Dawn A Shaughnessy

Division Leader
Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division
Email: shaughnessy2@llnl.gov
Phone: +19254229574


  • PhD, Nuclear Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, 2000
  • BS, Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, 1993


Dawn Shaughnessy received a BS in chemistry and a PhD in nuclear chemistry, both from the University of California at Berkeley. After obtaining her PhD, Dawn spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Glenn T. Seaborg Institute at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where she studied the environmental behavior of plutonium and neptunium. In 2002, she came to LLNL as a member of the Stockpile Radiochemistry Group. From there, she served as the principle investigator of the Heavy Element Program, the responsible scientist for radiochemical diagnostics at the National Ignition Facility, and the group leader of both the Nuclear and Radiochemistry group in the Nuclear and Chemical Sciences division and the Nuclear and Radiochemistry group in the Joint High Energy Density Science organization. She has served as the principle investigator on a wide variety of projects in the areas of plasma nuclear science, fission data measurements, nuclear forensics, and heavy element chemistry. In 2018–2019, she was the technical editor for the laoratory publication Science and Technology Review and currently she is the division leader of the Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division.

Shaughnessy’s research interests include nuclear data measurements in high energy density plasma environments, properties of nuclear fission, automated radiochemical methods for national security and heavy element applications, and novel atom-at-a-time chemistry. She also has previous research experience in actinide chemistry, target preparation methods, and environmental behavior of radionuclides.

Awards and Honors

  • American Chemical Society Fellow (2018)
  • LLNL Director’s Science and Technology Award (2016)
  • Number 9, 100 Most Creative People in Business for 2016, Fast Company (2016)
  • LLNL Early and Mid-Career Recognition Program Award (2015)
  • University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business Leadership Institute (2014)
  • LLNL NIF and Photon Science Directorate Award (2014)
  • Defense Programs Award of Excellence (2014)
  • LLNL Global Security Directorate Award (2013)
  • Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee for Excellence in Science (2012)
  • DOE Office of Science Outstanding Mentor Award (2010)
  • Gordon Battelle Prize for Scientific Discovery (2010)
  • DOE/NNSA Award of Excellence (2005)

Selected Publications

E.P. Abel, M. Avilov, V. Ayres, E. Birnbaum, G. Bollen, G. Bonito, T. Bredeweg, H. Clause, A. Couture, J. DeVore, M. Dietrich, P. Ellison, J. Engle, R. Ferrieri, J. Fitzsimmons, M. Friedman, D. Georgobiani, S. Graves, J. Greene, S. Lapi, C.S. Loveless, T. Mastren, C. Martinex-Gomez, S. McGuinness, W. Mittig, D. Morrissey, G. Peaslee, F. Pellemoine, J.D. Robertson, N. Scielzo, M. Scott, G. Severin, D. Shaughnessy, J. Shusterman, J. Singh, M. Stoyer, L. Sutherlin, A. Visser, and J. Wilkinson, “Isotope harvesting at FRIB: Additional opportunities for scientific discovery”, J. Phys. G – Nucl. Part. Phys. 46, 100501 (2019).

J.A. Shusterman, N.D. Scielzo, K.J. Thomas, E.B. Norman, S.E. Lapi, C.S. Loveless, N.J. Peters, J.D Robertson, D.A. Shaughnessy, and A.P. Tonchev, “The surprisingly large neutron capture cross-section of Zr-88”, Nature 565, 328 (2019).

K.J. Moody, N. Gharibyan, D.A. Shaughnessy, P.M. Grant, C.B. Yeamans, J.D. Despotopulos, and C.J. Cerjan, “Fractionation of copper activation products in debris samples from the National Ignition Facility”,Appl. Rad. Isot. 143, 163 (2019).

J.D. Despotopulos, D.A. Shaughnessy, N. Gharibyan, K.J. Moody, P.M. Grant, C.B. Yeamans, and C.S. Waltz, “Distribution of collected target debris using the large area solid debris radiochemistry collector”, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 89, 10I33 (2018).

C.J. Cerjan, L. Bernstein, L.B. Hopkins, R.M. Bionta, D.L. Bleuel, J.A. Caggiano, W.S. Cassata, C.R. Brune, J. Frenje, M. Gatu-Johnson, N. Gharibyan, G. Grim, C. Hagmann, A. Hamza, R. Hatarik, E.P. Hartouni, E.A. henry, H. Herrmann, N. Izumi, D.H. Kalantar, H.Y. Khater, Y. Kim, A. Krutcher, Y.A. Litvinov, F. Merrill, K. Moody, P. Neumayer, A. Ratkiewicz, H.G. Rinderknecht, D. Sayre, D. Shaughnessy, B. Spears, W. Stoeffl, R. Tommasini, C. Yeamans, C. Velsko, M. Wiescher, M. Couder, A. Zylstra, and D. Schneider, “Dynamic High Energy Density Plasma Environments at the National Ignition Facility for Nuclear Science Research,” J. Phys. G – Nucl. Part. Phys. 45, 033003 (2018).

N. Gharibyan, D.A. Shaughnessy, K.J. Moody, P.M. Grant, J.D. Despotopulos, S.A. Faye, D.R. Jedlovec, C.B. Yeamans, “Recent Advances and Results from the Solid Radiochemistry Nuclear Diagnostic at the National Ignition Facility,” Rev. Sci. Instrum. 87, 11D813 (2016).

D.A. Shaughnessy, N. Gharibyan, K.J. Moody, J.D. Despotopulos, P.M. Grant, C.B. Yeamans, L.B. Hopkins, C.J. Cerjan, D.H.G. Schneider, and S. Faye, “Nuclear Science Research with Dynamic High Energy Density Plasmas at NIF,” 9th International Conference on Inertial Fusion Sciences and Applications (IFSA 2015) (E. Storm, ed.), J. Phys. Conf. Ser. 717, 012080 (2016).

N. Gharibyan, K.J. Moody, J.D. Despotopulos, P.M. Grant, and D.A. Shaughnessy, “First Fission Yield Measurements at the National Ignition Facility: 14-MeV Neutron Fission of U-238,” J. Radioanal. Nucl. Chem. 303, 1335 (2015).

D.A. Shaughnessy, K.J. Moody, N. Gharibyan, P.M. Grant, J.M. Gostic, P.C. Torretto, P.T. Wooddy, B.B. Bandong, J.D. Despotopulos, C.J. Cerjan, C.A. Hagmann, J.A. Caggiano, C.B. Yeamans, L.A. Bernstein, D.H.G Schneider, E.A. Henry, and R.J. Fortner, “Radiochemical Determination of Inertial Confinement Fusion Capsule Compression at the National Ignition Facility,” Rev. Sci. Instrum. 85, 063508 (2014).