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Our Experts

Across ORAU, a number of employees are engaged in research activities, either internally-funded (ODRD) projects, or externally-funded grants and contracts. Our experts focus their research on our core capabilities and continue to deliver on our mission to strengthen research collaborations with our consortium member universities. These collaborations have led to exciting research projects and joint publications that enhanced the visibility of ORAU researchers and our research partners. 

Learn more about our experts and their research interests, published works, and professional accomplishments.


  • Eric Abelquist

    Eric Abelquist, Ph.D.

    Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer

    Expertise: Performance of radiological surveys, entrepreneurial initiatives for business development, advancement of scientific research and education opportunities

    • President, Health Physics Society, 2017-18
    • Co-chair, Radiation Protection Research Needs Workshop, June 2017
    • Co-author, “Multi-Agency Radiation Survey and Site Investigation Manual” (MARSSIM)
    • Author, “Decommissioning Health Physics: A Handbook for MARSSIM Users,” second edition, 2014

    Certifications: Certified Health Physicist

  • Eric Adams

    Eric Adams

    Manager, Scientific Programming

    Expertise: Scientific programming, data architecture and management, scalable analytics, reporting, data visualization, geographic information systems (GIS), virtual and augmented reality

  • Adayabalam S. Balajee, Ph.D.

    Adayabalam S. Balajee, Ph.D.

    Director, REAC/TS Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory

    Expertise: Radiation biology, mechanisms of chromosomal aberrations, DNA repair and chromosomal aberrations, RecQ helicases in human aging and cancer, nucleotide excision repair and its interplay with transcription and human diseases

    Select Co-Authored Publications:

  • Erin Burr

    Erin Burr, Ph.D.

    Senior Evaluator and Assessment and Evaluation Section Manager

    Expertise: STEM workforce development and education evaluation in K-20 settings, strategic needs assessment in national laboratories and laboratory systems, impact evaluations/long-term follow-up studies, measurement of evaluation use and influence, applied experimental psychology

    Burr has more than 15 years of experience designing, managing, and directing research and evaluation studies in STEM education and workforce development. She specializes in evaluating portfolios of STEM workforce development programs (research participation programs) at national laboratories, the experience and needs of supercomputer users and interdisciplinary programs in higher education. She has experience evaluating national and international, single- and multi-site STEM-focused programs and works with multiple federal agencies, universities and private organizations.

  • Karen Carera

    Karen Werner Carera, Ph.D.

    Senior Evaluation Specialist

    Expertise: Health education, formative and summative evaluation, research methods, structuring qualitative research, needs assessments

    Carera has developed research protocols and instruments for a wide range of populations, from healthcare professionals and public health officials to diverse subsets of the general public. The topics of these research projects vary from emergency preparedness for radiation emergencies to appropriate use of antibiotics.

    Certifications: Human Subjects Protection Training, Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative

  • Tiffani Conner, Ph.D.

    Tiffani Conner, Ph.D.

    Research Associate

    Expertise: Conner's research expertise lies in educational psychology, adult learning, social sciences and qualitative methods. Her interest focuses on research questions that address how adults learn and engage in lifelong learning—both independently and for professional development. Her interest in adult learners relates to workforce development, training and career changes. At ORAU, she has been involved with peer review, research integrity and cybersecurity education topics.

    Certifications: Project Management Professional, AHIP Medicare Certification

  • Julie Crumly, Ph.D.

    Julie Crumly, Ph.D.

    Senior Evaluation Specialist

    Expertise: Health and education program evaluation, research methods and data analysis, multicultural and social psychology, evaluation of health interventions and programs, and outcome evaluations for continuing medical education

    Co-author: “Non-pharmaceutical interventions for pandemic influenza: An assessment of communication, training, and guidance needs of state, tribal, local, and territorial public health officials,” 2018

    Certification: Master Certified Health Education Specialist

  • Jason Davis, Ph.D.

    Jason Davis, Ph.D.

    Health Physicist, Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site

    Expertise: Dose assessment, health physics, emergency response, and biokinetic modeling

    Davis is a highly regarded health physicist, bringing more than 14 years of experience in health physics and radiological engineering to REAC/TS. He has worked in academia as well as for DOE and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His primary area of interest is internal dosimetry, and he has experience in external dosimetry, diagnostic medical imaging, radiation biology and radiation protection.

    In 2017, Davis was the recipient of the Elda E. Anderson Award by the Health Physics Society, of which he is an active member. The award is bestowed to one of the society’s young members for excellence in research or development, discovery or invention, or significant contributions to the health physics profession.

  • Betsy Ellis

    Betsy Ellis, Ph.D.

    Group Manager, Health, Energy and Environment

    Expertise: Occupational epidemiology, radiation epidemiology, ethics of use of human participants in research

    • Member, Task Group 64 Cancer Risk from Alpha Radiation, International Commission on Radiological Protection
    • Chair, Oak Ridge Side-Wide Institutional Review Board
    • Vice Chair, Central DOE Institutional Review Board
    • Presenter, Health Physics Society Annual Meeting, July 2017
    • Presenter, Radiation Research Society Meeting, October 2016
  • Cathy Fore

    Cathy Fore

    Senior University Partnerships Specialist

    Expertise: Leads science and technology-focused partnership initiatives among ORAU’s 100+ member universities, federal agencies, and private industry. She has extensive knowledge of the research expertise within the university consortium and serves as a central resource for matching the needs and interests of scientists and engineers across a broad spectrum of organizations.

  • Arlene Garrison

    Arlene Garrison, Ph.D.

    Vice President, University Partnerships

    Expertise: Online process analysis, vibrational spectroscopy methods, technology transfer, STEM diversity and inclusion

    • Fellow, American Chemical Society
    • Chair, Business Management and Development Division of the American Chemical Society, 2018
    • National Science Foundation Small Business (SBIR-STTR) Advisory Committee, 2011-2018
  • Ashley Golden

    Ashley Golden, Ph.D.


    Expertise: Biostatistics, epidemiology, radiation exposure, occupational health

    • Awardee: Early Stage Radiation Investigator Award, Conference on Radiation and Health and Radiation Research Society, October 2016
    • Presenter, International Symposium on Epidemiology in Occupational Health, Edinburgh, Scotland, August 2017
    • Presenter, Health Physics Society Annual Meeting, July 2017
    • Presenter, American Public Health Association, November 2016
    • Reviewer, Health Physics Journal, NCRP technical reports, and PLOS One Journal
  • Freddy Gray

    Freddy Gray, M.P.H.

    Manager, Health Preparedness and Medical Countermeasures

    Expertise: Public health and healthcare preparedness, medical countermeasures, team dynamics, strategic planning

    Gray has more than 25 years of experience managing and supervising public health and healthcare system preparedness and response programs involving medical countermeasures to help mitigate the surge of patients due to a public health emergency.

    Certification: Master Certified Health Education Specialist

  • Scott Hale

    Scott Hale, Ph.D.

    Research and Evaluation Project Manager

    Expertise: More than 15 years of experience in the application of communication theory and research to understand and improve organizational and individual performance; adept in theory of change development and logic diagramming; expertise in a wide array of data collection methods and analysis strategies.

    Certifications: Human Subjects Protection Training, Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative; Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program Certification, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

  • Davyda Hammond

    Davyda Hammond, Ph.D.

    Safety Culture Specialist

    Expertise: Safety culture evaluation, environmental health engineering, qualitative data analysis, statistical analysis, survey administration and evaluation design, project management

    Hammond has a wide-array of experience in the design, planning, and execution of nuclear safety culture evaluations for DOE contractors, national laboratories, and commercial customers. She has a doctorate in Environmental Health Engineering, with expertise in both engineering and public health. Her areas of research interest and emphasis include environmental and worker health, research methods, risk assessment, health education, energy systems, and mechanical design. She has 15 years of health and safety research, project management, and engineering experience obtained through her work in industry, academia, and Federal service. She has presented her research at multiple national and international conferences and in several scholarly, peer-reviewed journals.

  • Sara Howard, M.P.H.

    Sara Howard, M.P.H.

    Research Associate

    Expertise: Epidemiology, biostatistics, occupational health, quantitative and qualitative data analysis

    Howard has experience in both quantitative and qualitative data analysis for studies. Her areas of expertise include occupational and environmental exposures and safety culture assessments. Her academic training encompasses public health, epidemiology, and biostatistics.

  • Don Johnson

    Don Johnson, Ph.D.

    Expertise: Economics of specialized labor markets, regional economic growth and development

  • Kimberle Kelly

    Kimberle Kelly, Ph.D.

    Expertise: STEM education and workforce development evaluation from cradle to career, mixed methods research and evaluation, clinical and cognitive neuroscience, underrepresented groups in STEM

    Kelly has more than 25 years of experience managing and directing research and evaluation outcome studies in education and mental health. As an expert in STEM education initiatives from cradle to career, she has worked in strategic partnerships to develop, fund, execute, advise and evaluate programs designed to promote a diverse and highly skilled national STEM workforce. Kelly’s academic background is in clinical and cognitive neuroscience, and she has presented her research at multiple national and international conferences. She is a founding member of the American Evaluation Association’s STEM Education and Workforce Development group and is currently the chair of the executive board.

  • David King

    David King

    Health Physicist

    Expertise: More than 20 years of experience in human health risk/dose assessment, environmental studies and project management

    • Serves as project manager and technical lead for the assessment of various environmental and non-environmental media, derivation of site-specific cleanup goals, MARSSIM training and technical consultation covering a range of health physics related topics.
    • Member: Health Physics Society and Project Management Institute
    • Co-author, 2015. “Lessons Learned on the Presentation of Scan Data,” Operational Radiation Safety, Vol. 109, No. 5, S212-S218.
    • Co-author, 2013. “An Approach for Addressing Hard-to-Detect Hot Spots,” Operational Radiation Safety, Vol. 104, No. 5, S52-S59.
    • Co-author, 2012. “Minimum Detectable Concentration as a Function of Gamma Walkover Survey Technique,” Operational Radiation Safety, Vol. 102, No. 2, S22-S27.

    Certifications: Certified Health Physicist, Project Management Professional

  • Jim Malone

    Jim Malone, Ph.D.

    Information Scientist

    Expertise: Science communication and data sharing practices among scientists, information science, communication research

    • Dissertation: “Data Sharing Practices and Attitudes of Scientists in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries,” 2019, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
    • More than 20 years of library and information science experience
    • More than six years of subject matter expert identification and recruitment
    • International scientific support as University Librarian (Director), American University of Afghanistan, Kabul and the Weill Cornell Medical Library - Qatar
    • Adjunct faculty at Roane State Community College
    • Instructor, College of Communication and Information, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
    • Co-author: “Data Management in Astrobiology: Challenges and Opportunities for an Interdisciplinary Community
  • Ann Martin

    Ann M. Martin, Ph.D.

    Expertise: STEM education evaluation in K-16 and informal settings, social network analysis, collaboration and partnership evaluation, mixed-methods evaluation, meta-evaluation, and community and repository development

    Martin has over 10 years of experience in the design, coordination, and evaluation of STEM education, outreach, and workforce development programs, and has an academic research background in astronomy and space sciences. She has evaluated programs as an internal and an external evaluator for multiple federal agencies. She has served in various roles on the executive board of the American Evaluation Association’s STEM Education and Workforce Development interest group since 2013, and is currently the incoming chair.

  • Kristin A. Mattson, M.P.H.

    Kristin A. Mattson, M.P.H.

    Expertise: Health education, communication, and promotion; social media, social marketing, qualitative research, training development and implementation

    Mattson is a project manager leading strategic public health communication projects for her clients including federal, state, and local agencies and organizations. Prior to entering the public health field, Mattson earned a B.S. in Micro and Molecular Biology and worked in both education and healthcare.

    Publications: Communicating about Opioids in Appalachia: Challenges, Opportunities, and Best Practices

    Certification: Master Certified Health Education Specialist, ThinkTank Certified Facilitator, Certificate of Proficiency in Qualitative Research

  • Deborah McFalls

    Deborah McFalls

    Research and Evaluation Section Manager

    Expertise: More than 26 years of experience in managing health and safety communications and program evaluation initiatives with DOE, CDC and other partners. The multitask initiatives have focused on health communication research, design, development, implementation and outreach activities for the public and private workforce sectors and the general public.

  • Jeff Miller

    Jeffrey R. Miller, Ph.D.

    Senior Scientist and Head of ORAU’s Center for Safety Studies

    Expertise: Occupational exposure assessment, safety culture evaluation, chronic beryllium disease worker protection programs

    • Chair, American Board of Industrial Hygiene, 2017-2018
    • Keynote speaker, International Symposium on Beryllium Particles and Detection, November 2017
    • Co-author, “Guide to Monitoring and Improving Safety Cultures,” Energy Facilities Contractors Group, April 2017
    • Team member, design team for $6.5B Uranium Processing Facility Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee
    • Presenter, American Industrial Hygiene Association, Fall Leadership Conference, October 2017
    • 14 years of senior leadership experience; six years as a CEO

    Certifications: Certified Industrial Hygienist, Certified Safety Professional®

  • Lindsay Motz

    Lindsay Motz

    Institutional Review Board (IRB) Administrator

    Expertise: Lindsay Motz is an Institutional Review Board (IRB) Administrator for the Central Department of Energy IRB and the Oak Ridge Site-wide IRB. During her time at ORAU, she has worked on the Beryllium-Associated Worker Registry (BAWR) and the Human Subjects Research Database (HSRD). She is responsible for daily operations of both boards and still assists with the annual HSRD report. She has a B.S. from East Tennessee State University and a graduate certificate in Bioethics from Washington State University. She has also completed the Intensive Bioethics Course at Georgetown University. In 2014, she became a Certified Institutional Review Board Professional (CIP). She is committed to always seeking the protection of human subjects in research.

  • Leigh Ann Pennington, M.S.

    Leigh Ann Pennington, M.S.

    Workforce Studies Project Manager

    Expertise: Economic analysis related to STEM education and work force issues, program evaluation and STEM Education Program management

    Focus on using data to improve program strategy and efficiency, improving the quality of data collected and ensuring appropriate interpretation of data analyses. Research interests include: understanding critical characteristics of specific cohorts within the STEM education pipeline and workforce, such as underrepresented groups and foreign nationals; determining key indicators for quality hands-on research experiences across the education pipeline.

    Certifications: Project Management Professional

  • Jennifer Reynolds

    Jennifer Reynolds, M.P.H.

    Health Communication Section Manager

    Expertise: Health communication, social marketing, social media, behavioral science research

    Reynolds has more than 15 years of experience managing research, health communication, and social marketing projects for local, state, and federal entities and nonprofit agencies


    Certification: Certified Health Education Specialist, ThinkTank Certified Facilitator, Certificate of Proficiency in Qualitative Research

  • Danny Scott, M.S.

    Danny Scott, M.S.

    Data Warehouse Analyst

    Expertise: Design, use, and application of statistical method systems to quantify evidence from diverse and dispersed data sources. Experience in data engineering, data warehouse design, data management/reporting and quantitative analysis in the private and public sectors.

    Certifications: Certified Scrum Master

  • Betsy Smither

    Betsy Smither, M.P.H.

    Health Education Project Manager and Program Evaluator

    Expertise: Program evaluation, qualitative research, training and facilitation, project management

    • Co-author, “Young Women’s Perceptions Regarding Communication with Healthcare Providers about Breast Cancer, Risk and Prevention,” Journal of Women’s Health, May 2017
    • Presenter and leader, Evaluating Communication Strategies for Appalachian Regional Commission POWER Grantees workshop series, June-September 2017

    Certification: Program Evaluation Graduate Certificate, Certified Health Education Specialist

  • Tim Vitkus

    Tim Vitkus

    Senior Scientist

    Expertise: Management of complex site investigations, characterizations and evaluations

    • HPS Ask-the-Expert topic editor, decommissioning and radioactive waste disposal
    • Member and contributor, MARSSIM Rev. 2 Ad Hoc Work Group
    • Committee chair, ANSI N13.49 Performance and Documentation of Radiological Surveys
    • Member, Independent Review Team, DOE’s Separation Process Research Unit decommissioning project

    Certification: Certified Health Physicist

  • social-home.jpg

    Is social media helping or hindering vaccination rates?

    That’s the question ORAU researchers asking. Members of ORAU’s Health Communications and Marketing Team are collaborating with the University of Georgia to analyze social media conversations across three major vaccine types—childhood immunizations, HPV, and seasonal influenza—to better inform communication strategies aimed at decreasing hesitancy and increasing vaccination rates.

    Read More

  • Airplane, Aircraft

    Can analyzing data differently help predict and avoid collisions in the aviation industry?

    ORAU and the Florida Institute of Technology are collaborating to determine if understanding adverse events of aircrafts could result in a significant enhancement of safety protocols in the field of aviation risk assessments. 

    Read More

  • smartphone.jpg

    Can smartphone service as tools to measure potential radiation exposures?

    ORAU is partnering with Oklahoma State University to explore the possibility of using smartphones as personal emergency dosimeters to measure radiation exposure levels in case of radiological or nuclear mass-casualty incidents.

    Read More

Contact us

If you have questions about ORAU's Research partnerships, contact 865.576.1717 or .