About Me

I am a postdoctoral researcher working in astronomical instrumentation and exoplanetary science at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), USA. I was born and brought up in North West Greater London, UK, and since then, due to the nature of my work, I have had the opportunity to travel and live in different countries. My research work focuses primarily on characterising the limitations of ground based visbile/infra-red telescopes and finding ways to correct for them.

Contact Details

Saavidra Perera
Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
University of California San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr
CA 92093, USA

sperera @ ucsd.edu

Curriculum Vitae

Research Experience

University of California San Diego
Jan 2021 - Present
Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
Jul 2018 - Oct 2020
Durham University / Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Jan 2018 - Jun 2018 - Present


Durham Unviersity
PhD 2013 - 2017
Imperial College London
MSci & BSC 2008 - 2012


Outreach is a great tool for inspiring the public about science. It can be a way to encourage people of all ages to get involved, to break down stereotypes and explain why we as a society should invest in research and development.

The OIRLab at UCSD offers Cosmic Tours, which offers portable planetarium shows to local schools and communities. I have had the opportunity to volunteer for these shows as well as for activities run by UCSD's Postdoctoral Association.

The Haus der Astronomie (HdA) at MPIA offers many outreach events. They have an in-house planetarium where they showcase their work. As part of a competition, I was asked to do a voice-over of the "Checking Up in Einstein" show.

In the UK I was a STEM ambassador and throughout my postgraduate studies at Durham University I delivered many planetarium shows, organised lab tours, took part in a number of science festivals, and visited secondary schools. In addition, during my undergraduate degree, I volunteered at the Science Museum in London as an archival curator.


What Is NYRIA?

The Network for Young Researchers in Instrumentation for Astronomy (NYRIA) is an international network created with the intention to bring together early career researchers working in the field of VID/IR ground-based astronomical instrumentation. NYRIA aims to promote collaboration, the sharing of knowledge and experience and comradery in the field.

What Do We Do?

One of our key activities is our annual workshop. This is generally a small sized meeting (~30 attendees) hosted at different institutes each year. As part of the event all attendees present their work, we give tours of the host institute’s labs, organise a hack-a-thon, invite speakers to discuss research and a career in astronomical instrumentation, and organise social activities including a conference dinner. As well as this, we have a mailing list where we forward PhD and postdoc positions as well as conferences that might be of interest.

My Role

As one of the co-founders of NYRIA (see History of NYRIA) I co-run the network, help organise our annual meetings (including hosting one of our early events in Durham University in 2016) and created and maintain (with Felix Bosco) our website. I am currently in the process of creating a blog on the website where members can write articles about their research and experience as a researcher.

History of NYRIA

I, along with seven others, co-founded NYRIA after meeting at the "Reaching the limits of the sky, astronomical instrumentation in the 21st Century" summer school, in 2014. The summer school was an incredible experience and for most of us it was the first time to Chile and Paranal Observatory. We all got on like a house on fire and at the end of the two weeks it was sad to say our goodbyes. Most of us stayed in contact and those who were based in Europe decided to get together in Heidelberg, Germany, at MPIA. Those at MPIA organized a tour of the facilities and we gave talks to update each other on what we had done in the last year. In the end, we realized how special a community like ours was and from then on we decided to run annual workshops in different institutes, growing with each year, with attendees from across the globe.

Contact Us

Please visit the NYRIA website to get more information on what we do and what we have done. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.