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Pauling Fellows Recipients

2013 Pauling Fellows

Hans Bernstein

Hans Bernstein received his Ph.D. and B.S. in chemical and biological engineering from Montana State University. His Ph.D. work was supported through the National Science Foundation's Integrative Graduate Educational and Research Traineeship (IGERT-fellowship) in geobiological systems. Hans' research focuses on both applied and fundamental chemical reaction kinetics and transport in biofilms and microbial communities.

In the National Security Directorate, Hans is working under the mentorship of Helen Kreuzer on a project titled; "Exploring and Engineering Phototrophic-Heterotrophic Partnerships," which aims to identify controllable, cooperative ecological phenomena employed by phototrophically driven microbial communities for conceptualizing and engineering multispecies biocatalytic platforms.

Ryan Comes received his Ph.D. in Engineering Physics from the University of Virginia in 2013. Prior to that, he received a B.S. in Physics and a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008. His doctoral research focused on the directed self-assembly of epitaxial complex oxide thin films and was supported by the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship.

At PNNL, his research will continue to focus on epitaxial oxide films grown via oxide molecular beam epitaxy under the mentorship of Dr. Scott Chambers in the Fundamental & Computational Sciences Directorate and the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory.

Patrick El Khoury

Patrick El Khoury received a B.S. in chemistry from the American University of Beirut in 2006, a Ph.D. in Photochemical Sciences from Bowling Green State University in 2010, and postdoctoral training at the University of California, Irvine.

In the Fundamental & Computational Sciences Directorate, Patrick combines surface-and-tip enhanced Raman spectroscopy with static and dynamic quantum chemical simulations to understand the behavior of a single molecule in its local environment. Under the mentorship of Wayne Hess, he plans to use the fundamental understanding gained from such studies to construct plasmonic devices with various functionalities.

2012 Pauling Fellows

Ryan Renslow

Ryan Renslow graduated from Washington State University with a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. His Ph.D. work was funded through the NIH Protein Biotechnology Fellowship. At PNNL, Ryan is working with Karl Mueller's group in the High Field Magnetic Resonance Facility in the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, and also with Jim Fredrickson of the Biological Sciences Division in the Fundamental & Computational Sciences Directorate.

The main focus of Ryan's research is the application of nuclear magnetic resonance techniques to study biofilms. Specifically he is trying to understand the electron transfer strategies of electrochemically-active biofilms. This entails coupling electrochemical and NMR techniques simultaneously, which is a capability that he is developing. NMR has the ability to change the way the biofilm processes is studied. The new tools being developed will allow researchers to interrogate biofilms at the microscale in a noninvasive manner. Understanding the biofilm mode of life is critical for making advances in human health and environmental microbiology.


Brian Miller

Brian Miller received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Optical Sciences in 2011. In 2008 he received the University of Arizona - Student Innovator of the Year Award for his work on the development of a high-resolution, CCD/CMOS-based gamma-ray detector for pre-clinical medical imaging applications.

Brian is working with Dr. Robert Runkle within the National Security Directorate's Radiation Detection and Nuclear Sciences Group. His research area focuses on the continued development of high-spatial-resolution ionizing radiation detectors. In particular, he is investigating GasElectron Multipliers (GEMs) and their potential for neutron detection and imaging applications.


Priyanka Bhattacharya received her Ph.D. in Physics from Clemson University and Master of Science in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, India. She is the recipient of the 2012 Clemson University Board of Trustees, and the College of Engineering and Science Outstanding Graduate Researcher awards. She was awarded the 2011 Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid-of-Research fellowship to conduct research with Professor Paul Dubin in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and received a Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies Graduate Fellowship at Clemson University to complete a part of her Ph.D. dissertation under the supervision of Professor Pu Chun Ke in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Priyanka is working with Dr. Jiguang (Jason) Zhang and Dr. Daniel Gaspar in the Applied Materials Sciences division within the Energy and Environment Directorate. Her research is focused on improving the performance of Li-air and Li-S batteries by developing a fundamental understanding of the electrochemistry of battery materials that affect battery realization at the commercial scale. To achieve this goal, Priyanka is developing new hybrid electrode materials consisting of both soft and condensed nanomaterials that can efficiently increase the capacity and improve the cycling capability of batteries beyond Li-ion. The ultimate goal of her research is to tackle the fundamental operational challenges which are hindering the growth and commercialization of energy storage devices for high energy density applications.


2011 Pauling Fellows

Andreas Vasdekis

Andreas Vasdekis received his Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews (UK), exploring the photophysics and applications of conjugated polymers (2008). Following a short spell at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), he became a junior scientist at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland) for three years before moving to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He also holds an adjunct Professor position in the Department of Physics at Washington State University.

His research interests generally lie at the interface of photonics, biophysics and materials. At PNNL, as a member of the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, he investigates processes and interactions associated with biofuel synthesis by developing and applying precision biological measurement techniques in microfluidics.

Hui Wan received her Ph.D. from the University of Hamburg in 2009. Her Ph.D. work was carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany on developing numerical methods for the next generation weather forecast and climate models. As a Ph.D. candidate, she also attended the International Max Planck Research School on Earth System Modeling. Hui has over half a dozen peer-reviewed papers and other publications accomplished. She was awarded the 2009 Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society and the 2009 Wladimir Peter Koppen Prize for Climate and Earth System Research from the University of Hamburg.

Hui is a member of the Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change Division within the Fundamental & Computational Sciences Directorate. Hui's research focuses on understanding process interactions in the atmosphere and decreasing the uncertainty associated with component coupling in global climate.


Linus Pauling Fellowship

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For questions about the Linus Pauling Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship, please send an e-mail to university.recruiter@pnl.gov. We will send a response to you within two business days.