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Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Los Alamos Distinguished Postdoc Fellows

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Meet the Lab'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)


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

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."

Lukasz Cincio

J. Robert Oppenheimer Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow
Theoretical Division, Physics of Condensed matter Complex Systems (T-4); Materials Physics Applications Division, Condensed Matter Magnet Science (MPA-CMMS)


Education: Ph.D. and MSc in Physics/Astronomy & Applied Computer Science – Jagiellonian University; MSc in Mathematics – Jagiellonian University.

Research: Lukasz Cincio's research interests lie at​​ the interface between Condensed Matter Physics and Quantum Information Theory.​ Lukasz is studying how local interactions between many particles can give rise to large scale, emergent phenomena. In particular, he is interested in topological order, one of the most striking examples of such phenomena in quantum physics. Topological order supports anyons - exotic particles that may become a core ingredient of a revolutionary topological quantum computer. To tackle problems in​ that field, Lukasz is developing numerical algorithms based on tensor networks - a recent breakthrough in computational quantum many-body physics.

Bio: Lukasz is co-mentored by Wojciech Zurek (T-4) and Filip Ronning (MPA-CMMS). Lukasz completed his education at the Jagiellonian University in Poland receiving a Ph.D. with distinction in Theoretical Physics and supplemented it with an MSc in Pure Mathematics. At that time he was working on strongly correlated systems under the supervision of prof. Jacek Dziarmaga. During his studies he also cooperated with prof. Wojciech Zurek (LANL) and prof. Maciej Lewenstein (ICFO). Later he joined Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada as a postdoc and worked on numerical algorithms for quantum many-body physics in collaboration with prof. Guifre Vidal. His work included proposing and testing realistic models for an exotic quantum state of matter, called chiral spin liquid. Results of his research have been published in renowned journals.

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 Lab 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 the Lab 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 the Lab 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 the Lab 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 the Lab 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.

Duff Neill

Feynman Distinguished Postdoc Fellow
Theoretical Division: Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology (T-2)

duff neill picture by pond

Education: Ph.D. in Physics - Carnegie Mellon University; B.A. in Physics - University of Chicago.

Research: Duff's research focuses on understanding the behavior of quantum chromodynamics (QCD) in high energy collisions, such as found at the Large Hadron Collider or the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. He develops methods to resum the perturbation series that describes the scattering processes at the shortest distances in these collisions, enabling precise predictions for experiments, as well as developing ways to describe how non-perturbative contributions can be captured by universal functions measurable in many different experiments. Moreover, he is always on the lookout for interesting effective field theories in diverse physics contexts.

Bio: Duff’s received his Ph.D. under Ira Rothstein at Carnegie Mellon University in 2012. From there he joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Physics Department as a Pappalardo Fellow, a self-directed research fellowship. In 2016, he joined the Lab as a Director's Postdoctoral Fellow, before becoming a Distinguished Feynman Postdoctoral Fellow.

 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 the Lab as a Director's Postdoctoral Fellow in 2013 prior to receiving the Distinguished Postdoc Fellow appointment.

Samantha Schrell

Marie Curie Distinguished Postdoc Fellow
Chemistry Division: Inorganic, Isotope, and Actinide Chemistry (C-IIAC)

Samantha Schrell

Education: Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry-Florida State University; B.S. in Chemistry-Ithaca College.

Research: Samantha is currently working in area of actinide chemistry. Specifically she is interested in exploring how to control covalency in actinide-ligand bonding. Covalency is a fundamental concept in chemistry used to describe chemical bonding in s-, p-, d-, and f-block elements. Many studies indicate that covalency is closely correlated with the chemical and physical properties for with many d-block transition metal complexes. Whether the f-block elements engage in covalent bonding has been heavily debated for decades. Unraveling the nature of covalent bonding for actinides remains a computational and experimental challenge. These efforts can directly impact actinide separations, coordination chemistry, solid-state synthesis, and superconductivity.

Bio: Samantha Schrell (formally Samantha Cary) received her Ph.D. under the guidance of Professor Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt. Her thesis focused on studying the structure and bonding of late actinide systems. During this time Schrell developed proficiency in handling large (mg scale) quantities of Np, Pu, Am, Cm, Bk, and Cf in support of the coordination chemistry studies associated with her thesis. In 2015 she received the Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy for her work with californium. In 2016, she joined the lab as an Agnew National Security Postdoctoral Fellow, before becoming a Marie Curie Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow.

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 the Lab as a Director's Postdoctoral Fellow in 2013 prior to receiving the Distinguished Postdoc Fellow appointment.

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