STEM Professional of the week

Carlos Fraga, Ph.D.      
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

As a Senior Research Scientist in the Chemical and Biological Sciences Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Dr. Carlos Fraga, for the past 13 years, has conducted research using state-of-the-art instrumental and chemometric approaches. He focuses on developing technologies to counter threats from weapons of mass destruction. His recent work involved the improvement of data analysis algorithms for current ion mobility sensors, the multivariate calibration of a new optical sensor, PCA detection of nuclear threats, automated gas separations and handling for nuclear comprehensive test ban treaty applications, and chemical forensics. Recognized for his breakthrough scientific achievements, his research is centered around the areas of analytical chemistry, and applying this technology to forensic studies of national and international importance, generally dealing with high level national security issues. He is an expert in combing chemical separation methods such as comprehensive two dimensional gas chromatography combined with time-of-flight mass spectrometry detection, followed by chemo-metric multivariate data analysis software to address emerging challenges in forensics.

Prior to joining PNNL, Dr. Fraga spent 12 years as an Air Force Reserve Lieutenant Colonel, managing and conducting research dealing with the sampling, detection, and fate, of chemical weapon related compounds. He also taught chemistry at the Air Force Academy and led a 13-member radiochemical separations group that processed samples for subsequent analyses of radionuclides using various radiation detectors and mass spectrometers.

One to always promote STEM fields, he participates in various outreach activities with the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez and Florida International University in Miami. Dr. Fraga is also involved with promoting STEM fields to underserved communities, he initiated and maintains relationships with professors and academic departments at minority serving institutions in order to ensure that there is a pipeline of talented graduates to PNNL.

Originally from Houston, Texas, Dr. Fraga currently resides in Richland, Washington with his wife and three children. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a Master's degree in the same major from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Washington. He is the author of one book chapter and 20 publications in peer-reviewed journals including six chemical-forensic papers. Dr. Fraga was the recipient of a HENAAC Luminary Award in October 2013.

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