Seven people from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)—Ram Devanathan, Deborah Gracio, Mary Lipton, Kristin Omberg, Kevin Rosso, Wendy Shaw, and Katrina Waters—have been named American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellows for 2022.
AAAS Fellows are a distinguished cadre of scientists, engineers, and innovators who have been recognized for their achievements across disciplines, from research, teaching, and technology, to administration in academia, industry and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public. Election as a Fellow honors members for their efforts in advancement of science or its applications in service to society which have distinguished them among their peers and colleagues.
Devanathan, a computational materials scientist, is director of the Energy Processes and Materials Division in the Energy and Environment Directorate. He examines materials at the atomic level to find out how to make them last and to predict when they might fail. While Devanathan has advanced molecular and computer modeling to learn about materials in extreme environments, he is also aware that there is a trove of information out there already. He recently started using the power of data science to collect and curate data that he can then use to apply machine learning to materials development. He is a recipient of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Outstanding Mentor Award and a 2022 Fellow of the Oppenheimer Science and Energy Leadership Program.
Gracio, associate laboratory director of PNNL’s National Security Directorate, oversees PNNL’s national security programs and partnerships portfolio and is responsible for over 1,600 staff members and a $830 million research budget. Under her leadership, PNNL delivers scientific insights, tools, and methods to deploy impactful science and technology to sponsors in the DOE, National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, the Department of State, the intelligence community, and other agencies. Gracio initiated and led major research programs that advanced the theoretical understanding of data-intensive computing long before “big data” was a term of art. She and her team developed transformational systems and algorithms that remain at the core of data science tools used throughout the research community. Her data science and advanced computational research have contributed to advances in biology, chemistry, climate science, cybersecurity, and national security.
Lipton, a chemist, is nationally recognized for her research in microbial proteomics, specifically for developing and applying new mass spectrometry-based technologies for the characterization of plants, environmental microbes and microbial communities. Her work contributes to understanding microbial function in the world of synthetic biology for bioenergy and bioproduct synthesis, global carbon cycling and microbial ecology. Lipton works in the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), a DOE Office of Science user facility. She holds a joint appointment with the Washington State University Institute of Biological Chemistry.
Omberg, leader of the Chemical and Biological Signatures Group, conducts technical work focusing on developing science and technology solutions that can be deployed in operational environments or used to inform policy decisions. She is being recognized as a fellow for advising the federal government, public health decision makers, and state and local stakeholders on national security issues related to biopreparedness, biothreat detection, and characterization, and public health, over more than two decades. Before joining PNNL in 2015, she worked more than 15 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she was a program manager and principal investigator for numerous projects with the departments of Homeland Security and Defense.
Rosso, a geochemist, is best known for his pioneering research on electron transfer reactions between aqueous ions, mineral surfaces, and bacterial enzymes. He has explored the chemical forces that break minerals down from rocks to soils. Understanding these reactions at the most fundamental level, such as how electrons moving through minerals remodel surfaces, is key to maintaining good water quality, remediating contaminated soils, and maybe even living on another planet like Mars. Rosso, a Laboratory Fellow and Associate Director of the Physical Sciences Division for Geochemistry, is one of the founders of the field of molecular geochemistry, a field that capitalized on the emergence of new tools such as scanning probe microscopy and massively parallel supercomputers.
Shaw is chief science and technology officer of the Physical and Computational Sciences Directorate. Her research focuses on learning from and mimicking nature at the intersection of chemistry, biology and materials. Her research projects are focused in two broad areas. These include developing a fundamental understanding of the role of proteins in biomineralization processes, and designing catalysts for renewable energy that mimic features of enzymes found in nature. Shaw has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers. In 2010, she received a DOE Early Career Research Program grant. In 2021, she was an Oppenheimer Science and Energy Leadership Program Fellow.
Waters, a Laboratory Fellow and and chief scientist in PNNL's Earth and Biological Sciences Directorate, conducts research focused on the intersection of environmental exposures and infectious disease on human health. She has built a national and international reputation through her leadership and innovation in bioinformatics, data integration, and interpretation of transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics data as well as high-throughput screening data. She was nominated to AAAS for demonstrated international leadership and innovation in systems biology and bioinformatics to impact global human health challenges at the intersection of environmental exposures and infectious disease. Her programs include the study of health effects of chemicals at Superfund sites and personal environmental exposure assessment for epidemiological studies in disadvantaged communities. She also led a DOE-funded project focused on airborne and environmental transmission of COVID-19. Waters holds joint faculty appointments with Oregon State University and the University of Washington.