Amina Helmi is a Full Professor at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute in Groningen. Her main research interests are in galaxy evolution and dynamics, with emphasis on what can be learned from the nearby Universe, and in particular from our own Galaxy.
The assembly process of a galaxy leaves imprints in the present-day spatial distribution, motions, ages and chemical abundances of its stars. The Milky Way is the only system (for now) for which we have direct access to this information, because only in our Galaxy and its nearby satellites can we measure the properties of millions of individual stars.
The main goal of her research thus far has been to characterize these fossil signatures from a theoretical point of view, and to use observational data to recover those fossils and thereby reconstruct the formation history of our Galaxy.
Besides Galactic archaeology, she is also interested on the problem of direct detection of dark-matter, and on the distribution of dark-matter around galaxies (both shape and density profile).