Public profile

Maria Cunningham
Senior Lecturer
61 2 9385 5662
61 2 9385 6060
  • Molecular Astrophysics: One of my main areas of research is the use of molecular line radiation to investigate the physical conditions and chemistry of molecular clouds, both in the Milky Way and in other galaxies.
  • Bioastronomy: Bioastronomy and astrobiology are among the most exciting areas of research in science today, bringing together scientists from the disciplines of physics, astronomy, geology, chemistry and biology. My own interests lie in investigating pre-biotic molecules in the interstellar medium, and I am involved in collaborative research with groups in the USA, Chile and Germany.
  • Turbulence and energy transfer in the interstellar medium: I am interested in using astronomical observations of the interstellar medium to constrain the turbulent properties, and to determine the effect that turbulence and energy transfer through the interstellar medium have on star formation.


Selected Publications

  • Lo, N, Cunningham, M, Jones, PA, Bains, I, Burton, MG, Wong, T, Muller, E, Kramer, C, Ossenkopf, V, Henkel, C, Deragopian, G, Donnelly, S & Ladd, EF, 2009, 'Molecular line mapping of the giant molecular cloud associated with RCW 106 - III. Multimolecular line mapping', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 395, no. 2, pp. 1021 - 1042. 
  • Cunningham, M, Jones, PA, Godfrey, P, Cragg, D, Bains, I, Burton, MG, Calisse, PG, Crighton, NH, Curran, SJ, Davis, TM, Dempsey, JT, Fulton, B, Hidas, MG, Hill, TL, Kedziora-Chudczer, LL, Minier, V, Pracy, MB, Purcell, CR, Shobbrook, J & Travouillon, TD, 2007, 'A search for propylene oxide and glycine in Sagittarius B2 (LMH) and Orion', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 376, pp. 1201 - 1210. 
  • Lo, N, Cunningham, M, Bains, I, Burton, MG & Garay, G, 2007, 'Detection of SiO emission from a massive dense cold core', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society -Letters, vol. 381, pp. L30 - L34. 
  • Jones, PA, Cunningham, M, Godfrey, P & Cragg, D, 2007, 'A search for biomolecules in Sagittarius B2 (LMH) with the Australia Telescope Compact Array', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 374, pp. 579 - 589, Jones, PA, Univ New S Wales, Sch Phys, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia., ResPubs ID: 200701094


Dr. Maria Cunningham's page at the University of New South Wales School of Physics:


Dr Maria Cunningham has research interests in radio astronomy, molecular line astronomy and bioastronomy.
She is currently working on several projects, including:
    1.    Detecting new complex organic molecules in space, hopefully finding some of the building blocks of life;
    2.    How the structure of the Milky Galaxy affect the formation of stars.
    3.    Investigating turbulence in gas in the Milky Way Galaxy