New head for Physical Sciences at Los Alamos National Laboratory named

Ellen Cerreta chosen to lead associate laboratory directorate

December 9, 2022


Ellen Cerreta is Los Alamos National Laboratory’s new associate Laboratory director for Physical Sciences. Cerreta, who most recently led the Materials Science and Technology Division, brings more than 20 years of experience to the role. Her appointment began Dec. 5.

Cerreta is responsible for overseeing the development and application of a broad set of capabilities in materials science and experimental physics to programs and problems of national importance, including through the stewardship and advancement of the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center. The directorate includes five research and development divisions, a facility operations division, two program offices and the three Los Alamos-based national user facilities.

Cerreta holds a bachelor’s of science in aerospace engineering from the University of Virginia and master’s and doctoral degrees in materials science and engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. She joined the Lab in 2001 as a postdoctoral fellow in the then Structure-Property Relations group.

Most recently, as MST division leader, Cerreta has overseen the integration of the division’s capabilities, supporting advances in research, development and component manufacturing. The division applies fundamental materials expertise to a range of national security needs including nuclear energy, nonproliferation and global threat reduction.

Previously, she was deputy division leader for Explosive Science and Shock Physics and the Weapons Engineering Directorate’s High Explosive Safety program manager. Before that, Cerreta was group leader and a scientist in the Materials Science in Radiation and Dynamic Extremes group. Cerreta has led a number of projects to investigate dynamic materials performance and provide insight toward advanced predictive capabilities for strength and damage in extreme environments.

Throughout her career, Cerreta has been deeply involved in a number of professional societies and working with academia. She was the 2021 president of The Minerals Metals and Materials Society and has served on the TMS and ASM International board of directors and board of trustees, respectively. She is a 2016 ASM International fellow. Formerly known as the American Society for Metals, ASM International is an association of materials-centric engineers and scientists.