Suresh Sivanandam appointed Director of the Dunlap Institute

From Fellow to Faculty to Director

We are delighted to announce that one of the first Dunlap Fellows, Professor Suresh Sivanandam, has been appointed Director of the Dunlap Institute.

Sivanandam aims to understand how galaxies evolve over billions of years as a function of their environment by developing cutting-edge instruments for optical and infrared telescopes. He is an instrumentation research expert in visible and infrared spectroscopy, adaptive optics, and astrophotonics.

Sivanandam hosts a tour of the optical lab at the Dunlap Institute.

“I am honoured that I have been given the opportunity to lead the Institute that helped mold me into who I am today through the opportunities it provided me to innovate and push boundaries in experimental astrophysics,” Sivanandam says. “My goal is to continue creating those opportunities for those at the Institute and U of T astronomy and astrophysics by training the next generation of experimental astrophysicists and engaging in the interdisciplinary development of technology and experimental methods.”

Sivanandam also leads a large Canadian and international consortium as Principal Investigator of the Gemini Infrared Multi-Object Spectrograph, or GIRMOS. Once installed at the Gemini North telescope in Hawaiʻi, the next-generation instrument will allow scientists to see into the distant universe and study how galaxies assemble. GIRMOS will serve as a precursor to the IRMOS spectrograph, an instrument designed for the much-anticipated Thirty-Meter Telescope. 

As a Dunlap Fellow, Sivanandam was heavily involved in the creation of Wide Integral Field Infrared Spectrograph (WIFIS)—the first major infrared instrument constructed in-house at the University of Toronto—and continues to serve as WIFIS Project Scientist and Instrument Scientist. 

Sivanandam joined the Dunlap Institute in 2010 shortly after completing his PhD at the University of Arizona in astronomy and optical sciences. In 2015, he became an Assistant Professor cross-appointed in the David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Dunlap Institute. In 2021, he was awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. He has been serving as Interim Director of the Dunlap Institute since July 1, 2023. 

Prof. Sivanandam will serve as Director of the Dunlap Institute until June 30, 2029.