Los Alamos National LaboratoryFUTURE: Fundamental Understanding of Transport Under Reactor Extremes
An Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences

FUTURE Scientists

FUTURE Scientists
FUTURE brings together leading researchers in the fields of radiation effects, corrosion science, and advanced characterization.

Scientists of FUTURE

Blas Pedro Uberuaga (LANL), Director

Blas Uberuaga Blas Uberuaga, a graduate of the University of Washington, examines radiation damage in complex oxides and nanostructured materials using computer simulations at the atomic scale, with a particular focus on understanding how defect evolution impacts radiation tolerance in such systems. He is also performing research into materials discovery for scintillators. He has published over 200 papers that have been cited more than 10,000 times. In addition to being the Director of FUTURE, he is simulating the kinetic properties of defects relevant to coupled irradiation and corrosion behavior in materials. In his spare time, he maintains an award-winning website on the culture of the Basque people in northern Spain and southern France and enjoys the occasional woodworking project, writing stories, and drawing.

Peter Hosemann (UCB), Deputy Director and Thrust 3 Lead

Peter Hosemann Peter Hosemann, a graduate from the Montanuniversität Leoben in Austria, investigates the fundamentals of mechanical and environmental degradation mechanisms of materials in radiation environments. He has published more than 140 papers cited 1400 times. In addition of being the Deputy Director of FUTURE, he is chair of the Nuclear Engineering Department at UC Berkeley. In his spare time he leads the UC Berkeley Blacksmithing effort, is engaged in the solar car racing team CALSOL and is in the leadership of the Austrian Scientists and Scholars in North America, Bay Area chapter.

Farida Selim (BGSU), Thrust 1 Lead

Farida Selim

Farida Selim is an expert on defects and solid state physics. She obtained her PhD in a joint program between Harvard and Alexandria University and published more than 100 peer review journal articles. She is known for inventing a new positron annihilation spectroscopy technique (Gamma Induced Positron Spectroscopy). In addition to her research on positron annihilation and defect studies, she has active research programs on wide band gap oxides to explore novel electronic phenomena as well as building new instrumentation for defect and luminescence studies. Her outreach activities span from providing research internships for high school students and undergraduates to serving on many international advisory committees.  

Daniel K. Schreiber (PNNL), Thrust 2 Lead

Daniel Schreiber

Daniel Schreiber joined PNNL in 2011 after completing his PhD in Materials Science from Northwestern University. His research applies high-resolution microscopy to study grain boundary chemistry in structural alloys and high temperature oxidation/corrosion phenomena. This work leverages site-specific, focused ion beam (FIB) – based specimen preparation methods and atom probe tomography (APT) to generate unique insights into the fundamental mechanisms controlling material degradation at the nanoscale. In his free time, Dan enjoys exploring wine country in the Pacific Northwest.

Mark Asta (UCB), Modeling Cross-cut Thrust co-Lead

Mark Asta Mark Asta, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, uses electronic-structure and atomic-scale-simulation methods to study the chemical, structural and dynamic properties of materials interfaces. He has published over 250 papers that have been cited more than 15,000 times. In addition to being the modeling co-thrust lead of FUTURE, he is involved in the development of high-throughput calculations and data science approaches in the context of computationally aided materials design. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling on the roads of rural Northern California.

Laurent Capolungo (LANL) Modeling Cross-cut Thrust co-Lead

Laurent Capolungo Laurent Capolungo, a graduate of the Georgia Institute of technology, studies microstructure evolutions in metals subjected to extreme environments (radiation, corrosion, temperature, stress). He has developed a series of simulation tools to predict materials response and their connection with their microstructures. He has published over 80 papers that have been cited more than 2,500 times. In addition to his role in FUTURE, he is leading efforts to use computer assisted material design for high temperature and high stress environments.

Dan Edwards (PNNL)

Dan Edwards Dan Edwards is currently a Team Leader for the Materials Characterization Team in the Reactor Materials and Mechanical Design Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He specializes in the characterization of materials using various electron microscopy techniques, and manages the microscopy facility for the RMMD Group. Though much of his career has focused on radiation effects in various metals and ceramics for advanced nuclear reactors and current generation light water reactors, he has also worked extensively in solid oxide fuel cells and various other materials systems. He currently works on ferritic alloys for Fusion Reactor structural applications and Zircaloy corrosion issues for the Electric Power Research Institute, and recently joined the FUTURE Team.

Edward Holby (LANL)

Ted Holby Edward (Ted) F. Holby, a graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studies electrochemical systems using multiscale and quantum chemical modeling approaches. His efforts have been predominantly in the fields of corrosion and electrocatalysis for energy applications such as hydrogen fuel cells. As part of FUTURE, he will be using computational methods to understand oxide passivation of alloy systems and the thermokinetics of point defects important for dissolution and oxidation corrosion processes under irradiation. In his spare time, Ted enjoys gardening, woodworking, cooking, roasting coffee, and exploring the mountain trails of the Southwest.

Djamel Kaoumi (NCSU)

Djamel Kaoumi Djamel Kaoumi is an associate professor of Nuclear Engineering at North Carolina State University specializing in radiation effects and degradation of structural alloys in nuclear reactor environments.  He obtained his PhD from Penn State and his MS from University of Florida, both in Nuclear Engineering doing research in Nuclear Materials. His undergraduate degree in Physics was obtained in France where he comes from. His research interests revolve around developing a mechanistic understanding of microstructure property relationships in nuclear materials, with an emphasis on microstructure evolution under harsh environment (i.e. irradiation, high temperature, and mechanical stress) and how it can impact the macroscopic properties and performance. As part of FUTURE, he will contribute his expertise in radiation damage characterization particularly using in-situ irradiation in a TEM, a technique of predilection for him. In his spare time, he enjoys looking for fine ingredients and trying world cuisine recipes at home.

Tiffany Kaspar (PNNL)


Tiffany Kaspar is a Senior Research Scientist at Pacific Northwest National Lab.  Her research interests encompass the epitaxial growth (via molecular beam epitaxy or pulsed laser deposition) of metallic and metal oxide films to develop structure-property relationships such as dopant interactions, magnetic and electronic properties, and point and structural defects.  For FUTURE, she applies her expertise to synthesize model films and multilayers that provide a well-defined platform to understand fundamental radiation and corrosion phenomena.  She also participates in many STEM outreach activities, including the annual city-side Celebration of Science festival (of which she is a co-founder) and STEM Ambassadors at PNNL.  In her free time, she enjoys camping and hiking in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

Aaron Kohnert (LANL)

Aaron Kohnert Aaron Kohnert is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. Aaron studies radiation damage effects in materials by applying mesoscale models of microstructural changes induced by extreme environment exposure. For the FUTURE project, he is developing a theoretical framework connecting point defect transport in irradiation environments to a linear elasticity approach to determine internal stress and strain states, allowing predictive models of mass transport near complex interfaces and boundaries under both thermal and irradiation conditions. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking.

Nan Li (LANL)

Nan Li Nan Li received his PhD degree from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University, College Station. Through utilizing in situ and ex situ mechanical straining, ion irradiation tests, he examines the interaction behavior of defects with various heterogeneous phase boundaries, and how such defect phenomena influence mechanical properties. He has over 90 peer-reviewed publications, two of which were awarded ScienceDirect TOP25 Hottest Articles in Materials Science. He has been awarded TMS Best Graduate Student Paper Award, ACTA Award and LANL Distinguished Postdoctoral Performance Award, LAAP Award and TMS Young Leader Professional Development Award.

Digby Macdonald (UCB)


Digby D. Macdonald is a native of New Zealand, a naturalized US citizen, and is a Professor in Residence (semi-retired) in the Departments of Nuclear Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley.  He specializes in the growth and point defect structures of thin oxide films on metal surfaces under extreme environmental conditions and developed the Point Defect Model for describing the physico-electrochemistry of such systems.  He has also developed the modern theory of stress corrosion cracking, corrosion fatigue, and pitting corrosion in terms of the Coupled Environment Models.  One of his major activities has been the modeling of the electrochemical and corrosion properties of structural materials in the coolant circuits of operating, water-cooled nuclear power reactors and recently modeled for DOE the coolant circuit of the ITER that is currently being built in Cadarache, France.  ITER is the World’s first fusion technology demonstration reactor.  He has also contributed to developing the science base for the disposal of High-Level Nuclear Waste in the US (Yucca Mountain), Belgium, and Sweden.  Prof. Macdonald has published more than 1,000 papers in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Society of New Zealand (the “National Academies” of those countries, and is a Member of the EU Academy of Sciences.  He enjoys a H-index of 77 and his papers have been cited 25,504 times.

Andrew Minor (UCB)

Andrew Minor

Andrew Minor is a Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and also holds a joint appointment at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where he is the Facility Director of the National Center for Electron Microscopy in the Molecular Foundry. He received a BA in Economics and Mechanical Engineering from Yale University and his MS and PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from U.C. Berkeley. He has co-authored over 175 publications and presented over 130 invited talks on topics such as nanomechanics, lightweight alloy development, characterization of soft materials and in situ TEM technique development. His honors include the LBL Materials Science Division Outstanding Performance Award (2006 & 2010), the AIME Robert Lansing Hardy Award from TMS (2012) and the Burton Medal from the Microscopy Society of America (2015).

Raluca Scarlat (UCB)

scarlat-portrait.png Raluca Scarlat is an assistant professor at UC Berkeley, in the Department of Nuclear Engineering. Professor Scarlat has a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from UC Berkeley and a BS in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Cornell University. Raluca’s research focuses on chemistry, electrochemistry and physical chemistry of high-temperature inorganic fluids and their application to energy systems. She has experience in design and  safety analysis of fluoride-salt-cooled high-temperature reactors (FHRs) and Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs), and high-temperature gas cooled reactors (HTGRs). Her research includes safety analysis, licensing and design of nuclear reactors and engineering ethics.

John Scully (UV)

John Scully John R. Scully is the Charles Henderson Endowed Chaired Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department Head of Materials Science and Engineering at UVA. His research focuses on investigating the metallurgical, interfacial, and surface film properties as well as environmental factors which combine to govern and regulate corrosion phenomena. He has published over 250 papers in this area which have been cited over 11,000 times. In his spare time, he is editor of CORROSION, The Journal of Science and Engineering.

Steven Spurgeon (PNNL)

Steven Spurgeon Portrait Dr. Steven R. Spurgeon, is a research scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He studies property-defining defects in nanomaterials for next-generation electronics, quantum computing, and energy technologies, with a particular focus on advanced electron microscopy techniques. Steven joined the laboratory in 2015, after graduating with his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Drexel University and his BS in Materials Science and Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. For FUTURE he uses scanning transmission electron microscopy to examine the evolution of material interfaces in extreme conditions, integrating atomic-scale imaging and spectroscopy with theory calculations. Steven is a passionate scientific communicator and an active member of several professional societies, including the Microscopy Society of America and the Materials Research Society. Outside the lab he enjoys hiking with his family and photography.

Sandra Taylor (PNNL)

Sandra Taylor Sandra Taylor, a graduate of the University of Michigan, is an experimentalist studying the reactivity of solids at their interfaces with aqueous solutions to understand molecular-level processes controlling crystal growth, dissolution, and ion sorption onto surfaces. As part of the FUTURE project, she is characterizing and quantifying corrosion- and irradiation-induced chemical changes in materials using 3D atom probe tomography to describe the relevant fundamental mass transport phenomena. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and traveling.

Yongqiang Wang (LANL)

Yongqiang Wang's Headshot

Yongqiang Wang is Director of the Ion Beam Materials Laboratory (IBML) at LANL. He has 30 years research experience in the field of ion beam analysis, ion beam modification, and ion irradiation damage of materials.   He has co-authored more than 280 peer reviewed publications including three book chapters and two US patents.  He is a co-editor for the Handbook of Modern Ion Beam Materials Analysis (MRS Publisher 2009) and a co-author of a textbook on Ion Beam Analysis: Fundamentals and Applications (CRC Press, 2015).