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Catriona McDonald

I'm Catriona McDonald (she/her), a PhD student in the Astronomy and Astrophysics group at the University of Warwick. My supervisor is Dimitri Veras and I work on computational and theoretical post-main-sequence planetary system science.


My current research looks at the fate of exo-asteroids on extremely eccentric orbits around white dwarf stars.

Other research interests
  • Dynamics of planetary systems
  • Habitability


White dwarf planetary debris dependence on physical structure distributions within asteroid belts C. H. McDonald & D. Veras, 2021, MNRAS, 506, 3, 4031-4047

Constraining the origin of the planetary debris surrounding ZTF J0139+5245 through rotational fission of a triaxial asteroid D. Veras, C. H. McDonald, V. Makarov, 2020, MNRAS, 492, 4, 5291-5296

Linking the formation and fate of exo-Kuiper belts within Solar System analogues D. Veras, K. Reichert, F. Flammini Dotti, M. X. Cai, A. J. Mustill, A. Shannon, C. H. McDonald, S. Portegies Zwart, M. B. N. Kouwenhoven, R. Spurzem, 2020, MNRAS, 493, 4, 5062-5078

Constraining planet formation around 6-8 M⊙ stars D. Veras, P-E. Tremblay, J.J. Hermes, C. H. McDonald, G. M. Kennedy, F. Meru, B. T. Gänsicke, 2020, MNRAS, 493, 1, 765-775

Teaching and Outreach

For two years I acted as a demonstrator in the first year undergraduate physics laboratory classes and assisted with developing a second year computational based laboratory session using the N-body integrator Rebound.

I have been involved with outreach activities since my undergraduate studies and enjoy interacting with members of the public of all ages. I participate as a volunteer for the university's inflatable planetarium, have spoken about my research to astronomy societies and to the media. I co-led the organisation of outreach activities held during the National Astronomy Meeting 2022 at Warwick which reached over 1000 people.

Picture of Catriona McDonald smiling with some woodland behind her.

Write to:

Catriona McDonald,
Department of Physics,
University of Warwick,
Coventry CV4 7AL

Contact details:

E-Mail: Catriona.McDonald (at)