Mark Gieles is Head of the Astrophysics Group and was the first chair in astrophysics to arrive in the Department of Physics of the University of Surrey in 2013. He received his PhD degree at Utrecht University in the Netherlands in 2006 under the supervision of Prof. Henny Lamers and Prof. Simon Portegies Zwart. He then moved to the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile as a research fellow and support astronomer on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama desert. As part of this fellowship he spent 3 months as a visiting scientist at the School of Mathematics of the University of Edinburgh to work with Prof. Douglas Heggie. In 2009 he obtained a Royal Society University Research Fellowship (URF) which he took up at the Institute of Astronomy of the University of Cambridge. Mark moved the URF to Surrey in 2013 and successfully secured an additional 3 years of funding from the Royal Society in 2014.
In 2013 he won a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (ERC) which funds a team of people that uses globular clusters to understand the earliest phases of the formation and evolution of the Milky Way galaxy.