Kim Venn

Kim Venn
Professor, Director (ARC, NTCO)
Physics and Astronomy
Office: Elliott 111
Area of expertise

Stellar spectroscopy and nucleosynthesis, astronomical instrumentation, galactic chemical evolution and the early universe


Kim A. Venn is a Professor in Physics & Astronomy at the University of Victoria. She was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, receiving her BSc from the University of Toronto in Physics & Astronomy in 1987.   She completed her PhD at the University of Texas in Austin, and postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics and the University of Munich Observatory, Germany.  She is internationally recognized for her pioneering contributions in observational stellar spectroscopy and for ground-based astronomical instrumentation and surveys.  Her scientific interests include the structure and evolution of dwarf galaxies and observational constraints on the nucleosynthesis of the elements, including over 250 publications (half in the refereed journals).  She has served on numerous science advisory committees, chaired time allocation (e.g., HST, CanTAC) and granting agencies committees (NASA, NSF and NSERC), and currently represents Canada on the Thirty Meter Telescope Board of governors.   

NTCO & Awards

Prof. Venn is the Director of the UVic Astronomy Research Centre, and Program Director for an NSERC CREATE training program on New Technologies for Canadian Observatories (NTCO).  She has won numerous awards for her research including the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (NSF 2000), a Clare Boothe Luce Professorship at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN (1995-2005), a Canadian Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics (Tier II, 2005-2015), and she shared in a UVic REACH award for Excellence in Research Partnerships (2018).

Current Projects available for Students

  • Metal-poor stars in the Galactic Centre and dynamics for testing the MW potential.
  • Heavy elements in globular clusters with high frequencies of X-ray sources.
  • Machine learning techniques for large and small spectroscopic data sets. 
  • GHOST spectroscopy; heavy elements in ultra faint dwarf galaxies.
  • Co-supervision of AO bench testing related to the Thirty Metre Telescope.

Current and Past Graduate Students

  • Tarun Kumar: PhD candidate (UVic)
  • Spencer Bialek: PhD candidate (UVic, MSc 2019)
  • Collin Kielty: PhD candidate (UVic, MSc 2017)
  • Farbod Jahandar: MSc 2018 (PhD candidate, UdM)
  • Dr. Masen Lamb: PhD 2017 (PDF, Dunlap Institute, Toronto)
  • Dr. Charli Sakari: PhD 2014 (PDF, U. Washington, Faculty SFSU)
  • Dr. Ryan Leaman: PhD 2012 (PDF, MPIA, Heidelberg)
  • Dr. Celia Blain: PhD 2012 (Mech Eng, UVic; Researcher NRC-HAA)
  • Dr. Trystyn Berg: MSc 2014 (PDF, ESO, Chile)
  • Ashley Chutter: MSc 2009 (school teacher)

Current and Past Undergraduate Students

  • Teaghan O'Briain: BSc candidate (UVic)
  • Fletcher Waller: BSc candidate (UVic)
  • Jennifer Glover: BSc candidate (UVic)
  • Nripesh Kumar: Mitacs Global Scholar 2019 (India)
  • Stephanie Monty: BSc 2018 (PhD candidate, ANU, Australia)
  • Nic Loewen: BSc 2017 (PhD candidate, UVic)
  • Farbod Jahandar: BSc 2016 (PhD candidate, UdM)
  • Ruth Digby: BSc 2016 (PhD candidate UVic)
  • Deborah Lockhorst: BSc 2015 (PhD candidate UofT)
  • Kris Youakim: BSc 2015 (PhD candidate IAP, Germany)
  • Brendan Thorne: BSc 2015
  • Mike Divell: BSc 2011 (school teacher, BC)
  • Dr. Anna Delayhe: BSc 2011 (PhD 2018 McGill)
  • Dr. Paul Wilson: BSc 2008 (PhD 2013 U.Exeter, UK)
  • Dr. Konstantin Fedotov: BSc 2008 (PhD 2016 WesternU)

Associated Student Members

  • Clare Higgs: PhD candidate (UVic)
  • Mojtaba Taheri Nieh: PhD candidate (UVic)
  • Ondrea Clarkson: PhD candidate (UVic)
  • Dr. Jared Keown: PhD 2019 (Ericsson, Sweden)
  • Dr. Zack Draper: PhD 2018 (Delta X Research, Victoria, BC)
  • Dr. Paolo Turri: PhD 2017, PDF (Berkeley, CA; Victoria, BC)
  • Dr. Hannah Broekhoven-Fiene: PhD 2016
  • Dr. Rosemary Pike: PhD 2016, PDF at ASAII (Taiwan)
  • Jon Geehan: MSc 2006 (school teacher, BC)