Joint Appointments

A joint appointment is an arrangement in which a researcher has formal ties to both INL and a university. These partnerships enhance collaboration, as joint appointees conduct research and development at both home and host institutions.

Researchers benefit by having access to INL employees, facilities and resources, while working in a university research setting that fosters creativity, entrepreneurship, and access to a broad academic research network.

INL benefits from having ties with multiple university research programs. Joint appointments also allow opportunities to participate in specific proposals that might otherwise be inaccessible.

What kind of Joint Appointments are available?

1. Incoming. A university employee is requested to work on site at INL.
2. Outgoing. An INL employee is requested to work at a university.

Current Joint Appointments
(updated 11/7/2019)

Idaho State University

Larry Leibrock, Ph.D.
INL Technical Point of Contact: Wayne Austad
National & Homeland Security

Dr. Larry R. Leibrock is a professor of computer science and information assurance at Idaho State University holding a joint appointment with Idaho National Laboratory. A researcher at the Informatics Research Institute, he is a former Fulbright-Schuman Fellow working in the Changing Character of War (CCW) research program at Oxford University. He holds three advanced degrees and has taught at National Intelligence University, SOCOM, Harvard University, University of Texas, Emory University, Helsinki School of Economics, and Oxford University. His primary clinical teaching and research interests are in intelligence, strategic studies, terrorism, violent non-state actors, information assurance, and digital forensics. A former U.S. Army officer and member of the U.S. intelligence community, he served in airborne infantry, special forces, air cavalry and intelligence field operations in Germany, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Gulf States. He was medically retired in 2013 after sustaining combat injuries in Afghanistan. Presently, he is examining terrorism and nuclear proliferation, new war theory and the hybrid conflicts in Yemen and the Persian Gulf region. He has special interest in assessing the roles of violent non-state actors (VNSA) as elite catalysts for regional conflict in areas characterized by governance failures, resource scarcity, economic stagnation and rapidly changing demographics. Dr. Leibrock presently teaches university courses and a special research program that deals with cyber threats, insider risks, terrorist intentions toward critical infrastructures, the changing character of terror, and comparative policy responses.

Sean McBride
INL Technical Point of Contact: Robert T. Smith
National & Homeland Security

Sean McBride is an Idaho National Laboratory Joint Appointee with responsibilities serving Idaho State University’s Informatics Research Institute (IRI) and Energy Systems Technology Education Center (ESTEC). He runs the nation’s only two-year, hands-on degree specializing in the defense of industrial facilities from cyberattacks and incidents. McBride accepted the ISU/INL joint appointment after leaving FireEye, where he developed the firm’s Industrial Control Systems (ICS) security business strategy. His professional accomplishments include pioneering work in threat and vulnerability intelligence, which evolved into the DHS ICS-CERT, and co-founding Critical Intelligence to focus on the unique intelligence needs of industrial entities. He holds an MBA in the NSA Scholarship for Service Program at ISU and earned a master’s in global management from Thunderbird – Arizona State University. He has written extensively for his customers, provided expert analysis for the popular press, and briefed the results of his work at leading professional conferences such as RSA and S4.

Herb Pollard III (Outgoing)
Facilities & Site Services

Herb Pollard is associate director of external relations for the Energy Systems Technology & Education Center (ESTEC) at Idaho State University’s College of Technology. Holding a joint appointment with INL, he is responsible for coordination between ESTEC programs and their Industry partners, including INL. As program manager for INL’s Federal Facility Real Property D&D and Site Restoration, he is responsible for managing excess real property and assets along with coordinating demolition and restoration activities. Pollard received a B.S. in business administration from Lewis Clark State College while working full time as a general contractor. He received a master’s degree in project management from the University of Idaho. He is also PMP certified through the Project Management Institute. Before taking his current position, he was responsible for INL’s precision machining and fabrication capabilities. He oversaw realignment of INL’s machine shop capabilities and the modernization of equipment to include some of the most advanced Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) equipment in the United States.

Chad Pope, Ph.D.
INL Technical Point of Contact: Jason Andrus
Environment, Safety, Health & Quality

Dr. Chad Pope is a professor of nuclear engineering at Idaho State University who holds a joint appointment with Idaho National Laboratory. He was selected as nuclear engineering program director in January 2016, and promoted to professor with tenure in April 2018. He has served as a consultant to Argonne National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, in Carlsbad, New Mexico. He has held a joint appointment with Idaho National Laboratory since 2013, supporting nuclear safety at the Materials & Fuels Complex and serving as the Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) Facility safety operations review committee chair. He earned his doctorate in nuclear science and engineering in 2011 from ISU, where he also earned his master’s in nuclear science and engineering (1993) and his bachelors in general engineering (1989). Since 2014 he has conducted comprehensive research centering on nuclear power plant component reliability under flooding conditions in support of DOE’s Light Water Reactor sustainability program.

Sharma Kumari Kavita, Ph.D.
INL Technical Point of Contact: Gary Groenewold
Energy & Environment Science & Technology

Dr. Sharma Kumari Kavita is a research assistant professor in Idaho State University’s Department of Chemistry, holding a joint appointment with Idaho National Laboratory. She earned her doctorate in molecular biotechnology from Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. She holds a master’s in analytical chemistry from and a bachelor’s in chemistry from India’s University of Pune. Before coming to ISU, she was an assistant professor in the School of Chemical Engineering at Yeungnam University, in Gyeongsan, South Korea. She is a reviewer for several international journals, including the European Journal of Food Science and Technology, National Academy Science Letters, and the Journal of Food Processing and Preservation.

Christopher Zarzana, Ph.D. (Outgoing)
National & Homeland Security

Dr. Christopher Zarzana has been at Idaho National Laboratory since 2013, first as a post-doctoral researcher and since 2014 as a research and development scientist. He earned his bachelor’s in chemistry from Harvey Mudd College and his Ph.D. In chemistry from the University of Arizona, under the mentorship of Dr. M. Bonner Denton. His thesis, entitled “The Use of Capacitive Transimpedance Amplifier Array Detectors for Mass Spectrometry”, involved using novel, semiconductor-based ion detection array technology for mass spectrometry. He completed post-doctoral research, also at the University of Arizona, developing new ion detector technology for mass spectrometry. Dr. Zarzana’s has a strong background in mass spectrometry instrumentation, especially related to ion optics and detector technology. He also has experience using chromatography-mass-spectrometry to solve a wide variety of analytical problems in complex matrices. He conducts research on ion formation and gas-phase ion chemistry, and the effects of radiation on a variety of organic molecules. Current research projects include: developing novel sample preparation and ionization methods and instrumentation for application to isotope-ratio mass spectrometry, development of new nanospray sources for the sensitive analysis of nano-volume samples containing radio-isotopes, and investigating the radiation chemistry of nuclear fuel reprocessing materials.

North Carolina State University

Youzry Azmy (Incoming)
INL Technical Point of Contact: Marsha Bala
Stakeholder and Education Partnerships

Biography coming soon.





Daniela Jones, Ph.D. (Incoming)
INL Technical Point of Contact: Damon Hartley
Energy & Environment Science & Technology

Dr. Daniela Jones is a Research Assistant Professor in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department at North Carolina State University with a joint appointment with Idaho National Laboratory (INL). Building on Dr. Jones’ operations research experience applied to the agricultural-based energy sector and her desire to promote environmentally friendly energy sources, she continues to develop mathematical models and solution algorithms to solve large-scale problems that arise in the areas of transportation, logistics, and renewable energy systems. She focuses on simulation and optimization of the entire supply chain (including, harvesting, pre-processing, storing, and delivering) for biomass as a feedstock for cost effective production of fuels, products, and power. In 2018, she was a postdoctoral associate at Duke University, where she performed quantitative and qualitative research on student interventions and supports programming of educational, career development workshops and community development events for underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students in the biosciences. She earned her Ph.D. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering with a concentration in energy systems from Texas A&M University, where she was an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and received a certificate in Business Management. She received her Master and Bachelor of Science degrees in Industrial Engineering with an emphasis in operations research and a Minor in Mathematics from Mississippi State University. During her M.S. and Ph.D. training, she interned at Idaho National Laboratory and collaborated with multidisciplinary teams at Oak Ridge National Laboratory through her work on biofuels and renewable energy.

Abderrafi Ougouag (Outgoing)
Nuclear Science and Technology

Biography coming soon.






The Ohio State University

Carol Smidts, Ph.D. (Incoming)
INL Technical Point of Contact: Shannon Bragg-Sitton
Nuclear Science & Technology

Dr. Carol Smidts is the director of the Nuclear Engineering Program as well as a professor at the Ohio State University. In addition, Smidts leads the Risk and Reliability Laboratory, which has the goal of providing “strategic direction and guidance in the development of research related to the instrumentation control, and safety of advanced energy systems.” Beginning her career in Belgium, Smidts studied at the University of Brussels (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium), was a consultant for the European Commission Joint Research Center of Ispra in Italy, a postdoc and then joined as an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Currently, Smidts is involved with multiple joint research projects with INL researchers including an INL Laboratory-Directed Research and Development project studying human reliability in micro reactors with INL PI, Dr. Ron Boring.

Oregon State University

Wade R. Marcum, Ph.D.
INL Technical Point of Contact: Alison Conner
Energy & Environment Science & Technology

Dr. Wade R. Marcum is an associate professor in Oregon State University’s School of Nuclear Science & Engineering as well as the Kearney Faculty Scholar in Engineering who holds a joint appointment with Idaho National Laboratory. His research interests include nuclear reactor thermal hydraulics, computational fluid dynamics, reactor safety, flow induced vibration, fluid structure interactions, and advanced reactor design. His INL-related work has focused on hydro-mechanical flow testing, hydro-mechanical fuel testing, in-pile experimental loop design for fast test reactor conditions, and critical heat flux implications for accident tolerant fuel concepts. Dr. Marcum currently oversees five large-scale thermal hydraulic experimental facilities that directly and indirectly support collaborations with Idaho National Laboratory. He earned his doctorate in nuclear engineering, with a minor in mechanical engineering, from OSU, where he also earned his master’s (nuclear engineering) and bachelor’s (mechanical engineering). He was senior reactor operator at the OSU TRIGA Reactor. Since 2010 he has been the owner of Marcum Engineering LLC.

Mitchell Meyer, Ph.D. (Outgoing)
Materials and Fuels Complex

Dr. Mitchell Meyer is the director of the Characterization and Advanced Post-Irradiation Examination division at Idaho National Laboratory’s Materials and Fuels Complex. In this position since February 2015, he has been responsible for strategic planning of new nuclear fuels and material research program, as well as the construction and outfitting of two major new facilities. He studied ceramic engineering at Iowa State University, where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. He came to Idaho in 1996 as a staff ceramic engineer at Argonne National Laboratory–West, and by 2005, he was the U.S. lead for Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI) and gas-cooled fast reactor fuels, interfacing with research partners in Great Britain, France and the European Union. While director of INL’s Nuclear Fuels and Materials Division from 2011 to 2015, he served as national technical lead for Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors (RERTR) Fuel Development.

University of Florida

Assel Aitkaliyeva, Ph.D.
INL Technical Point of Contact: Steven Hayes
Nuclear Science & Technology

Dr. Assel Aitkaliyeva is an assistant professor of nuclear engineering in the University of Florida’s Department of Materials Science & Engineering who holds a joint appointment with Idaho National Laboratory. Before joining the faculty there, in February 2017, she held postdoctoral and staff scientist appointments at INL. She has been named the recipient of several awards, including INL Early Career (2015), Fuel Cycle Research and Development Excellence (2016), and U.S. Department of Energy’s Early Career (2018). Dr. Aitkaliyeva received her doctorate in materials science and engineering in 2012 from Texas A&M University, where she earned her master’s in nuclear engineering in 2009. Her current research interests include nuclear fuels and materials, with emphasis on characterization and property evaluation; mechanical and thermal properties of materials; establishing microstructure-property relationships; reactor irradiation; radiation damage in materials; and 2D materials and their stability in extreme environments.

Michael R. Tonks, Ph.D.
INL Technical Point of Contact: Jason Hales
Nuclear Science & Technology

Dr. Michael Tonks is an associate professor in the University of Florida’s Materials Science and Engineering Department, holding a joint appointment with Idaho National Laboratory. His field of research is computational materials science, with a focus on predicting the co-evolution of microstructure and physical properties within materials at the mesoscale. At University of Florida he uses multiscale modeling and simulation to assist in the development of new and advanced reactor materials. He holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He earned his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University. As a staff scientist at INL from 2009 to 2015, he led development of the lab’s mesoscale MARMOT tool, and used it to develop mechanistic materials models for the engineering-scale BISON tool. He has earned several honors, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the Special Achievement Award from the American Nuclear Society’s Science and Technology Division, and the INL Early Career Exceptional Achievement Award.

University of Idaho

Michael Haney, Ph.D.
INL Technical Point of Contact: Wayne Austad
National & Homeland Security

Dr. Michael Haney is an assistant professor of computer science for the University of Idaho and a cybersecurity researcher for INL. He received his master’s and doctorate in computer science from the University of Tulsa in 2013 and 2015, respectively. He received a bachelor’s in mathematics from the University of Kentucky in 1998. His research interests are in visualization and graph analysis of network and system log data to improve intrusion detection and response for large-scale networks. He studies cybersecurity issues of energy systems supporting a more resilient, “smart” infrastructure. This includes creating models and simulations of large scale industrial cyber-physical control systems (e.g. power generation systems, oil refineries, water treatment plants), modeling and studying the effects of cyberattacks against these systems, and designing tactical security solutions as well as robust risk mitigation strategies for these systems. Prior to joining academia, Haney spent 15 years designing, implementing, and managing information assurance programs for SMB and Fortune 500 clients in many industries, including financial services, energy, retail, healthcare, telecom, software, manufacturing, and education, as well as city, state, and federal government agencies.  He has previously taught security courses for the SANS Institute, Walmart Stores, ISACA, USN SPAWAR, U.S. Secret Service, and the United Kingdom’s Royal Military Police.

Janet E. Nelson, Ph.D.
INL Technical Point of Contact: Zachary Tudor
National & Homeland Security

Dr. Janet E. Nelson is vice president for research and economic development and professor of chemistry at the University of Idaho, holding a joint appointment with Idaho National Laboratory. Before joining the UI faculty, she served as associate vice chancellor for research development at the University of Tennessee.  She is a demonstrated leader with direct career experience across academia, government, not-for-profit organizations, and industry. Nelson has oversight of the UI’s $110 million research enterprise and serves as the principal point of contact for the school in all research-related matters. Nelson holds a doctorate in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She has over 30 years of experience in scientific research, scientific review and research portfolio administration, complex and multi-disciplinary program/project management, business development science policy implementation, and academic administration.

John Russell (Incoming)
INL Technical Point of Contact: Noel Bahktian
Center for Advanced Energy Studies

Biography coming soon.





Robert W. Smith, Ph.D.
INL Technical Point of Contact: Travis McLing
Energy & Environment Science & Technology

Dr. Robert W. Smith is the distinguished professor of subsurface science with the University of Idaho, holding a joint appointment with Idaho National Laboratory. For more than 35 years he has been a biogeochemist in industry, national laboratories and academia, leading complex multi-institutional research and engineering projects focused on energy development, production, utilization, and environmental consequences. He served as a member of the State of Idaho’s Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE 2.0) Commission and is a past member of the Battelle Energy Alliance Board of Managers. A board member of the Clearwater Economic Development Association, Smith is a past board member and officer of Grow Idaho Falls. He holds a doctorate in geosciences from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, where he also earned his master’s in geochemistry. He earned his bachelor’s in geology from Oregon State University. He has authored or co-authored more than 50 reviewed papers, organized and served as editor for the “Scientific Basis for Nuclear Waste Management XXIII” symposium, and given over 100 presentations at national and international scientific conference and meetings. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Nuclear Society, Geochemical Society, and the Geothermal Resources Council.

Zachary (Zach) Tudor (Outgoing)
National & Homeland Security

Zachary Tudor is the Associate Laboratory Director of Idaho National Laboratory’s (INL) National and Homeland Security’s (N&HS) organization, a major center for national security technology development and demonstration, employing scientists and engineers across $300 million in programs for the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and intelligence community. N&HS is responsible for INL’s nuclear nonproliferation, critical infrastructure protection, defense systems and homeland security missions. Those include safeguarding and securing vulnerable nuclear material, enhancing overall security and resilience of the nation’s infrastructure; and providing protective system solutions and heavy manufacturing of armor for national defense. He has more than 30 years’ experience in IT and cybersecurity management, operations and incident response; and holds a M.S. in information systems, with a cybersecurity concentration, from George Mason University.

University of Texas – San Antonio

Mohammad S. Roni, Ph.D. (Outgoing)
Energy & Environment Science & Technology

Dr. Mohammad S. Roni – “Roni” to his friends and colleagues – is a research scientist in the software engineering and data analytics department at Idaho National Laboratory. His work focuses on the development of optimization model and methodological innovations for various R&D projects within INL. To develop analytics solutions/software he has applied a wide range of expertise in optimization theory such as discrete optimization, stochastic optimization, bi-level optimization, and non-convex optimization. Roni earned his master’s and doctorate in industrial and systems engineering from Mississippi State University and his bachelor’s in industrial and production engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. He has been named principal investigator for DOE-sponsored optimization projects. These projects aim to develop integrated process optimization method for a biorefinery and develop real time, integrated dynamic control optimization to improve the operational reliability of a gasifier. He has published more than 22 peer reviewed articles and one book chapter, and delivered numerous technical reports. He is also a member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

University of Wyoming

Amy Banic, Ph.D.
INL Technical Point of Contact: Tammie Borders
Energy & Environment Science & Technology

Biography coming soon.






Virginia Commonwealth University

Milos Manic, Ph.D.
INL Technical Point of Contact: Eric Peterson
Energy & Environment Science & Technology

Dr. Manic is a Professor with Computer Science Department and Director of VCU Cybersecurity Center at Virginia Commonwealth University. He holds a joint appointment through Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls. His research interests include data mining and machine learning applied to cyber security, critical infrastructure protection, energy security, and resilient intelligent control. He earned his doctorate in computer science from University of Idaho. He is an officer of IEEE Industrial Electronics Society, founding chair of IEEE IES Technical Committee on Resilience and Security in Industry, and general chair of IEEE IECON 2018, IEEE HIS 2019. Dr. Manic has won 2018 R&D 100 Award for Autonomic Intelligent Cyber Sensor (AICS). Dr. Manic has authored over 180 refereed articles in international journals, books, and conferences and holds several U.S. patents. He has given over 30 invited talks on machine learning in critical infrastructures, nuclear security and energy resiliency, and intelligent human-machine interfaces around the world.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Xianming (David) Bai, Ph.D.
INL Technical Point of Contact: Jason Hales
Nuclear Science & Technology

Dr. David Bai is an assistant professor in the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Department of Materials Science and Engineering, holding a joint appointment with Idaho National Laboratory. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s in materials science from Fudan University, a master’s in materials science and engineering from Johns Hopkins University and his doctorate in materials science and engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. He came to INL in 2011 as a staff scientist and later was promoted to a senior staff scientist in the Fuels Modeling and Simulation Department. His research interest is computational materials science, in particular computer modeling of radiation effects in nuclear materials. His awards include the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, from Oak Ridge Associated Universities (2018) and TMS Young Leader Professional Development Award, from the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS). He has twice received INL’s exceptional Contributions Program Award.

Universities with Blanket Master Agreements, but no current Joint Appointments

Boise State University
Cal State University, Long Beach
Indiana University
North Carolina State
Penn State University
Purdue University
University of Alaska – Fairbanks
University of Nebraska
University of Utah