Skip to main content
D.J. Pisano
Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy


I am an associate professor and interim department chair in the Physics & Astronomy department here at WVU with adjunct appointments at the Green Bank Observatory and NRAO. I arrived here in January 2009 from the NRAO in Green Bank, WV where I worked as a postdoc. I previously worked at the Naval Research Lab and the Australia Telescope National Facility. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001 and my B.S. from Yale in 1996.

I am an astronomer interested in how galaxies form and evolve. I use radio telescopes around the world primarily to study neutral hydrogen (HI) in our own Milky Way and other, more distant galaxies.

Around our own galaxy, the Milky Way, I helped conduct the Galactic All-Sky Survey (GASS) of the HI in the southern sky made using the Parkes radio telescope.  GASS was combined with data from the Effelsberg radio telescope to produce the HI4PI survey of HI over the entire sky.  The survey is shown below:

Color image of the neutral hydrogen in the Milky Way

Further away, I am studying the gas in the circumgalactic medium (CGM) and intergalactic medium (IGM) around nearby galaxies.  This gas could serve as fuel for future star formation in these galaxies.  This work is being done using the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) and Parkes.  An example of this diffuse HI can be seen around NGC 2403 and NGC 6946:

Map of the HI around the galaxy NGC 2403Map of HI in and around NGC 6946

My collaborators and I are also using the GBT to conduct and extensive, deep HI survey of the CGM of M31.  More information and the processed data can be found at

This work is continuing with a large legacy survey called IMAGINE using the ATCA+Parkes in Australia and MHONGOOSE, a key project on the MeerKAT in South Africa.  These surveys involve extremely deep observations of HI in and around nearby galaxies.   

I am also working to study how the HI content of galaxies evolves over the history of the universe.  The CHILES survey is a 1000-hour survey using the Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico to observe HI evolution over the past four billion years.  The LADUMA survey will be using MeerKAT to probe the HI content of galaxies over the past eight billion year. 

The final aspect of my research involves radio studies of luminous compact blue galaxies (LCBGs). These are prolifically star-forming galaxies that are common in the distant universe, but are exceedingly rare today. I am studying LCBGs in the local and distant universe in order to better constrain the current nature and evolutionary fate of LCBGs.

For my research I use radio telescopes around the world, including the GBT in West Virginia, the VLA in New Mexico, Arecibo in Puerto Rico, the ATCA and Parkes in Australia, the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) in the Netherlands, and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in India.  I am working with astronomers in China to use the Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) for HI observations.  I am looking forward to using MeerKAT in South Africa, the South African Square Kilometer Array pathfinder telescope.

Please contact me if you are interested in doing research in my group.


My complete list of publications can be found at this Astrophysical Data Systems link:  Publication List.

The same list ranked by citation can be found at this link:  Citation Ranked.


I teach both astronomy and physics classes at WVU to both undergraduate and graduate students.  These include: ASTR106-Descriptive Astronomy, PHYS301-Computational Physics, PHYS332-Theoretical Mechanics 2, ASTR368-Astrophysics 2, ASTR701-Computational Astrophysics and ASTR703-Galactic Astronomy. 

For students, the course webpages can be found on eCampus

If you want more information about these courses, or getting an undergraduate or graduate degree in Physics, look at the university catalog or our department webpage:


Through generous support from a NSF CAREER grant, I have developed an open-ended, inquiry-based educational activity for middle school students:  What are those THINGS?