Pauling Fellows Recipients
2014 Pauling Fellows
Luis Estevez received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maine at Orono in 2007, graduating magna cum laude. A summer internship working under Dr. Anthony Puckett at the Los Alamos Dynamics Summer Session (2006), inspired Luis to realize his full potential by pursuing a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University. At Cornell, Luis worked under the mentorship of Dr. Emmanuel Giannelis on projects spanning polymer based nanocomposite actuators, macroporous PEM fuel cell electrodes and eventually high surface area porous carbon materials for energy storage devices such as Li-S battery and supercapacitor applications. Luis is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Mu Epsilon and Pi Tau Sigma Honor Societies and is a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. While at Cornell, he was awarded a Sloan Fellowship, a GK-12 fellowship and the 2011 Zellman Warhaft Commitment to Diversity Graduate Student Award.
At PNNL, Luis has joined the Energy Processes and Materials Division in the Energy and Environment Directorate and is working with Dr. Jiguang (Jason) Zhang. Luis intends to continue his focus on advancing energy storage research by synthesizing novel hierarchical porous materials to be used as electrodes in battery and supercapacitor devices; particularly with applications towards electric vehicles.
Jeff Katalenich recently earned a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering and radiological sciences from the University of Michigan while researching the production of cerium oxide, sol-gel microspheres as a dust-free nuclear fuel fabrication technique. His Ph.D. research was supported by a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the Center for Space Nuclear Research, and the University of Michigan's Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences. Earlier, Jeff received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University where he managed a student satellite project for two years.
Jeff is expanding on his sol-gel microsphere doctoral research under the direction of Andrew Prichard within the Nuclear Engineering & Analysis Group and Signatures Science & Technology Division in the National Security Directorate. His project, titled "Solving the Plutonium-238 Problem," aims to demonstrate the fabrication of dust-free plutonium microspheres suitable for producing heat and electricity sources for space exploration applications.
2013 Pauling Fellows
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 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 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 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.