Paul Langan, a senior scientist and distinguished research staff member at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been named ORNL’s associate laboratory director for neutron sciences.
Langan will lead the laboratory’s neutron science activities, which include two leading DOE Office of Science user facilities for neutron scattering analysis: the Spallation Neutron Source, or SNS, and the High Flux Isotope Reactor, or HFIR.
“As associate laboratory director, Paul will further broaden our role in neutron sciences globally, expand our instrument capabilities, and prepare for a second target station at the SNS,” ORNL Director Thom Mason said in a press release.
Langan came to ORNL in April 2011 as director of the Center for Structural Molecular Biology, and in October of that year, he became founding director of the Neutron Sciences Directorate’s Biology and Soft Matter Division. In each role, Langan has partnered with other ORNL directorates to build strong multidisciplinary research programs that exploit the neutron scattering capabilities at ORNL, the press release said.
A native of Edinburgh, Scotland, Langan received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Edinburgh University and his doctorate from the physics department of England’s Keele University.
Langan’s career in neutron science has included stops at the ISIS neutron and muon source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxford, United Kingdom; at the Institut Laue Langevin in Grenoble, France; and at DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory.
He is a joint faculty professor of cellular and molecular biology at the University of Tennessee and a prestige research professor of chemistry at the University of Toledo.
The release said Langan’s most recent research accomplishments have been in applying neutrons to study enzyme mechanism and drug binding, developing novel technologies and computational methods for neutron macromolecular crystallography, integrating neutron scattering with high-performance computing, and providing a detailed understanding of the cellulose and lignin components of cellulosic biomass.
Mason thanked Ron Crone for his stewardship as acting associate laboratory director for neutron sciences since February, during which the SNS attained a new beam power record, and SNS and HFIR enjoyed record numbers of visiting users.
Langan’s appointment is effective January 1.