August 17, 2023
The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education has named its next Beryllium Testing Laboratory (Be Lab) manager. After nearly a decade of leadership, the current manager, Ann Gehl, is retiring and the lab’s associate manager, Melissa Jones, has been tapped to take her place.
ORISE is a leader in beryllium studies and maintains a comprehensive beryllium exposure testing program for the U.S. Department of Energy that assesses the health effects to workers who have been exposed to airborne beryllium. Beryllium is used in many industries including aerospace, defense and nuclear weapons production. The ORISE Be Lab is one of only three laboratories in the United States that performs the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT). In 2022, the lab processed more than 8,000 BeLPTs. The staff’s commitment has resulted in stellar accuracy with the lab currently achieving an error rate of less than 0.01%, as well as CAP and CLIA certifications for lab quality and safety.
“We considered a handful of strong candidates,” Ashley Golden, senior director of the ORISE Health Studies Program, said. “The research and testing we do here are very important to the federal government and to the men and women who work to advance and protect our country. Through the interview process, our decision was clear. Melissa Jones possesses the best acumen in performing a high complexity test, management experience and interpersonal demeanor to be successful in this position. I am confident that Melissa is the leader the Be Lab needs to continue to be a top performing, high quality laboratory supporting DOE’s worker health and safety mission.”
Jones was hired as a laboratory medical technologist seven years ago before being promoted to associate lab manager. She says she is grateful to already have knowledge of the Be Lab gained under the leadership of Ann Gehl, and she anticipates it will serve her well in her new role.
“My goal is for our laboratory to continue to provide high-quality work and build upon our reputation as an outstanding DOE lab. I am motivated and encouraged by the confidence that has been placed in my abilities and continued support of the administration. I look forward to the new challenges and opportunities the manager role provides,” Jones said.
In the next year, Jones will lead the Be Lab as they validate new equipment. They will complete training modules, conduct parallel testing and make adjustments before fully transitioning to the new instruments. Jones’ promotion to manager takes effect Aug. 19. Gehl’s last day on the job is Aug. 25.
The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) asset that is dedicated to enabling critical scientific, research, and health initiatives of the department and its laboratory system by providing world class expertise in STEM workforce development, scientific and technical reviews, and the evaluation of radiation exposure and environmental contamination.
ORISE is managed by ORAU, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, for DOE’s Office of Science. The single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.osti.gov.