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Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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LANL Distinguished Postdoc Fellows

Point your career towards LANL: work with the best minds in an inclusive environment rich in intellectual vitality and opportunities for growth.

Meet LANL's Current Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows

LANL Distinguished Fellows (pdf)

Andrea Albert

Marie Curie Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow
Physics Division: Neutron Science and Technology Group (P-23)

Andrea

Education: Ph.D. in Physics - Ohio State University; M.S. in Physics - Ohio State University;
B.S. in Astrophysics and Religious Studies - Rice University.
 
Research: Andrea is interested in studying the fundamental forces and particles that govern the physical laws of the Universe. In the growing field of particle astrophysics, the entire Universe is our laboratory to study particle interactions in extreme cosmic environments unobtainable in terrestrial labs. Andrea is specifically interested in detecting high-energy gamma rays produced in known non-thermal processes and new exotic mechanisms like particle dark matter interactions. We know ~85% of the mass in the Universe is not the baryonic matter that is well-described by the Standard Model of particle physics. Many theoretically- and observationally-motivated models predict that dark matter may be a particle that can annihilate or decay, producing gamma rays that we can detect.
 
Bio: Andrea's research interests have always included particle detectors and astrophysics. She did her Ph.D. studies with Dr. Brian Winer and Dr. Richard Hughes looking for faint gamma-ray signals from particle dark matter interactions using the Large Area Telescope (LAT) on board the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (Fermi). She continued this work as a postdoc at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory where she was promoted to Dark Matter & New Physics (DMNP) working group coordinator within the Fermi-LAT Collaboration. Andrea has led collaborative efforts emphasizing close, careful, and critical examination of potential dark matter signals. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", and so far no robust dark matter signals have been seen by the Fermi LAT. Andrea will be working with her mentor Dr. Brenda Dingus on the newly completed HAWC Observatory, which observes gamma rays >100 times more energetic than those seen by Fermi. She will continue as a coordinator within the Fermi-LAT Collaboration while also studying a new high-energy regime with HAWC. Andrea is passionate about science outreach and has shared her excitement for physics with many audiences from elementary school classrooms to public lectures to congressional offices. You can learn more about her outreach efforts at www.physics-andrea.com
 


Ludmil Alexandrov

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

Ludmil Alexandrov, J Robert Oppenheimer Postdoc Fellow

Education: Ph.D. in Molecular Biology - University of Cambridge; MPhil in Computational Biology - University of Cambridge;
B.S. in Computer Science - Neumont University.

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 has previously been a research student at 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."


Pavel Dub

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

Pavel Dub, J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow Education: Ph.D. in Organometallic and Computational Chemistry, Université de Toulouse;
Ph.D. in Physical and Organoelement and Physical Chemistry Institute of Organoelement Compounds, Russian Academy of Sciences (INEOS RAS);
M.S. in Organometallic Chemistry, Higher Chemical College, 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).. 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. His PhD Advisor at INEOS RAS was Prof. DSc. Elena S. Shubina. His PhD Advisor at the Université de Toulouse (MENESR Fellowship) was Prof. Dr. Rinaldo Poli. 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 Postdoctoral Fellow
Weapons Experiments Division, Shock and Detonation Physics (M-9) Group

Arianna Gleason, Reines Distinguished Postdoc Education: Ph.D. in Mineral Physics and Earth Sciences - University of California, Berkeley;
B.S. in Geophysics and Planetary Science - University of Arizona.

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 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.


Ari Le

Feynman Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow
X Computational Physics Division, Plasma Theory and Applications (XCP-6)

Ari Le, Feynman Postdoctoral Fellow

Education: Ph.D. in Physics - Massachusetts Institute of Technology; BA in Physics, French, and Math - Brown University.

Research: Ari’s main research focus involves plasma kinetic effects, processes that occur on small scales outside the scope of typical fluid models. His computational work has applications to space plasmas and laboratory experiments, including those on inertial confinement fusion.

Bio: Ari is co-mentored by Bill Daughton, Andrei Simakov, and Tom Kwan. His doctoral research, performed under the direction of Prof. Jan Egedal, focused on magnetic reconnection, which heats and accelerates plasmas in a variety of space and astrophysical systems. He spent two years as a postdoc in the space plasma simulation group at UCSD, as well as half a year as a NASA-funded research scientist at the Space Science Institute. He joined LANL in 2015 as a Director's Postdoc Fellow prior to receiving the Distinguished Postdoc Fellow appointment. His current research interests include kinetic simulations, magnetic reconnection, inertial fusion, and plasma shocks and turbulence.​


Xujie Lu

J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow
Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, Earth System Observations, EES-14; Materials Physics and Applications Division, Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (MPA-CINT)

Xujie Lu, J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoc Fellow Education: Ph.D. in Materials Physics and Chemistry - Shanghai Institute of Ceramics Chinese Academy of Sciences;
B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering - Zhejiang University.

Research: Xujie Lü’s research project at LANL lies in the development of highly conducting oxides with extraordinary electronic properties by combining high-pressure techniques and thin-film deposition methods, for environmental and energy-related applications. Xujie has diverse experience and expertise in several interdisciplinary fields including energy materials/devices, high pressure/temperature techniques, synchrotron characterization and film deposition.

Bio: Xujie is co-mentored by Hongwu Xu (EES-14) and Quanxi Jia (MPA-CINT). He received the Excellent PhD Thesis Award, the prestigious President Award of CAS, and DOW Chemical Scholarship, to name a few. In recent years, Xujie has applied high-pressure techniques to optimizing advanced energy materials and furthering the understanding on the structure-property relationships. He has served as a PI or been involved in several grant proposals funded by NNSFC and DOE. He is currently a reviewer and on the editorial board for a number of journals. He joined LANL as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in 2015, prior to receiving the Distinguished Postdoc Fellow appointment.


Michael McCumber

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

Michael McCumber, Reines Distinguished Postdoc Fellow

Education: Ph.D. in Experimental Nuclear Physics, Stony Brook University; M.A. in Physics - Stony Brook University;
B.S. in Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics - University of Arizona.

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. His Ph.D. dissertation was 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.


Tammie Nelson

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

Tammie Nelson, Feynman Distinguished Postdoc Fellow

Education: Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry - University of Rochester;
M.S. in Chemistry - University of Washington;
B.S. in Chemistry and Biochemistry - California Polytechnic State University.

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). Tammie received an S.P. Pavlou and D.E. Strayer endowed fellowship in Chemistry. 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.


Hung-Ju Yen

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

Hung-Ju Yen, J Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoc Fellow

Education: Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering, National Taiwan University; B.S. and M.S. in Applied Chemistry - National Chi Nan 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. He completed his Ph.D. degree with the 1st prize of Ph.D. 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.


Alex Zylstra

Reines Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow
Plasma Physics (P-24) Group, Physics Division

Alex Zylstra, Reines Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow

Education: Ph.D. in Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; B.A. in Physics - Pomona College.

Research: Alex Zylstra’s research is in the field of high-energy density physics. He works on experiments using laser facilities, such as the National Ignition Facility at LLNL and the OMEGA laser at LLE, to create plasmas at the extreme conditions relevant to inertially-confined laboratory fusion and stellar interiors. Bio: Alex is co-mentored by Hans Herrmann and Ray Leeper. As his thesis research, he characterized fusion implosions on the National Ignition Facility using proton spectroscopy, measured several fusion reactions relevant to nuclear astrophysics using plasmas, and studied charged-particle stopping in dense plasmas. As a graduate student he was a NNSA Stewardship Science Graduate Fellow and a NSF fellow. His current research interests include alternative low-convergence fusion implosions, collisional energy transport rates in fusion plasmas, and few-nucleon fusion reactions relevant to nuclear astrophysics.

Bio: Bio: Alex is co-mentored by Hans Herrmann and Ray Leeper. As his thesis research, he characterized fusion implosions on the National Ignition Facility using proton spectroscopy, measured several fusion reactions relevant to nuclear astrophysics using plasmas, and studied charged-particle stopping in dense plasmas. As a graduate student he was a NNSA Stewardship Science Graduate Fellow and a NSF fellow. His current research interests include alternative low-convergence fusion implosions, collisional energy transport rates in fusion plasmas, and few-nucleon fusion reactions relevant to nuclear astrophysics.



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