SSRLUO 2023-2024 Executive Committee Members

The SSRL Users Executive Committee (UEC) encourages users to participate in SSRL events and contact UEC members to share feedback or suggestions:
James P. Evans, Utah State University (Chair)
Amrita Bhattacharyya, University of San Francisco
Sarah Bowman, Hauptman Woodward Institute
Hao Chen, Stanford University
Jinyi Chen, University of Arkansas
Amy Cordones-Hahn, PULSE/SLAC/Stanford University
Woody Fischer, California Institute of Technology
Graham George, University of Saskatchewan (Past Chair)
Nicholas Hartley, SLAC (LCLS Chair; Ex Officio)
Peter Jensen, UC Riverside
Sheridon Kelly, UC Berkeley
Levi McClelland, University of Montana
Blaine Mooers, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center (Past Chair)
Liane Moreau, Washington State University (Vice Chair)
Jake Pushie, University of Saskatchewan
Robert Root, University of Arizona
Linda Vogt, University of Saskatchewan
Beth Wurzburg, LBNL, Joint Genome Institute, Berkeley, CA (Ex Officio NUFO/SSURF)
Leilani Conradson, SLAC (LCLS Liaison, Ex Officio)
Lisa Dunn, SLAC (SSRL Liason, Ex Officio)
Cathy Knotts, SLAC (SSRL Liaison, Ex Officio)

Amrita Bhattacharyya, University of San Francisco
Amrita Bhattacharyya is a tenure-track faculty in the Department of Chemistry at University of San Francisco. Bhattacharyya’s research interests involve the investigation of environmental geochemistry problems that are driven by climate change. Specifically, she focuses on the nexus between carbon cycling and metal redox chemistry, and the impact of this coupling on both bulk and molecular-scale processes. Much of her research is accomplished using process-based measurements and state-of-the-art synchrotron-based spectroscopic (XAS), microscopic (TEM, SEM), and diffraction (XRD) methods to understand elemental oxidation state and bonding environment in terrestrial ecosystems and synthetic metal-organic complexes. Bhattacharyya has considerable experience with synchrotron radiation-based techniques including XAS, STXM and XRD and has been a regular user at SSRL, ALS, CLS and APS since 2008 which has resulted in peer-reviewed publications in top journals.

Sarah EJ Bowman, Hauptman Woodward Institute
Sarah EJ Bowman is the Director of the National Crystallization Center and an Associate Research Scientist at Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute in Buffalo, NY.  Her research focuses on developing new methods for crystallization of biomolecules, for detecting very small crystals, and for in situ X-ray data collection.  Her research lab is also interested in developing techniques that combine crystallographic and spectroscopic approaches to answer fundamental questions about protein biochemistry, especially in proteins that contain metals.  Her engagement with synchrotron facilities began as a graduate student with Kara Bren, doing Nuclear Resonance Vibrational Spectroscopy at APS on heme containing proteins. She began working with crystallography as a postdoc with Cathy Drennan at MIT. Throughout her career, she has collected X-ray diffraction data at APS, NSLS, NSLS-II, LCLS and SSRL. Since beginning her independent career, she has been actively involved with several projects at SSRL beamlines and collaborates with beamline scientists. She has organized the Metals in Structural Biology workshop at the SSRL/LCLS User's Meeting annually since the first occurrence of the workshop in 2018. She is the current Chair of BioMac SIG in the American Crystallographic Association and is very involved in the structural biology community.  She is committed to the long-term success of the SSRL facility and its users, and seeks election to the UEC to continue and expand her involvement.

Hao Chen, Stanford University
Dr. Hao Chen is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at Pulse Institute of SLAC, investigating critical interfacial processes for solar hydrogen production and nitrogen reduction under the co-supervision of Prof. Amy Cordones-Hahn and Prof. Kelly Gaffney. His research journey has been enriched by my time as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (2020-2022), under the esteemed mentorship of Prof. Miquel Salmeron, where he delved into the intricacies of catalysis. Chen's expertise spans a diverse range of experimental techniques, including synchrotron-based methods like APXPS and XAS, advanced nano-fabrication processes, and scanning probe microscopy. He is now actively involved in time-resolved XPS/XAS, devoting to elucidating the charge transfer dynamics among photocatalytic processes.

Jinyi Chen, University of Arkansas
Dr. Jingyi Chen is a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Washington, Seattle, working with Younan Xia. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Brookhaven National Laboratory and then a Research Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Washington University in St. Louis. In 2010, she started her independent career as a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 2016, and to Professor in 2020. Her research focuses on rational design and synthesis of functional nanomaterials for energy conversion and human-health related applications. Her group emphasizes on precise synthesis of nanostructures, aiming to efficient and sustainable use of materials in applications, and fundamentally understand materials synthesis-structure-property-performance relationship under operando conditions. She and her group have been X-ray users at SSRL since 2017 and established collaboration with Dr. Simon Bare and his group at Co-ACCESS, focusing on in situ/operando characterization of nonprecious metal nanostructures for electrocatalysis.

Leilani Conradson, LCLS User Research Administration Manager
Leilani Conradson joined the User Office of the Linac Cohrerent Lightsource, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, in 2017. Prior to moving to SLAC, Leilani was the Executive Assistant, Program Manager and Experiment Coordinator at the Lujan Cetner at LANSCE, Los Alamos Neutron Science Center at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Amy Cordones-Hahn, PULSE/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory/Stanford University
Amy Cordones-Hahn is an Associate Staff Scientist in the PULSE Institute at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Her research interests revolve around understanding how photoexcitation of electronic excited states drives chemical reactions of functional transition metal complexes, such as molecular photocatalysts. Amy uses time-resolved x-ray spectroscopy to resolve photochemical reactions in real-time and is interested in helping to grow these capabilities and build a larger ultrafast science user community at SSRL.

Lisa Dunn, SSRL User Research Administration
Lisa has worked at SSRL since 1986, and has been part of the User Research Administration team since 2000. Lisa manages the administration proposal review and scheduling for macromolecular crystallography and biological small angle scattering beam lines. Lisa earned her Bachelor of Science degree from San Jose State University.

James P. Evans, Utah State University
James Evans is Professor of Geosciences at Utah State University. He received his Ph.D. and MS in Geology from Texas A&M University. His research interests include rock deformation from the micro scale to the map scale. Quantitative analysis of fluid-rock interactions as applied to earthquake processes, energy resources, and CO2 sequestration. 

Woodward W. Fischer, California Institute of Technology
Woodward W. Fischer, Professor of Geobiology at CaltechPhD Harvard, BA Colorado College.  I am often referred to by my nickname “Woody”.  I am a geobiologist that combines techniques from field geology, analytical chemistry, and biology to understand and explore the relationships between life and surface environments through diverse and fundamental transitions in our planet's history.   In addition to working on Mars Science Laboratory and Mars2020 missions, his group studies the emergence and early evolution of life, the innovation of photosynthesis and the rise of environmental dioxygen, and ancient mass extinctions.

Graham George, University of Saskatchewan
Graham George was educated at King's College London (B.Sc., 1979) and the University of Sussex (D. Phil., 1983). After postdoctoral fellowships at Sussex and Exxon Research & Engineering Co. in New Jersey USA, he continued at Exxon as a Principal Investigator. Graham was Exxon Participating Research Team spokesperson for both NSLS X10-C and SSRL 6-2 between 1988 and 1992. In 1992 Graham married fellow synchrotron radiation researcher Ingrid Pickering and moved to the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory where he held the position of Physicist until 2003. In 2003 he became full professor and Canada Research Chair in X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy at the University of Saskatchewan. Graham's first experiments using synchrotron radiation were on the EMBL XAS beamline at DESY Hamburg in April 1982, and his first experiments at SSRL were on Beam Line 7-3 in December 1983. Since that first run at SSRL Graham has taken part in over 185 different beamtime experiments at SSRL, and has published more than 270 papers using data collected at SSRL. His research bridges the chemical, the environmental and the life sciences and includes a career-long interest in metalloenzymes, toxic metals and fuel science.

Nicholas Hartley, SLAC (LCLS Chair; Ex Officio)
Nick Hartley is an Assoicate Scientist at SLAC National Accelertaor Laboratory, with a focus on matter in extreme conditions (MEC). Nick is the 2024 Chair of the LCLS Users' Executive Committee and serves in an ex officio capacity on the SSRL UEC.

Peter Jensen, UC Riverside
Peter Jensen is a graduate student in the nuclear nanotechnology lab under Professor Liane Moreau in the Department of Chemistry at Washington State University studying nanoscale properties of lanthanide and actinide materials and their doped mixtures using X-ray spectroscopic characterization techniques. He has lead and submitted an active proposal at SSRL and has experience working at other US synchrotrons including APS and CHESS. At these synchrotrons, Peter has gained experience with collecting and processing XAS data, including HERFD-XANES. He has assisted on some of the first uranium HERFD-XANES measurements at APS 13-IDE. Peter also has experience designing sample holders for XAS measurements and navigating the process of measuring radioactive samples. Peter would like to work towards streamlining processes for measuring radioactive samples at SSRL and aims to serve as an advocate for early career education in synchrotron science.

Sheridon Kelly, UC Berkeley
Sheridon Kelly is a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, working in the John Arnold lab, as well as the Minasian lab at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Sheridon's research focuses on the covalency and electronic structure of f-electrons in actinide nanomaterials. She's been a user at SSRL for the past 2 years, at beamline 11-2, where she studies the metal L3-edge of the lanthanides and actinides.

Cathy Knotts, SSRL User Research Administration Manager
Cathy has managed  SSRL User Research Administration since November 2000, taking on the additional responsibilities for establishing and managing a joint SSRL/LCLS User Office from 2007-2015 (LCLS began operations with the first user assisted commissioning experiments in 2009). Before joining SLAC, Cathy managed administrative operations and corporate communications in the biotechnology industry (1994-2000). Prior to moving to California to help start a biotech company, she was a management analyst for the National Institute on Aging/National Institutes of Health in Maryland. Cathy graduated from the University of Maryland majoring in Health Science and Policy.

Levi McClelland, University of Montana
Levi McClelland is a Research Assistant Professor and Manager of the Integrated Structural Biology Core at the University of Montana (UM). He received his PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics (2015) in Bruce Bowler’s Lab (UM) studying protein stability and conformational changes associated with pH sensitivity. To better understand structural effects of conformational change, he collaborated with Stephen Sprang’s Lab (UM) to solve novel cytochrome c crystal structures of interest. Levi then joined Dr. Sprang’s Lab, who has a long-standing relationship with and regularly utilizes SSRL, as a post-doc. Postdoctoral work in the Sprang Lab yielded further experience in protein macromolecular crystallography and small-angle X-ray scattering, solving the structure of G-alpha protein subunit i complexed to its chaperone/nucleotide exchange factor Ric-8A. In 2020, he began managing the Integrated Structural Biology Core – a core facility of the Center for Biomolecular and Structural Dynamics COBRE at UM, providing protein expression and macromolecular structural services (including acting as the point-of-contact/spokesperson to SSRL) for the UM community. Levi’s research focuses on understanding the interactions and regulation of Ric-8A and Ric-8B towards G-alpha proteins and their binding partners.

Blaine Mooers (link sends e-mail), University of Oklahoma Health Science Center
Blaine Mooers is an Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC). In addition to faculty, he serves as the director of the Laboratory of Biomolecular Structure and Function, which is also a core facility for the Oklahoma COBRE in Structural Biology. Blaine began macromolecular crystallography as a graduate student by working on problems in DNA structure with Dr. Shing Ho at Oregon State University. He worked on problems in protein structure as a post-doc with Dr. Brian Matthews at the University of Oregon. While a post-doc, he used synchrotron radiation to collect atomic resolution data from crystals of proteins, thanks to expert guidance in data collection from SSRL staff. He determined the structures of several proteins and RNAs by direct methods with data collected at SSRL. Blaine has been a proposal spokesperson continuously since 2000, first in on OUHSC structural studies of RNAs and proteins from the unique RNA editing system in the mitochondrion of trypanosomes. He also collaborates with several OUHSC labs on structural studies of proteins related to influenza and cancer biology. He has been involved in SAXS studies since 2011 and is an active user of BL 4-2. Blaine believes that crystallography will continue to play a vital role in integrative structural biology. He served as chair of the SSRL User Executive Committee (UEC) during the existential budget crisis of 2017. He seeks re-election to the UEC to represent the concerns and needs of the users of macromolecular crystallography.

Liane Moreau, Washington State University
Liane Moreau has been an SSRL user on XAS and RXES beamlines since 2017. She is currently a faculty member in the department of chemistry at Washington State University, where she leads a research group towards exploring nanoscale properties of f-element materials and the structure of their surfaces and interfaces through pairing new synthetic developments with in-depth X-ray characterization. Liane completed her PhD in Materials Science and Engineering under the direction of Michael Bedzyk and Chad Mirkin at Northwestern University. Subsequently, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow under Corwin Booth at Lawrence Berkeley Lab in the heavy element chemistry group. Historically, Liane's work has relied upon synchrotron XAS and SAXS studies, specifically aiming to map the growth and transformation processes involved in the synthesis of nanoparticles, spanning the periodic table from first row transition metals to actinides. She has experience developing containment strategies for safely measuring radioactive samples and analysis strategies for systems with complex backgrounds. Liane had her first taste of synchrotron XAS work in 2009 as an undergraduate at Cornell University studying nanoscale oxidation processes and hasn't stopped since. She has experience working at CHESS, APS and ALS in addition to SSRL and looks forward to contributing to the continued growth and development of the synchrotron community for years to come.

Michael Jacob Pushie, University of Saskatchewan
Jake Pushie is a full-time staff scientist in the Department of Surgery at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada). My first visit to SSRL was in 2003. Autumn 2007 I became a regular user and over the past 15 years have had the pleasure of working and collaborating alongside some of the most amazing scientists and friends while visiting and collecting data at SSRL. My areas of interest are in the role of bio-metals in human health and disease, with particular focus on transition metal trafficking and coordination structure, as well as changes in trace elements associated with blood-brain barrier disruption and neurodegeneration. I have 66 peer reviewed publications, 35 of these have employed bio-spectroscopy beamlines at SSRL and 17 employed X-ray fluorescence microscopy beamlines at SSRL - and I feel like I’m only getting started! Much like the loss of wasted photons when we have beam, the loss of CPU cycles is also of concern to me as I use a broad range of computational chemistry tools at my home institution to help inform most of my synchrotron research. I was very impressed with how SSRL as a facility, and its staff, stepped-up and aided the user community during the pandemic. This only cemented my firm belief that SSRL is a facility like no other that researchers can rely on to enable the carrying-out of great science, no matter what. As a user I am also keenly aware of how difficult it is to train new users and grow the community. Such endeavours and outreach must start from within the user community itself and as a member of the UEC I envision opportunities to facilitate building user-led mentorships to educate, advise, and support new users - while also representing the needs and future interests of the existing user community.

Robert Root, University of Arizona
Rob Root is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona where he applies tools of environmental geochemistry to understand mechanisms that control the mobility and bioavailability of nutrients and toxic chemicals in the environment. Rob has been using synchrotron based X-ray techniques in the soft, tender, and hard energy range for over 20 years for spectroscopic and imaging analysis of in vivo and in vitro alteration of geomedia in response to disequilibrium imposed by organisms, weathering, and climate to understand how chemical speciation impacts solubility, bioaccessibility, and mobility in environmental systems. His research combines macro-scale geochemical measurements of the release and uptake of stoichiometric or surface complexed elements between the solid and aqueous phases, constrained by atomic-scale spectroscopies and thermodynamic modeling, to develop predictive models of lability or secondary mineral precipitation. Rob is an interdisciplinary environmental researcher working to reveal a basic understanding of processes and reactions at the particle-surface interface relevant to human health.

Linda Vogt (link sends e-mail), University of Saskatchewan
Linda Vogt is a graduate student in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan. She has been a synchrotron user since 2012, and has operated various beamlines at the CLS, APS, and SSRL. She worked at the CLS as a casual floor coordinator from 2015 - 2019 and as part of the CLS outreach team from 2017 - 2020.

Beth Wurzburg (link sends e-mail), Oakland, CA
Beth was a Research Associate at the LBNL Joint Genome Institute. Previously, Beth was a Research Associate in the laboratory of Prof. Ted Jardetzky. She trained as a protein biochemist (Don Wiley's laboratory) and as a crystallographer (Ted Jardetzky's laboratory), and she has been collecting data at synchrotrons since 1995. Her research interests include biophysical studies of proteins of the immune system and of human pathogens.

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