for PeVatrons with alternative messengers, neutrinos.

Application of machine learning and advanced statistical methods: Nowadays, basically all astronomical observations require the use of advanced statistical methods, machine learning and high-performance computing. I applied machine learning to associate source types of gamma-ray point sources and link them with multi-wavelength counterparts. Many of my efforts go into improving the event reconstruction of gamma-ray observations. For example, I pursue a variety of statistical inference methods, such as Likelihood-free inference, combined with advanced sampling methods, such as nested sampling or MCMC.

Optimisation of very-high-energy gamma-ray analysis: Due to the indirect measurement technique of ground-based gamma-ray telescopes, complex statistical analysis methods need to be applied. The performance of these methods determines the scientific prospects, in particular for very short observations, such as transient events, or for studying the most extreme energies of objects. I have been working on the optimisation of various analysis steps for different telescopes. For the gamma-ray telescope FACT, I supported the development of the simulation in the beginning of the observation phase of the project. I established the deconvolution procedure, resulting in the publication of the first energy spectrum for this instrument. For the telescope system MAGIC, I built on my experiences to contribute to the deconvolution. I optimised the gamma/hadron separation and the energy reconstruction, both based on machine learning. This resulted in an improved energy spectrum, extending to higher energies. I also initiated and led the development of an automatic database-based analysis chain, providing comparable and uniform analysis products, essential for instance for population studies, stacking analyses and observation prospects for future experiments.

Association of Active Galaxies and linking multi-wavelength counterparts with machine learning: The space-based telescope Fermi-LAT conducted the deepest all-sky survey in gamma rays so far. Despite outstanding achievements in assigning source types, several hundreds of detected point sources remain without plausible associations or are associated with active galaxies of uncertain type. Assigning active galaxy classes to unassociated and uncertain sources, and linking counterparts to the unassociated ones, will refine our knowledge of gamma-ray emitting objects tremendously. With this knowledge we can carry out population studies of active galaxies, search for dark matter, or follow-up transients. Furthermore, we can address questions, such as the origin of astrophysical neutrinos and ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, cosmological evolution, and emission and acceleration mechanisms of active galactic nuclei (AGNs). I developed a machine learning algorithm, which used multi-wavelength data to improve the source classification capabilities. At the same time, it offers the possibility to determine the most likely corresponding counterpart. This proof of principle allows to exploit this novel approach for much larger datasets and catalogs.

I received funds of $11,221 via the University of Adelaide Small Equipment Scheme to purchase a high-quality all-sky camera for cloud and astronomical studies.

I have been awarded an ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (“Explosive Astrophysics from Siding Spring”) as a Chief Investigator with a competitive grant income of $0.6 million, where I will represent the needs of CTA and will coordinate the scheduling, alerts and interaction between the optical and gamma-ray facilities.

I have been awarded an ARC Discovery Project (“The Dawn of Extreme Gamma-Ray Astronomy”) with my mentor Prof Gavin Rowell with a competitive grant income of $0.35 million, where I will lead the optimisation of the CTA data analysis and the analysis of the first data of CTA’s small-sized telescopes.

I was actively involved in the preparation of two DFG (German Research Foundation) funding applications for the Collaborative Research Centre 823 (“Statistical Modelling of Nonlinear Dynamic Processes”), which have been awarded 8.3 million euros (2013 - 2017) and 8.7 million euros (2017 - 2021).

I received travel funds via the Project-based Personnel Exchange Programme by the German Academic Exchange Service for three research stays at Columbia University, New York, USA. From the same service, I also received travel funds to attend an international conference in Busan, South Korea, and acquired funds for a summer intern from Germany to work with me in Australia.

Astronomical telescope observations are often awarded on a competitive basis, using peer review in a manner similar to research grants. I have been successful with six observation proposals including the gamma-ray telescopes HESS (2020) and MAGIC (2015 and 2017) and the X-ray telescope Swift-XRT (2013). The HESS observations proposals included joint observations and follow-up programs with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) and the Australian Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), and Deeper Wider Faster (DWF).

I am very active in teaching and supervision. I assist A/Prof Martin White in teaching the Introductory Data Science course with over 100 students every semester, and with Prof Gavin Rowell, in teaching the second-year level astrophysics practical project components. These activities are very effective to attract highly skilled students from relevant fields to the groups' research projects. I currently supervise one and co-supervise four PhD students and train them in particular in programming, software development, statistics, data analysis and high-performance computing - skills that cannot be learnt in a lecture. I also actively recruit students by regularly offering summer internships to undergraduate students from the University of Adelaide, and also from overseas via special programmes (

In order to attract researchers from other Australian institutes, I have organised and run a school for the analysis of CTA data, serving as a base for future collaborations within Australia and beyond. I also promoted international collaborations by designing new research projects and by applying for travel grants for their realisation via the competitive Programmes for Project-Related Personal Exchange (PPP) of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

At the University of Dortmund, Germany, I gave numerous lectures on behalf of my supervisor in the courses “Astroparticle Physics” and “Statistical Methods of Data Analysis”, including gamma-ray astronomy, data mining and deconvolution techniques. For these courses, I also led the weekly workshops, including the development and assessment of exercises, and assessed the written and oral exams at the end of the course.

I was also regularly invited to teach at several schools, for instance about statistics and machine learning at the MAGIC software school, about CTA analysis at the analysis school for CTA-Australia and about fundamental physics with Cherenkov telescopes at the Bad Honnef astroparticle physics school.

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2023 Co-Supervisor Exploring the gamma-ray emission from supernova remnants Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Jemma Leigh Pilossof
    2023 Principal Supervisor Clustering the Interstellar Medium to Improve Gamma-ray Modelling of Galactic Objects Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Imogen Merla Sharrock Barnsley
    2022 Co-Supervisor Likelihood free inference methods for ground based gamma ray astronomy Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Tristan William Betterman
    2021 Co-Supervisor The Origins of Cosmic Rays in Supernova Remnants Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Adnaan Rizwan Thakur
    2021 Principal Supervisor High Energy Astrophysics and Gamma-Ray Data Analysis Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Robert Christian Koenig
    2021 Principal Supervisor Unveiling the Galactic Neutrino Sky Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ryan Thomas Burley
    2020 Co-Supervisor Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), HESS, ISM Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Rami Nafea B Alsulami
    2019 Co-Supervisor High Energy Gamma Ray Research Using the HESS Telescopes/CTA Observatory Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Tiffany Anne Collins
    2019 Principal Supervisor Data Analysis Methods in Gamma-Ray Astronomy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Simon Alan Theodor Lee
    2019 Co-Supervisor High Energy Gamma Ray and Cosmic Ray Astronomy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Peter David Marinos
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 - 2022 Principal Supervisor The Origin of Galactic TeV Gamma Ray Sources Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Kirsty Mia Feijen
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2016 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Investigations of Flat Spectrum Radio Quasars Technical University of Dortmund, Germany B.Sc. Other - K. Schmidt
    2016 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Estimation of the Observation Time of Fermi-LAT Sources with the MAGIC Telescopes Technical University of Dortmund, Germany B.Sc. Other - J. Moschner
    2016 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Search for Analyzable 3FGL Sources in the Field of View of the MAGIC Telescopes Technical University of Dortmund, Germany B.Sc. Other - H. Nawrath
    2016 - ongoing Co-Supervisor The Misaligned Blazar NGC 1275 - Long-Term Analysis in High- and Very-High-Energy Gamma Rays Measured by Fermi-LAT and MAGIC Technical University of Dortmund, Germany M.Sc. Master - K. Pfrang
    2016 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Automatic Data Selection and Analysis of Non-Detected AGNs with the MAGIC Telescopes Technical University of Dortmund, Germany M.Sc. Master - R. Berse
    2016 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Deep Learning on Camera Images of the MAGIC Telescopes Technical University of Dortmund, Germany M.Sc. Master - K. Mielke
    2016 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Follow-Up Analysis with the MAGIC Telescopes of the Neutrino Events HESE-160427 and HESE-160731 Technical University of Dortmund, Germany M.Sc. Master - A. Fattorini
    2015 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Studying the Classification of Active Galaxies Technical University of Dortmund, Germany B.Sc. Other - K. Pfrang
    2015 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Development of a SiPM Cluster with new Light Guides for the MAGIC Telescopes Technical University of Dortmund, Germany M.Sc. Master - C. Jung
    2015 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Flat-Spectrum Radio Quasars as Gamma-Ray and Neutrino Sources - Analysis of 3C 279 and Neutrino Flux Calculations Technical University of Dortmund, Germany M.Sc. Master - M. Engelkemeier
    2015 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Data Analysis and Image Cleaning Studies with the MAGIC Telescopes Technical University of Dortmund, Germany M.Sc. Master - S. Schroeder
    2014 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Investigation of a Data Mining Approach for the Determination of Energy Spectra at MAGIC Technical University of Dortmund B.Sc. Other - C. Jung
    2014 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Random Forest Studies for the Gamma/Hadron Separation within the RapidMiner Framework Technical University of Dortmund, Germany B.Sc. Other - D. Lunkeit
    2013 - ongoing Co-Supervisor A New Tool for Astroparticle Physics: Development of the High Energy Gamma Emulating Library for Monte Carlo Simulations Technical University of Dortmund, Germany B.Sc. Other - L. Rustige
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2013 - 2017 - Collaborative Research Center 823 -
    2012 - 2017 - Collaborative Research Center 876 -
    2012 - ongoing - MAGIC Collaboration -
    2012 - ongoing - FACT Collaboration -
    2011 - ongoing - CTA Consortium -
    2007 - ongoing - German Physical Society -

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