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 - 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.

For more than 10 years, I have been working in the field of high-energy astroparticle physics, machine learning applications and statistical methods, and I have many years of experience in working efficiently in small and large collaborations and teams. My research interests span a wide range of topics, from active galactic nuclei, supernova remnants and transients, to theoretical modelling, simulations and data analysis, to investigations of the interstellar medium and the Earth’s atmosphere.

I am involved in a diverse 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 [CTA Consortium incl. S. Einecke (2019). Science with the Cherenkov Telescope Array. World Scientific - edited book]. 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 on 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. In particular, I lead the high-level analysis, which is used to analyse observations from our data taking campaigns, demonstrating the high quality of the camera design [R. White, J. Watson, S. Einecke (2020). SST End-to-End Prototype Report. SSTER-SST02-E2E, internal document.]. I am also responsible for the generation of dedicated simulations, including the adaption of simulation parameters according to latest developments and laboratory measurements.

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 [S. Lee, S. Einecke et al. (2022). Performance of a Small Array of Imaging Air Cherenkov Telescope sited in Australia. PASA, 39, e041.].

Understanding the emission of Supernova Remnants (SNRs) : 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 [A. Mitchell, G. Rowell, S. Celli, S. Einecke (2021). Using Interstellar Clouds to Search for Galactic PeVatrons. MNRAS, 503(3).], [K. Feijen, S. Einecke et al. (2022). Modelling the Gamma-Ray Morphology of HESS J1804-216. MNRAS 511(4).]. With colleagues, I quantified, for the first time, the leptonic and hadronic components of a SNR [Y. Fukui, H. Sano, G. Rowell, S. Einecke et al. (2021). Pursuing the Origin of the Gamma Rays in RX J1713.7-3946. ApJ 915(2)]. Using a similar approach, the Adelaide team also gained insights into the origin of a pulsar wind nebula [T. Collins, G. Rowell, S. Einecke et al. (2021). Explaining the Extended GeV Gamma-ray Emission adjacent to HESS J1825-137. MNRAS 504(2)].

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 [S. Einecke (2016). Search for High-Confidence Blazer Candidates and their MWL Counterparts. Galaxies 4(3)]. Many of my efforts go into improving the event reconstruction of gamma-ray observations. For example, I pursue a variety of statistical inference methods [K. Eckle, N. Bissantz, S. Einecke et al. (2018). Multiscale Inference for a Multivariate Density with Applications to X-ray Astronomy. Annals of Inst. Stat. Math. 70(3)], 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.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2022 - ongoing Secondee Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory
    2022 - ongoing Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Level B) The University of Adelaide
    2017 - 2021 Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Level A) The University of Adelaide
    2013 - 2017 Research and Teaching Assistant Technical University of Dortmund
    2011 - 2012 Teaching Assistant Technical University of Dortmund
    2010 - 2012 Laboratory Assistant KOSTAL - Automotive Electrical Systems
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2019 Award Dissertation Award Technical University of Dortmund Germany EUR 1250
    2018 Achievement Finalist for Dissertation Award of German Physical Society German Physical Society Germany EUR 2500
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    German Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
    Spanish; Castilian Can read
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2017 Technical University of Dortmund Germany PhD (Dr. rer. nat.)
    2013 Technical University of Dortmund Germany M.Sc. (Physics)
    2010 Technical University of Dortmund Germany B.Sc. (Physics)
  • Research Interests

Date Funding Scheme Project/ No. Amount Investigators
2023 UofA Research Small Equipment   A$11,221 Einecke
2023 ARC LIEF LE230100063 A$595,295 Lidman, Einecke et al.
2020-2022 ARC Discovery Project DP200100784 A$350,000 Rowell, Filipovic, Einecke

I received funds via the University of Adelaide Small Equipment Scheme (2023) 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, where I will represent the needs of CTA and will coordinate the scheduling, alerts and interaction between the optical and gamma-ray facilities.

As the researcher to be funded by the ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (“The Cherenkov Telescope Array - From Production towards Operation”) grant, I was involved in preparing this application.

I have been awarded an ARC Discovery Project (“The Dawn of Extreme Gamma-Ray Astronomy”) with my mentor Prof Gavin Rowell, 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 several observation proposals including the gamma-ray telescopes HESS (2020, 2021, 2023) and MAGIC (2015, 2017), the radio telescopes ATCA (2022) and ASKAP (2020, 2021), 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).

Date Course Institution
2021 - ongoing Principles and Practice of Research II - Tutorials The University of Adelaide
2019 - ongoing Astrophysics II - Practicals The University of Adelaide
2018 - ongoing Introductory Data Science - Tutorials The University of Adelaide
2012 - 2016 Statistical Methods of Data Analysis - Lectures, Tutorials, Examination, Organisation Technical University of Dortmund
2014 - 2015 Astroparticle Physics - Tutorials, Examination Technical University of Dortmund

I am very active in teaching and supervision. I assist 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 and co-supervise several PhD, Master's and Honours 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 (www.daad.de/rise/en/rise-worldwide).

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
    2024 Co-Supervisor Searching for New Physics with the Cherenkov Telescope Array Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Hayden Alexander James
    2024 Principal Supervisor Galactic PeVatrons Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Edmund James McKennall
    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
    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 Part 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
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2022 - 2024 Principal Supervisor Likelihood-Free Inference in Gamma-Ray Astronomy
    Prospects of an Inference-based Analysis for Imaging Air Cherenkov Telescopes
    Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Scarlet Betterman
    2019 - 2024 Co-Supervisor High-Energy Cosmic-Ray Propagation in the Milky Way and the Associated Diffuse Gamma-Ray Emission Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Peter David Marinos
    2019 - 2023 Co-Supervisor The Transport of High Energy Cosmic Rays in a TeV Gamma Ray Pulsar Wind Nebula Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Tiffany Anne Collins
    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 - 2018 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
    2016 - 2017 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 - 2017 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 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Deep Learning on Camera Images of the MAGIC Telescopes Technical University of Dortmund, Germany M.Sc. Master - K. Mielke
    2016 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Investigations of Flat Spectrum Radio Quasars Technical University of Dortmund, Germany B.Sc. Other - K. Schmidt
    2016 - 2016 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 - 2016 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
    2015 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Studying the Classification of Active Galaxies Technical University of Dortmund, Germany B.Sc. Other - K. Pfrang
    2015 - 2016 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 - 2016 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
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2023 - ongoing Convener Working Group for Tidal Disruption Events HESS Collaboration Namibia
    2022 - ongoing Member ADACS (Astronomy Data and Compute Services) Time Allocation Committee The University of Adelaide Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2019 - ongoing Member HESS Collaboration Namibia
    2019 - ongoing Member Astronomical Society Australia Australia
    2013 - 2017 Member Collaborative Research Center 823 Germany
    2012 - 2018 Member MAGIC Collaboration Germany
    2012 - 2018 Member FACT Collaboration Germany
    2012 - 2017 Member Collaborative Research Center 876 Germany
    2011 - ongoing Member Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory Consortium Germany
    2007 - ongoing Member German Physical Society Germany
  • Presentation

    Date Topic Presented at Institution Country
    2024 - 2024 Invited Talk: PeVatrons - The Most Extreme Accelerators in our Galaxy ASA ECR Symposium Series, Perth University of Adelaide -
    2023 - 2023 Invited Talk: The Cherenkov Telescope Array - Unveiling the Very-High-Energy Gamma-Ray Sky Australian Institute of Physics Meeting, Canberra University of Adelaide -
    2023 - 2023 Invited Talk: The Cherenkov Telescope Array OzFink Workshop, Melbourne University of Adelaide -
    2023 - 2023 Invited Talk: The Cherenkov Telescope Array - Unveiling the Very-High-Energy Gamma-ray Sky 19th Recentres du Vietnam "Theory meeting Experiment", Quy Nhon, Vietnam University of Adelaide -
    2022 - 2022 Invited Talk: The Cherenkov Telescope Array ACAMAR Meeting on Astroparticle Physics, Australia/China University of Adelaide -
    2021 - 2021 Invited Talk: The Cherenkov Telescope Array and its Multi-Wavelength Linkages Pietro Baracchi Conference, Italy/Australia University of Adelaide -
    2021 - 2021 Invited Talk: The Cherenkov Telescope Array - Unveiling the Very-High-Energy Gamma-ray Sky Annual Scientific Meeting of the Astronomical Society Australia University of Adelaide -
    2018 - 2018 Invited Talk: The Data Mining Guide to the Galaxy and Beyond Spring Meeting of the German Physical Society, Würzburg, Germany Technical University Dortmund -
    2015 - 2015 Invited Talk: The MAGIC Telescope System: Scientific Highlights, Status and Future Perspectives 27th Recontres de Blois on Particle Physics and Cosmology, Blois, France Technical University Dortmund -
  • Review, Assessment, Editorial and Advice

    Date Title Type Institution Country
    2023 - ongoing Honours Examination Panel Thesis Review The University of Adelaide Australia
    2023 - ongoing Speakers and Publication Office Editorial Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory -
    2022 - ongoing Research Ambassador Advice German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) -
    2021 - ongoing ARC Discovery Project Reviewer Grant Assessment The University of Adelaide Australia
    2021 - ongoing ARC LIEF Reviewer Grant Assessment The University of Adelaide Australia
    2020 - ongoing Master Examination Panel Thesis Review The University of Adelaide Australia
    2019 - ongoing ARC Future Fellowship Reviewer Grant Assessment The University of Adelaide Australia

Connect With Me
External Profiles