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I am leading a project called The Close AGN Reference Survey (CARS), which aims to establish a unique spatially-resolved multi-wavelength data set for 40 local luminous AGN host galaxies. The data will provide the most detailed investigation of these systems to date and will surve as a reference to compare with AGN host galaxies as higher redshift. The data will become public as a legacy dataset for the community.

Almost every massive galaxy is assumed to host a super-massive black hole (SMBH) at its center. Considering  that our standard cosmological picture implies the hierarchical growth of galaxies through mergers, it is clear that also SMBH must eventually merge. These events are predicted to emit the most strongest gravitational waves that can be eventually detected with current or planned facitilies. It is therefore important to characterize the evolution of merging SMBHs  from large separation before coalesence on pc scales.

The origin of the tight correlations between the black hole masses and various properties of the galaxies in which they reside is still strongy debated. The existance of such tight correlations can be used as arguments for the self-regulated growth of galaxies and BH through AGN feedback or a simple co-evolution of both driven by the availability of gas. An alternative scenario is that sequences of galaxy mergers within the current cosmological framework will average the BH mass and host galaxy parameters from the initial distribution towards a mean relation just by statistics.