Lab Leadership

Michael Witherell

Berkeley Lab Director
Phone: (510) 486-5111
Location: 50A-4133 | Mail Stop: 50A-4119
[email protected]

Michael Witherell is a leading physicist with a highly distinguished career in teaching, research and managing complex organizations. He has received numerous honors and recognitions for his scientific contributions and achievements. Witherell is the former director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in northern Illinois and last held the Presidential Chair in Physics at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) where he was also vice chancellor for research. He was named director of Berkeley Lab by the UC Board of Regents in January, 2016.

Witherell went to UCSB in 1981 as an assistant professor of physics from Princeton University. Soon after joining UCSB, he led a Fermilab experiment that collected and studied the first large sample of charmed particles observed with a silicon microstrip vertex detector. As a result of that experiment, Witherell was awarded the W. K. H. Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics from the American Physical Society in 1990.

In 1999 Witherell was appointed director of Fermilab, the DOE laboratory dedicated to high-energy physics. During his six years as director, Fermilab upgraded the Tevatron accelerator complex, the highest-energy collider then operating. The laboratory also completed a $150 million project to build a long-baseline neutrino facility, which sent a beam of neutrinos 450 miles underground to a detector built at the Soudan Underground Laboratory in northern Minnesota.

In 2005 Witherell rejoined the UC Santa Barbara faculty as vice chancellor for research, where he manages research administration and technology commercialization. He also supervises interdisciplinary research institutes in marine science, earth science, neuroscience, social sciences and ethnic studies, in addition to the California Nanosystems Institute and six sites of the UC Natural Reserve System.

In 2010, while continuing as UCSB vice chancellor for research, Witherell returned to conducting research on the nature of dark matter. He joined the LUX collaboration, which completed the most sensitive search for interactions of dark matter particles with normal matter.

Witherell is also part of an international research team that designed the LUX-Zeplin (LZ) project, an experiment that will be three orders of magnitude more sensitive than LUX. In 2014 the LZ project was selected as the largest next-generation dark matter experiment in the DOE’s High Energy Physics program.

Witherell is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He currently chairs the Board on Physics and Astronomy at the National Academies; sits on the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy at the National Academies; is a member of the American Physical Society’s Physics Policy Committee; and, serves on the Board of Directors for Science for Nature and People. Witherell is the 2004 recipient of the Energy Secretary’s Gold Award.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1973 and his B.S. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1968.

Horst D. Simon

Berkeley Lab Deputy Director for Research
Phone: 510-486-6100  |  Fax: 510-486-6720
Location: 50A-4133  |  Mail Stop: 50A-4119
HDSi[email protected]

Horst Simon, an internationally recognized expert in computer science and applied mathematics, was named Berkeley Lab’s Deputy Director on September 13, 2010. Simon joined the Lab in early 1996 as director of the newly formed National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), and was one of the key architects in establishing NERSC at its new location in Berkeley. Under his leadership NERSC enabled important discoveries for research in fields ranging from global climate modeling to astrophysics. Simon was also the founding director of Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division, which conducts applied research and development in computer science, computational science, and applied mathematics.

Simon’s research interests are in the development of sparse matrix algorithms, algorithms for large-scale eigenvalue problems, and domain decomposition algorithms for unstructured domains for parallel processing. His algorithm research efforts were honored with the 1988 and the 2009 Gordon Bell Prize for parallel processing research. He was also member of the NASA team that developed the NAS Parallel Benchmarks, a widely used standard for evaluating the performance of massively parallel systems. He is co-editor of the biannual TOP500 list that tracks the most powerful supercomputers worldwide, as well as related architecture and technology trends. He holds an undergraduate degree in mathematics from the Technische Universtät, in Berlin, Germany, and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley. For more information about Horst Simon, visit his website.

Michael Brandt

Berkeley Lab Deputy Director for Operations
Phone: (510) 486-5111 | Fax: (510) 486-6498
Location: 50A-4112E | Mail Stop: 50A4112
[email protected]

As Deputy Laboratory Director for Operations and Chief Operating Officer, Michael Brandt oversees the Laboratory’s operations and mission support organizations and programs, including Environment, Health and Safety, Facilities Management, Financial Services, Human Resources, Information Technology, Project and Construction Management, Institutional Assurance and Integrity, and Project Management.

Brandt was appointed to his current position as of March 5, 2018. He is a leader and executive with more than 30 years of progressively increasing responsibility and accountability for business services, ESH, facilities, enterprise risk management, and operations. He has worked as a manager in the chemical and synthetic fuels industry, research and development, manufacturing, DOE nuclear and high hazard operations, and non-governmental agencies.

Prior to coming to Berkeley Lab, Brandt served as the Associate Director of Environment, Safety, and Health for Los Alamos National Security, LLC, where he led an organization of 750 employees with an operating budget of more than $150M. He was responsible for Lab-wide ESH activities for roughly 11,000 employees operating in a 38-square-mile site that houses specialized and complex scientific experiments, operations, and supporting facility infrastructure.

Brandt has published more than 40 papers and delivered more than 100 invited technical, scientific, and leadership presentations. He has held academic appointments at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, the University of New Mexico, and at the College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma where he taught graduate students. He has mentored more than a dozen students and served on a number of thesis committees. He served as President of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), was elected fellow of the AIHA in 2007, and continues to serve on its technical and leadership committees.

Brandt holds a doctorate in public health with a specialty in Environmental Health Sciences, and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. He earned a M.S. in Environmental Health and Industrial Hygiene from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health; and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Cook College of Rutgers University. He is a certified industrial hygienist and a certified project management professional.

Mary E. Maxon

Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences
Phone: (510) 486-6416
Location: 978-4124 | Mail Stop: 978R4121
[email protected]

Berkeley Lab’s Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences oversees the Biological Systems & Engineering, Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology, and Molecular Biophysics & Integrated Bioimaging Divisions, as well as the DOE Joint Genome Institute. She has been integral to the strategic planning efforts and development of the Area for four years, most recently as the Biosciences Principal Deputy. She received a Ph.D. in molecular cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to coming to the Lab, Maxon worked in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, as well as the public sector; this service was highlighted by her tenure as the Assistant Director for Biological Research at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President, where she developed the National Bioeconomy Blueprint. With her extensive background in industry, scientific foundations, and state and federal government, Maxon is a national leader in science and technology policy. She has helped the Lab develop important initiatives, including Microbes to Biomes, the National Microbiome Initiative, BRAIN, the Agile BioFoundry, and the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine.

Katherine A. Yelick

Associate Laboratory Director for Computing Sciences
Phone: 510-495-2431  |  Fax: 510-486-4300
Location: 59-3026  |  Mail Stop: 59R3022B
[email protected]

Berkeley Lab’s ALD for Computing Sciences oversees the Laboratory’s Computational Research Division, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) and the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet).  Katherine Yelick is a Senior Faculty Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California at Berkeley. She was the Director of NERSC from 2008 through 2012 and has served as ALD for Computing Sciences since September 2010. Yelick is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Association for Arts and Sciences. She is also a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and recipient of the ACM/IEEE Ken Kennedy award and the ACM-W Athena award. She has also served as a member of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC), the National Academies Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), and the California Council on Science and Technology.


Jeffrey B. Neaton

Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Sciences
Phone: (510) 486-4527 | Fax: (510) 486-6033
Location: 50B-4240 | Mail Stop: 50B-4230
[email protected]

Berkeley Lab’s Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Sciences oversees the Chemical Sciences and Materials Sciences Divisions, as well as the lab’s two Basic Energy Sciences-sponsored national scientific User Facilities, the Advanced Light Source and the Molecular Foundry. Jeffrey B. Neaton is​ ​a Senior Faculty Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory​ and ​a Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley. He is the Associate Director of the Center for Computational Study of Excited-State Phenomena in Energy Materials at Berkeley Lab and a member of the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute at UC Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in physics under Neil Ashcroft from Cornell University, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Rutgers University. After having worked as a postdoc and staff scientist at the Molecular Foundry, he became Director of the Molecular Foundry in 2013. Neaton is a recipient of a DOE Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers award, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

James Symons

Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Sciences
Phone: (510) 486-5670  |  Fax: (510) 486-6003
Location: 50-4053  |  Mail Stop: 50-4049
[email protected]

Berkeley Lab’s Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Sciences champions the highly-accomplished research divisions in accelerator and fusion research, engineering, nuclear science, and physics. James Symons received his D.Phil from Oxford University, where he studied nuclear structure, and began his career at Berkeley Lab in 1977 as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Since that time, he has held scientific research and management roles, and also currently serves as the Director of the Nuclear Science Division. His research interests are in experimental nuclear physics, including nuclear structure and relativistic heavy ion collisions. As Division Director, he oversees the 88-inch Cyclotron. He is a member of the STAR (Solenoid Tracker at RHIC) experiment at the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), designed to study particle production at temperatures and densities similar to that found during the early universe. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, and has served on numerous national and international panels, including the Department of Energy/National Science Foundation Nuclear Advisory Committee (NSAC), which he chaired from 2000 – 2002.

Ravi Prasher

Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Technologies
Phone: (510) 486-7291 | Fax: (510) 486-4260
Location: 070-0109A | Mail Stop: 70R0108B
[email protected]

Berkeley Lab’s Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Technologies has laboratory-wide responsibility for accelerating the translation of basic and applied research results into real world energy applications. Ravi Prasher holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi. Prior to his ALD appointment in July 2018, he was director of the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources (ESDR) Division, where he led the Lab’s research on batteries, fuel cells, and grid modernization. He is also an adjunct professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at UC Berkeley. Prior to joining the Lab in 2015, Prasher was the vice president of product development of Sheetak Inc., a startup developing solid-state thermoelectric energy converters. Earlier, he was one of the first program directors at DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), where he created programs for cooling/heating of buildings and thermal storage. He also worked at Intel and was an adjunct professor in the school of engineering at Arizona State University from 2005 to 2013.

Susan Hubbard

Associate Laboratory Director for Earth & Environmental Sciences
Phone: (510) 486-5266 | Fax: (510) 486-5686
Location: 74-308 | Mail Stop: 74R-316C
[email protected]

Berkeley Lab’s Associate Laboratory Director of the Earth & Environmental Sciences oversees Climate and Ecosystem Sciences and Energy Geosciences. Susan Hubbard earned her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley. She has worked at the US Geological Survey and for industry, was the Director of the Earth Sciences Division at Berkeley Lab from 2013-2015, and is an Adjunct Professor at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on the development and use of geophysical approaches to provide new insights about Earth system processes that influence contaminant remediation, carbon cycling, water resources, and subsurface energy systems. She has led or contributed to many initiatives, including Berkeley Lab’s current Water-Energy Resiliency and Microbes-to-Biomes Initiatives and the DOE Subsurface Crosscut. Susan is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America. She has served on many advisory boards, including the DOE Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee (BERAC) and California Council of Scientific Technology (CCST). For more information, please visit

Kim Williams

Chief Financial Officer
Phone: (510) 486-7362 | Fax: (510) 486-4944
Location: 971-0201 | Mail Stop: 971-CFO
[email protected]

Berkeley Lab’s Chief Financial Officer is responsible for the Laboratory’s fiduciary, financial, procurement and property management systems. Kim Williams joined Berkeley Lab in 2006 and was the Division Deputy for Operations in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD). Prior to joining the Lab, she held executive management and chief financial officer positions with financial and academic organizations, including the Pacific Stock Exchange. Her experience also includes leadership of strategic initiatives and management of contracts and grants; business, regulatory and compliance matters, and other operational functions. Williams received her MBA from UC Berkeley.