ALS UEC Elections 2021

Here are the candidates for the new members of the Advanced Light Source Users’ Executive Committee for the 2022–2024 term. We shall elect 5 new members to serve a three-year term (2022-2024) .
(note: the order of the candidates has been shuffled with a random number generator.)

To place your vote, please follow this link:

1. Sharon Bone

I am a beamline scientist at the micro-imaging beamlines at SSRL. My main research interest is in environmental science. I apply a suite of X-ray spectroscopy and chemical imaging techniques to understand the biogeochemical processes controlling contaminant and nutrient fate in the environment. Recently, I have also begun work on engineered environmental systems, specifically water treatment technologies. My work relies heavily on synchrotron science, and DOE user facilities, generally, to bring together the multiple methods necessary to untangle mechanisms in complex, heterogeneous environmental systems. Because these facilities have been so essential to my own work, I am committed to ensuring that synchrotrons are broadly accessible to the scientific community.

My very first synchrotron experiment was at beamline 10.3.2 while I was an undergraduate researcher in 2006. I’ve been working at synchrotrons ever since and have been a user at ALS (on 5.3.2), CLS, SSRL, and APS. As a long-time user and a current beamline scientist, I feel that I can offer a useful perspective on the UEC. Beamline scientists play a critical role in ensuring that users get high quality data to support their experimental goals out of every beamtime. My goal as a beamline scientist is to ensure users get the data that best suits their experimental needs. My goal on the UEC would be to make sure that beamlines and beamtimes at ALS as accessible and successful as possible for the user community.

2. Wendy Gu

I am an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. My group is a regular user of beamline 12.2.2 for high pressure X-ray diffraction experiments. We also do high pressure measurements at the Advanced Photon Source, and transmission X-ray microscopy imaging of metals under deformation at SLAC. We study how materials respond to extreme stresses, complex loading conditions and destructive environments related to sustainability.

My interest in joining the UEC is to increase visibility of scientific accomplishments at the ALS, and help navigate DOE goals and the needs of the user base for ALS-U. I will also support building community through the ALS User Meeting, with a focus on networking for students and postdocs.

I represent the structural materials, nanoscience and mechanics communities.

3. Quentin Williams

I’ve been a user of the ALS since sometime in the 2000’s (and a user of other synchrotron facilities starting, well, in the ‘90’s). I’m a Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Santa Cruz, and my research involves the properties of materials at extreme conditions of pressure and temperature—and particularly those materials that make up the Earth and other solar system bodies. So, I worry a lot about the structural properties and phase transitions of minerals, metals, melts and fluids at the high P/T conditions of the guts of planets.  I’m a long-term user of 12.2.2 (my group has also used 11.3.1, and I have my eye on 12.3.2 moving forward), and have headed an Approved Program at 12.2.2 on behalf of the NSF-funded Consortium for Materials Properties Research in the Earth Sciences (COMPRES) for the last decade. This has put two additional staff (and some infrastructure) on the floor at 12.2.2 throughout this period.

The main reason that I’m interested on serving on the UEC now is that I view the upcoming few years as the most pivotal in the history of the ALS since its establishment. There’s the markedly enhanced user burden (and associated opportunities) at the ALS that will accompany the incipient APS-U upgrade and closure. This will be immediately followed by the ALS-U closure/project. My goal is to ensure that, as beam intensity and characteristics are enhanced via ALS-U, the user experience is also comparably improved. This is an area (spanning staffing and budgeting) of which the ALS administration is very conscious; I would like to ensure that the UEC helps engage in the advocacy needed to make ALS-U not only technically better, but also to make sure that user support at the ALS-U is enhanced as well. I bring to bear a bit of past experience for these tasks: in my travels, I’ve served as a Chair, a Dean, an Associate Vice Chancellor, and a program manager. In short, the user community absolutely needs to effectively partner with the ALS administration in advocacy for the ALS-U enterprise, and helping with that advocacy, and ensuring that ALS-U represents an upgrade for user support, is why I am interested in serving on the UEC. Since you’ve now made it to the end, Thanks for reading!!!

4. Luca Moreschini

My experience at the ALS started during my postdoc contract when I worked at the ESF beamline, which then grew up to become MAESTRO in its adult age. During my PhD I had occasionally measured at other synchrotrons, and mainly the ESRF in Grenoble and the now-dismissed SRC in Madison, Wisconsin, but it’s at the ALS that I really got to experience the “synchrotron life”. I worked on angle resolved photoemission on correlated oxides, but instead of getting samples from professional growers we decided to make things a bit more complicated and to grow them ourselves with a pulsed laser deposition setup, which is still now visible on your right when you enter the ALS floor from the lobby. In the last three years I was at Cornell where I built a new laboratory for ARPES on films grown in situ by molecular beam epitaxy.

I would like the UEC to have an approach as customized as possible to the different groups and beamlines. I learned during all these years that the various beamlines or even endstations within a single beamline have very different requirements and needs in terms of user support, ideal duration of a beamtime for successfully completing an experiment, or proposal selection. These issues will become even more relevant with the upcoming ALS-U and, at least in the short term, with the challenges we are facing due to the pandemics. I would also like to see, if possible, some effort on the logistic side to make the users access to the ALS easier during the weekends, with at least a couple of shuttle rides per day.

5. Michal Hammel

In 2006 I was recruited to the SIBYLS group at ALS to integrate small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and macromolecular X-ray crystallography. My effort as the principal beamline scientist at the SIBYLS beamline (BL12.3.1) makes the SAXS technique accessible to more investigators. We have been the first to create a high throughput SAXS capability and established a mail-in program to collect SAXS data that become important in the structural determination of SASR- CoV2 proteins to address the COVID19 crisis. As a research scientist at the LBNL, my research focuses on manipulating transcription by DNA control elements. I use the suite of ALS (8.3.1, 12.3.1, 2.1) to integrate x-ray crystal structures, SAXS, and soft x-ray imaging that span from protein-DNA complexes to the bacterial chromosome.

I am interested in joining the UEC to help evolve a cross-talk between the bioscience user community and ALS-U management. I would like to help the user community to participate in the vision and plans for ALS-U and engage the bioscience community in ALS Operating Schedule before the dark period. I would also like to support and collaborate with the Advanced Photon Source (APS) and other synchrotrons to provide structural biology facilities during the APS dark period (2023) and the ALS dark period (late 2025).

6. Lowell Miyagi

I am currently an Associate Professor of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah, and I hold an adjunct appointment in the Department of Material Science and Engineering. My experience with the ALS first began when I started my Ph.D. at UC Berkeley in the Fall of 2004. In terms of my science career, I “grew up” at beamline 12.2.2. of the ALS.  Over the years I have used a range of other synchrotrons, including the Advanced Photon Source, the National Synchrotron Light Source, European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the Positron Electron Tandem Ring Accelerator III.  However, the ALS remains a special place for me and I keep coming back to the ALS for the bulk of my work.  My primary research has taken place at 12.2.2., but I have also collaborated on projects at beamline 12.3.2. and 8.3.2. of the ALS. In addition to running experiments, I took part in organizing and running a workshop on Rietveld X-ray Texture Analysis at the ALS in 2012.  I have also been involved with the ALS as an external reviewer of General User Proposals and I am currently a member of the General Sciences Proposal Study Panel.

The opportunity to serve on the UEC is particularly exciting for me given the upcoming ALS-U.  This will be an important period for communication with the ALS user community, to ensure that the upgrade will be optimized to serve the users’ needs and to provide them with new and exciting capabilities.  Additionally, it will be vital to enable a smooth transition for the user during the required shutdown for the ALS-U.  During the time leading up the shutdown, communication with other light source around the world will also be critical to meet the increased demand for beamtime. I am also excited to be involved in organizing the ALS user meeting.  For the past three years I have served on the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting Program Committee, which solicits and organizes sessions for the annual meeting (~25,000 presentations).  In this role I have promoted interdisciplinary sessions to foster new collaboration and innovation across fields.  I feel that the user meeting is an ideal place to continue this tradition in order to develop interdisciplinary research and to expose users to new techniques and applications of synchrotron science.

7. Christine Beavers

I am the Principal Beamline Scientist for I15, the Extreme Conditions beamline, at Diamond Light Source. I previously worked at ALS beamline 12.2.2 as a COMPRES research scientist. I am also a long time and current user of beamline 12.2.1 at the ALS.

My scientific interests are predominantly focused on in-situ diffraction and challenging crystallography in a variety of materials, from small molecules, MOFs to minerals.  I believe strongly that synchrotrons exist to serve a diverse user community. As a UEC member I plan to be a strong voice for the users.

8. Yu He

I became an ALS user in the fall of 2010 as a physics graduate student. What I didn’t realize was that I’d spend the next ten years working thousands of hours across beamline,, and at the LBL Materials Sciences Division, investigating a broad range topics from superconductivity to metal-to-insulator transitions with photoemission and x-ray scattering.

As a long-time beneficiary of public user facilities and now an assistant professor at Yale Applied physics, I feel duty-bound to engage and serve the user community, especially during times of planned or unplanned disruptions. I hope to help tighten the beamline-user collaboration via the promotion of jointly funded programs. I also hope to promote the long-term impact of our community by lowering institutional collaboration barriers, via more user-friendly tutorials and more streamlined online learning/documentation. Year-round pop-up user seminars  will be facilitated to increase user community cohesion and their public visibility. I will advocate for more comprehensive and flexible remote experiment protocols. Last but not least, I am committed to engaging our community in steering the future directions of ALS, including the ALS-U project.

9. Connor Bischak

I am an assistant professor at the University of Utah and my group investigates nanoscale dynamic processes in soft materials for clean energy and healthcare technologies. As a postdoc at the University of Washington, the ALS was a vital part of my research. I have enjoyed attending and presenting at several ALS User Meetings.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented many unique challenges to ALS Users. Although routine measurements were possible to perform remotely, many more complex in situ experiments were difficult to pursue remotely. As a member of the UEC, I would like to encourage more communication between users of the same beam line to share infrastructure for in situ studies.

Although I am excited to return to in-person interaction, I hope that we can continue to promote virtual engagement with the ALS. For future ALS User Meetings, I believe that a hybrid in-person/virtual approach would encourage participation from an international community and include scientists that may not be able to attend in person.

10. Katherine Armstrong

I have been researching earth and planetary materials at extreme conditions since my PhD work; access to synchrotrons is critical for this field. Since April of this year I have been employed by UCSC as an ALS affiliate. In this role, I both facilitate research by external users and work on technique development at beamline 12.2.2, which utilizes hard x-ray diffraction to investigate materials at non-ambient conditions, while also pursuing my own research. As a result, I communicate frequently with users and am highly aware of their needs.

I hope to further serve the Earth Science synchrotron user community by advocating for their continued access to the tools they need, particularly while navigating the changes and opportunities presented by the upgrade. In addition, despite being a critical tool serving thousands of users, the ALS is chronically underfunded. I hope to help the UEC to engage in more policy and lobbying work to alleviate the structural financial problems of the ALS.