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LANL Distinguished Postdoc Fellows

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Listing of Distinguished Fellows

Meet LANL's Current Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows
Ludmil Alexandrov, J Robert Oppenheimer Postdoc Fellow

Ludmil Alexandrov

J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics (T-6) Group in the Theoretical Division

Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, University of Cambridge

Research: Ludmil Alexandrov's research interests lie in understanding the mechanisms behind the molecular processes involved in somatic mutagenesis and aging.

Bio: Ludmil is co-mentored by William Hlavacek and Thomas Leitner (T-6). Ludmil received his B.S. in Computer Science from Neumont University, MPhil in Computational Biology from the University of Cambridge, and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Cambridge. Ludmil has previously been a research student at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Harvard Medical School. In between his studies, he worked for two years as a business technology consultant for Deloitte Consulting specializing in information management in the public sector. During his Ph.D. studies, Ludmil developed the first comprehensive map of the signatures of the mutational processes that cause somatic mutations in human cancer. In 2014, for his work on cancer, Ludmil was recognized by Forbes as one of the "30 brightest stars under the age of 30 in the field of Science and Healthcare."

Gia-Wei Chern, J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoc Fellow

Gia-Wei Chern


J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Physics of Condensed Matter and Complex Systems (T-4) Group, and the Center for Nonlinear Studies (T-CNLS), in the Theoretical Division

Ph.D. in Condensed Matter Physics, John Hopkins University

Research: Gia-Wei Chern's main research interest is in condensed-matter physics and statistical physics with a focus on the novel many-body phenomena in magnetism and cold-atom systems.

Bio: Gia-Wei is mentored by Cristian Batista (T-4). He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at National Taiwan University. After briefly working in the optics/fiber industry, he decided to pursue a career in Physics and enrolled in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University.  Before joining LANL, Gia-Wei was an Institute for Complex Matter (ICAM) Postdoc Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was also a Kreiger School of Arts and Sciences Teaching Award finalist as well as a Donald E. Kerr and Barbara Stanley Fellow at John Hopkins. Gia-Wei received a Presidential Award at National Taiwan University.

Ivan Christov, Feynman Distinguished Postdoc Fellow

Ivan Christov

Feynman Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Physics of Condensed Matter and Complex Systems (T-4) Group and the Center for Nonlinear Studies (T-CNLS) in the Theoretical Division

Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics, Northwestern University

Research: Ivan Christov's research combines advanced mathematical techniques and experimental results with physical intuition about continuum modeling in order to make progress on fundamental far-from-equilibrium problems such as effecting mixing and dispersion, or mitigating segregation and separation of suspensions, granular matter and other heterogeneous media. Specifically, he seeks to address questions related to the deformation of granular solids such as the statistical mechanics of slip events in sheared granular systems, their relation to acoustic emissions, and the latter’s role as precursors to failure events such as earthquakes or other catastrophic seismic activity. His research also spans a range of topics in transport phenomena: from compressible fluid flow to solitons in dispersive wave equations to pressure-driven deformation of microfluidic devices to free boundary problems and instabilities of multiphase systems.

Bio: Ivan is co-mentored by Robert Ecke (T-CNLS) and Elli Ben-Naim (T-4). He received a B.S. in Mathematics from MIT, an M.S. in Mathematics from Texas A&M, and a second M.S. in Applied Mathematics from Northwestern. His Ph.D. dissertation involved the application of advanced techniques from the theory of nonlinear dynamical systems to the problems of mixing and segregation of granular materials. After Ivan received his Ph.D., he was awarded an NSF Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, and spent the next two years in Prof. Howard Stone’s research group in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University, where he worked problems related to viscous flow and particulate suspensions. Previously, he interned at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and the ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company. Ivan has been part of several international research collaborations, including a recent short-term visit to the University of Oxford.

Enkeleda Dervishi, Marie Curie Distinguished Postdoc Fellow

Enkeleda Dervishi

Marie Curie Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (MPA-CINT) in the Materials Physics and Applications Division

Ph.D. in Engineering Science and Systems, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Research: Enkeleda Dervishi's principal research project at LANL includes the synthesis of unique multi-functional composites (graphene/metal/ carbon nanotubes) for a number of applications ranging from energy storage to sensors and nano-electronics. This innovative research will provide an insight into the interaction between graphitic nano-materials. She will also work on collaborative research efforts to develop novel hetero-structures (thin film oxides and carbon nano-materials) and hybrid nano-composites.

Bio: Enkeleda is mentored by Stephen Doorn (MPA-CINT). She received her B.S. in Electronic and Computer Engineering Technology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). During her appointment as a postdoctoral fellow/research assistant professor at the UALR Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences, she focused on synthesis of various carbon nanostructures and their applications in photovoltaic devices and in the bio-nano area. Enkeleda has served as PI and Co-PI for several grant proposals funded by the FDA, NASA/SBIR, and NSF, to name a few. During her graduate studies, she received the outstanding Ph.D. graduate student award and the M.K. Testerman award for excellence in research. She is currently a reviewer and on the editorial board for a number of journals. Her main research interests are in catalysis and development of multi-functional materials for electronics and energy storage applications.

Pavel Dub, J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow

Pavel Dub


J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Inorganic, Isotope, and Actinide Chemistry Group (C-IIAC) in the Chemistry Division

Ph.D. in Organometallic and Coordination Chemistry (2010), Université de Toulouse.

Ph.D. in Physical and Organoelement Chemistry (2009), A.N. Nesmeyanov Institute of Organoelement Compounds, Russian Academy of Sciences.

Research: Pavel Dub’s research interests span organometallic and computational quantum chemistry, reaction mechanisms, molecular spectroscopy and molecular catalysis based on organometallic chemistry. Chiral catalysts are of pivotal importance in the production of many thousands of materials and products in the field of fine chemicals, chiral drugs, as well as optical materials. Catalysis can also aid in the reduction of water and air pollution, as well as to minimize the waste of natural resources and energy. Asymmetric hydrogenation provides the most powerful way to produce a wide range of enantio-enriched compounds for synthetic organic chemistry without forming any waste due to added reductants. Recent progress in science and technology, however, demands more powerful and sophisticated catalysts bearing tunable functions. Pavel’s current research focuses on the rational design of novel transition metal-based molecular catalysts, in particularly, for asymmetric hydrogenation of racemic carboxylic acid derivatives based on dynamic kinetic resolution.

Bio: Pavel is mentored by John Gordon (C‐IIAC). He received an M.S. in Organometallic Chemistry from the Higher Chemical College, Russian Academy of Sciences (2007, summa cum laude). At the age of 18, his early research career began at the A.N. Nesmeyanov Institute of Organoelement Compounds, Russian Academy of Sciences (INEOS RAS) and included three subsequent summer internships in the Laboratoire de Chimie de Coordination, UPR CNRS 8241 (LCC CNRS) in 2005, 2006, and 2007, respectively. Based on this research focused on proton transfer processes in transition metal hydride chemistry, Pavel was awarded a Ph.D. Degree from INEOS RAS in 2009 (Prof. DSc. Elena S. Shubina, advisor). Independently, he completed a second Ph.D. degree at the Université de Toulouse (MENESR Fellowship) working under Prof. Dr. Rinaldo Poli at the LCC CNRS (2007-2010). He then spent two and a half years (2010-2013) as a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow in Prof. Dr. Takao Ikariya's group at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where he discovered a novel family of ionic chiral bifunctional catalysts. He joined LANL as a Director's Postdoctoral Fellow in 2013 prior to receiving the Distinguished Postdoc Fellow appointment.

Arianna Gleason, Reines Distinguished Postdoc

Arianna Gleason

Reines Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Shock and Detonation Physics (WX-9) Group in the Weapons Experiments Division

Ph.D. in Mineral Physics, University of California, Berkeley

Research: Arianna Gleason’s research interests lie in understanding the mechanisms behind the phase transitions and material strength at extreme conditions.

Bio: Arianna is co-mentored by Cindy Bolme (WX-9) and Prof. Wendy Mao, Stanford University. Arianna received her B.S. in geophysics and planetary science from the University of Arizona, and Ph.D. in Mineral Physics and Earth Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. Arianna started conducting scientific research in 1998 on asteroid/comet detection and discovery with the group Spacewatch at the University of Arizona. During her Ph.D. studies, Arianna explored the elasticity and plasticity of Earth-relevant materials at extreme conditions using static compression techniques (i.e., diamond anvil cells) combined with synchrotron sources to help interpret Earth’s seismic information and provide insight into the evolution of the Earth’s interior. During her early postdoctoral work, in collaboration with LANL staff, she conducted experiments using the Linac Coherent Light Source at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory providing direct observation of material structure during phase transformation with femtosecond time resolution – allowing unprecedented measurements of transition kinetics, including grain nucleation and growth rates a extreme conditions. In 2014, she received the Early Career Award in Mineral and Rock Physics from the American Geophysical Union.

Shaojun Guo, J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoc Fellow

Shaojun Guo

J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (C-PCS) Group in the Chemistry Division

Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Research: Shaojun Guo's primary contribution to chemistry and materials research is in the use of diverse new chemical method­ologies for the fabrication of many advanced nanoelectro­catalysts for fuel cell applications including oxygen reduction reaction, formic oxidation reaction and methanol/ethanol oxidation reaction. His secondary research focus involves the fabrication of novel multi-component nano­­­­materials for sensing different important targets of interest based on electrochemical, colorimetric and fluorescent techniques. His efforts in nanomaterials research have also led to the development of many high-quality inorganic and polymer micro/nanomaterials, which exhibit interesting optical, electronic, magnetic and catalytic properties and potential applications in SERS, solar cells, super­capacitor, battery, photo­catalysis, magnetic resonance imaging and drug delivery, etc. Shaojun’s interests are in Analytical Chemistry, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Engineering Nanocrystals for Energy Conversion and Storage, Sensor, Catalytic and Biomedical Applications.

Bio: Shaojun is co-mentored by Victor Klimov and Jeff Pietryga (C-PCS). He received his B.S. degree from Jilin University. He went to Brown University as a postdoc with Prof. Shouheng Sun. His research interests focus on engineering nanocrystals for energy, catalytic, sensing and biomedical applications. At this time, Shaojun has published 120 papers and 4 book chapters related to Chemistry, Materials, Energy and Biology, and his papers have received more than 4800 citations (H-index: 37). He received an Excellent Doctoral Dissertation Award of CAS, National Academic Award for Excellent Doctoral Student (China) and Honor Delegate to the 60th Meeting of Nobel Laureates.

Zhongbo Kang, J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoc Fellow

Zhongbo Kang

T-2, P-25
J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology (T-2) Group in the Theoretical Division, and in Subatomic Physics (P-25) Group in the Physics Division

Ph.D. in Theoretical Nuclear Physics, Iowa State University

Research: Zhongbo Kang's research is at the forefront of Perturbative Quantum Chromodynamics, the underlying theory of strong interactions. He is particularly interested in studying the nucleon and nuclear structure at very high energies. To elucidate how the most fundamental building blocks of matter, quarks and gluons, give nucleons and nuclei their momentum and spin, one has to identify sensitive experimental observables and construct accurate theoretical tools to extract this information. Zhongbo's project aims to develop a new comprehensive state-of-the-art formalism suitable for high-precision data analysis over a very wide range of energies. This will, in turn, enable the extraction of the nucleon and nuclear structure, encoded in the quark and gluon distri­bu­­tion functions, through a global analysis of world’s experimental measurements of high-energy proton and nuclear reactions. His work will also strengthen the scientific case for a future Electron Ion Collider, a flagship U.S. nuclear physics facility.

Bio: Zhongbo is co-mentored by Ivan Vitev (T-2) and Patrick McGaughey (P-25). He received B.S. in Physics and M.S. in Theoretical Physics from Central China Normal University. He joined LANL as a Director's Postdoctoral Fellow after working as a research associate at the RIKEN BNL Research Center, Brookhaven National Laboratory and then was selected as a Distinguished Postdoc Fellow. His LANL research focuses on the theory of strong interactions. Zhongbo has published 55 papers, including six Physical Review Letters. He has given 67 talks at international conferences and workshops and seminars at leading research institutions, including 46 invited talks. He serves as a referee for all major journals in his field and was named a most valued referee for Nuclear Physics A in 2012 and 2013.

Michael McCumber, Reines Distinguished Postdoc Fellow

Michael McCumber


Reines Distinguished Postdoc Fellow in the Subatomic Physics (P-25) Group in the Physics Division

Ph.D. in Experimental Nuclear Physics, Stony Brook University

Research: Michael McCumber's primary research focus is on experimental signatures of energy loss and hydrodynamic flow in Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP), a new phase of matter created in collisions of nuclei at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). His recent work includes development of a future jet detector (sPHENIX) at RHIC to study the microscopic properties of the QGP, as well as a transverse spin asymmetries and nuclear structure. Michael serves as a Physics Working Group convener for the PHENIX experiment where he is responsible for directing the collaboration's results on high momentum and large mass particles. He has also been responsible for the high bandwidth data acquisition upgrades needed for the installation of silicon tracking.

Bio: Michael is co-mentored by Xiaodong Jiang and Patrick McGaughey of P-25. He received B.S. in Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics from the University of Arizona, and M.A. in Physics from Stony Brook University. His Ph.D. dissertation on particle correlations in heavy ion collisions was selected for the RHIC & AGS Best Experimental Thesis Award in recognition of outstanding research conducted at BNL. He joined LANL as a Director's Postdoctoral Fellow after working as a research associate at the University of Colorado. He is a regular referee for Physical Review on the topic of QGP physics.

Marisa Monreal, Reines Distinguished Postdoc Fellow

Marisa Monreal

Reines Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Sensors and Electrochemical Devices (MPA-11) Group in the Materials Physics and Applications Division

Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry, University of California Los Angeles

Research: Marisa Monreal's research focuses on the synthesis and chemistry of uranium and thorium fluorides. Due to the role of UF6 in uranium processing, uranium fluoride research is relevant to the nonprolifer­ation community. Included in her uranium fluoride work are uranyl fluoride complexes; this research helps to increase understanding of chemical modification of the uranyl ion, and could lead to essential improvements in processing and separation. With respect to Marisa’s thorium fluoride work, very few thorium fluoride compounds have ever been isolated, and as a consequence, little is known about the chemistry of thorium-fluoride bonds. She has developed new and general routes for synthesis thorium fluoride compounds, such as thorium tetrafluoride, which is a candidate fuel for liquid fluoride thorium nuclear reactors.

Bio: Marisa is mentored by Jaqueline Kiplinger (MPA-11). She joined LANL as a Director's Postdoctoral Fellow and then was selected as a Distinguished Postdoc Fellow. She earned her B.S. in Chemistry at UCLA, and her M.S. in Inorganic Chemistry at California State University, Los Angeles. As a graduate student, Marisa was a G.T. Seaborg Institute Summer Fellow on the research team of her current mentor, and her work contributed towards the team winning an R&D 100 award. She is currently working on uranium and thorium fluoride chemistry.

Tammie Nelson, Feynman Distinguished Postdoc Fellow

Tammie Nelson

T-1, WX-9

Feynman Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Physics and Chemistry of Materials (T-1) Group in Theoretical Division, and the Shock and Detonation Physics (WX-9) Group in Weapons Experiments Division

Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, University of Rochester

Research: Tammie Nelson’s current research combines advanced electronic excited-state modeling and mixed quantum/classical molecular dynamics using surface hopping techniques to simulate photoexcited dynamics in extended conjugated molecules. After a molecule absorbs light, a typical scenario includes relaxation of the initial excitation via complex phonon/vibronic mechanisms through multiple excited states, leading to spatial energy transfer, excitation localization/delocalization, and/or charge separation phenomena. Understanding and control over these processes lies in the heart of all our efforts to design functional photoactive materials. Tammie is currently working to develop and implement combined quantum mechanical and molecular mechanical (QM/MM) excited-state methods for treatment of solvent and thermal bath effects. Her work with WX-9 involves optical control of photoinduced processes and optical initiation of high energy materials and developing an understanding of how the relevant excited-state vibrational modes influence relaxation pathways.

Bio: Tammie is co-mentored by Sergei Tretiak (T-1) and Jason Scharff (WX-9). She earned her B.S. in Chemistry and B.S. in Biochemistry from California Polytechnic State University. Tammie received an S.P. Pavlou and D.E. Strayer endowed fellowship in Chemistry and earned her M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Washington before starting a Ph.D. program at University of Rochester. As a graduate student, she worked with Prof. Oleg Prezhdo investigating nonradiative relaxation phenomena in carbon nanomaterials. She first came to LANL as a GRA working with Sergei Tretiak (T-1) where she focused on developing new methods for nonadiabatic excited-state molecular dynamics simulations. She joined LANL as a Director's Postdoctoral Fellow in 2013 prior to receiving the Distinguished Postdoc Fellow appointment.

Zewei Quan, J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoc Fellow

Zewei Quan

EES-14, MPA-11

J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoc Fellow in the Computational Earth Sciences (EES-14) Group in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, and in the Sensors and Electrochemical Devices (MPA-11) Group in the Materials Physics and Applications Division

Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Research: Zewei Quan's primary research project explores the self-assembly behavior of colloidal lead chalcogenide (PbS, PbSe, PbTe) nanoparticles with various size, shapes, compositions and ligands and their high-pressure phase transformation. The use of in-situ synchrotron high-pressure small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) and wide angle x-ray scattering (WAXS) is essential for this project to understand the correlations between atoms and nanoparticles, which give us new insights to design novel solid-state materials. Another goal is to determine the mechanisms underlying the formation of high-pressure phases and assemblies as well as their relations to the resulting physical properties.

Bio: Zewei is co-mentored by Hongwu Xu (EES-14) and James Boncella (MPA-11). He received his B.Sc. degree (with honor) in chemistry from Wuhan University. His Ph.D. research was conducted with Prof. Jun Lin. Zewei came to the U.S. to become a postdoctoral fellow and later a research scientist at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he worked with Prof. Jiye Fang. His current research interests include solution-phase synthesis, self-assembly, and high-pressure behavior of semiconductor nanoparticles.

Hung-Ju Yen, J Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoc Fellow

Hung-Ju Yen


J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (C-PCS) Group in Chemistry Division

Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering, National Taiwan University

Research: Hung-Ju Yen's main research interest lies in the organic synthesis of electroactive, high refractive polymers and functional nanographenes with tailored optical and electronic properties. Triarylamine derivatives synthesized by Hung-Ju have led to the world’s best electrochromic devices in terms of electroactive reversibility and coloration efficiency. Multi-step organic synthesis gives rise to a series of nanographene derivatives with tunable solubility and catalytic activity. Hung-Ju will further demonstrate their application for electrochromic, light-emitting, gas separation, lithium-ion battery, and memory devices. Hung-Ju also uses a combined organic synthesis and simulation approach to provide design principle of molecules with optimized energetic to control the flexibility, turn on voltage, cycles, life-time, and stability for memory devices.

Bio: Hung-Ju is mentored by Hsing-Lin Wang (C-PCS). He received his B.S. and M.S. in Applied Chemistry at National Chi Nan University. He completed his Ph.D. degree with the 1st prize of Ph.D. graduates from National Taiwan University (NTU) under the guidance of Prof. Guey-Sheng Liou. He joined LANL after working as a postdoctoral researcher at NTU for a year. He has written/been involved in several grant proposals funded by National Science Council, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industrial Technology Research Institute, and Institute of Nuclear Energy Research. His current research interest is in the bottom-up organic synthesis of organosoluble and functional nanographenes for organic electronic and energy devices. He joined LANL as a Director's Postdoctoral Fellow in 2013 prior to receiving the Distinguished Postdoc Fellow appointment.

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Portable MRI aids wounded soldiers, children in remote areas

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Scientists are developing an ultra-low-field Magnetic Resonance Imaging system that could be low-power and lightweight enough for forward deployment on the battlefield and to field hospitals in the World's poorest regions.  

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