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Physcial Sciences Division
Staff Awards & Honors

April 2010

Mikhail Alnajjar Named to Editorial Board of Safety and Health Journal

Congratulations to Dr. Mikhail Alnajjar at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on being selected for the editorial board of the Journal of Chemical Health and Safety. This bi-monthly journal is designed to provide the latest news on safety and health in the laboratory.  As a member of the board, Alnajjar will review manuscripts and, with his background and skills, provide perspectives to the editorial board of the journal. Also, he will be involved in article submission to the journal on an annual basis during his initial 2-year assignment on the board.

Alnajjar was asked to join the board because of his expertise and his passionate efforts to ensure that the tragic laboratory incident that took the life of a person at the University of California, Los Angeles, does not occur at PNNL. Working with scientists and other safety experts, Alnajjar wrote guidelines for managing pyrophoric materials for PNNL, and shortly thereafter, submitted a paper to Elsevier's Journal of Chemical Health and Safety.  As the result, he was invited to give a presentation at the American Chemical Society's National meeting in March 2010.

"It was a lively discussion," said Alnajjar. "And, the editor happened to be at the meeting. Shortly thereafter, I was invited to join the board." Alnajjar will add this new role to his already full schedule, including his work as the Chemical Hygiene Officer and the Lead for the Chemical Management System at PNNL, while completing a master's degree in industrial hygiene.

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But, how did this physical organic chemist with 25 years experience in free radical chemistry, sonochemistry, corn hydrolysis and sterols extractions, and catalysis research become a passionate advocate for laboratory safety? Well, some would say he saw the light.

Alnajjar started his studies as an inorganic chemist, but soon after he changed his mind. When he got his master's and doctoral degrees in organic chemistry, his colleagues teased him that he'd seen the light by moving to the more important field of chemistry.

About 5 years ago, he became interested in worker safety and health. When he spoke to PNNL's management and safety staff, they advised him to take a few complementary classes. Now, he's on the verge of achieving a new milestone: completing his master's degree in industrial hygiene. And, once again, his colleagues tease him that he's finally seen the light.