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Xin Sun

Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Science and Technology

As ORNL’s Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) for the Energy Science and Technology Directorate, Dr. Xin Sun leads a $305 million research portfolio focused on translating science into solutions for the most critical problems facing society at the nexus of energy and security.

The Energy Science and Technology Directorate (ESTD) comprises three research divisions: Buildings and Transportation Science, Manufacturing Science and Electrification and Energy Infrastructure. ESTD is home to four of the Department of Energy’s national user facilities – the Building Technologies Research and Integration Center, the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility, the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, and the National Transportation Research Center. ESTD also supports the Grid Research Integration and Deployment Center in the advancement of solutions for a secure, reliable electric delivery system; and the Battery Manufacturing Facility, which focuses on developing energy storage technologies.

Under Dr. Sun’s leadership, ESTD staff work within a culture of entrepreneurship to deliver breakthroughs in energy from generation to distribution and storage to end use in support of Department of Energy missions.

Dr. Sun joined ORNL in 2017 as the Energy Science and Transportation Division Director where she received the 2018 Division Level Research Leadership Award. Prior to joining ORNL, Dr. Sun was a Laboratory Fellow and Technical Group Leader for Computational Engineering at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. 

Dr. Sun is well known for applying the fundamental mechanics and physics principles in developing multi-scale characterization and simulation tools to accelerate the development to deployment cycles of lightweight metals and advanced energy systems. She is an international authority in Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) and has led a multitude of research initiatives with ICME in the areas of carbon capture simulation and lightweight materials.

Dr. Sun is a prolific researcher with more than 170 peer-reviewed journal publications and 10 books/book chapters.  She has delivered more than 60 invited talks and has received multiple prestigious awards, which include Institute Medal Awards (2019, 2018) American Iron and Steel Institute, R&D100 (2016), University of Michigan Alumni Society Merit Award (2009), PNNL Laboratory Director’s Award for Exceptional Engineering Achievement (2008), and the Barbour Scholarship for Oriental Women at University of Michigan (1993).