My research interests span the formation and evolution of stars, star clusters, and our Milky Way Galaxy. I am most keenly interested in the structure and dynamics of young clusters and associations, how these regions form and how they eventually disperse into the Galactic field or survive as bound open clusters. I am leading a large programme combining multi-epoch spectrsocopy and imaging to determine radial velocities and proper motions for approximately 3000 stars more massive that our Sun in the Cygnus OB2 association, one of the largest groups of young stars in our Galaxy. This will provide an unprecedented 3-dimensional dynamical view of a young, massive association and provide insights into many questions relevant to the formation and dispersal of young clusters and associations.

I am also interested in probing how the star formation process varies in different environments. This has particular importance for understanding the origin of variations in the products of star formation: the initial mass function, the primordial binary fraction, and the fraction of stars with protoplanetary disks that may lead to the formation of planets. These studies are focussed on the Cygnus OB2 association where thousands of young stars are found in the presence of hundreds of massive stars that provide a harsh UV radiation field.

I also study older stars to understand how stellar rotation, magnetic activity, and the stellar dynamo that binds them together evolve over time. This is important for understanding magnetic activity levels over the lifetime of our Sun, the evolution of close binaries, and the physics of stellar dynamos. This is also particulary important for understanding the conditions faced by extra-solar planets that is relevant for planetary atmospheres and the evolution of life.

At the end of the lives and low and intermediate mass stars they pass through a phase known as the planetary nebula phase. One of the most extreme examples of this is NGC 6302, an object that provided many mysteries, some of which were solved by a detailed 3D photoionization model compiled using the Monte Carlo photoionization code Mocassin.

In addition to this I am a member of the IPHAS and VPHAS+ consortia, H-Alpha surveys of the Northern and Southern Galactic Planes, respectively. I have used data from these surveys to study the distribution of emission-line stars in our Galaxy, which provides a tracer of star formation activity and Galactic structure, and evolved asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars, which are responsible for Galactic chemical evolution. I also produce wide-field astronomical images from this data.