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ORNL's Communications team works with news media seeking information about the laboratory. Media may use the resources listed below or send questions to news@ornl.gov.

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Omar Demerdash

With the rise of the global pandemic, Omar Demerdash, a Liane B. Russell Distinguished Staff Fellow at ORNL since 2018, has become laser-focused on potential avenues to COVID-19 therapies.

Coronavirus research

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have used Summit, the world’s most powerful and smartest supercomputer, to identify 77 small-molecule drug compounds that might warrant further study in the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which is responsible for the COVID-19 disease outbreak.

CellSight allows for rapid mass spectrometry of individual cells. Credit: John Cahill, Oak Ridge National Laboratory/U.S. Dept of Energy

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have received five 2019 R&D 100 Awards, increasing the lab’s total to 221 since the award’s inception in 1963.

Water and energy are inextricably linked, yet in our 20th-century water systems we use freshwater once then throw it away. With innovations designed to enhance desalination technologies, agricultural runoff, produced water from industry, and inland brackish groundwater that are now seen as untreatable could all be sources of clean, safe, and affordable water.

The National Alliance for Water Innovation, a partnership of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, other national labs, university and private sector partners, has been awarded a five-year, $100 million Energy-Water Desalination Hub by DOE to address water security issues in the United States.

Desalination process

A new method developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory improves the energy efficiency of a desalination process known as solar-thermal evaporation. 

Alex Johs at ORNL's Spallation Neutron Source

Sometimes solutions to the biggest problems can be found in the smallest details. The work of biochemist Alex Johs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory bears this out, as he focuses on understanding protein structures and molecular interactions to resolve complex global problems like the spread of mercury pollution in waterways and the food supply.

Desalination diagram

A team of scientists led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory used carbon nanotubes to improve a desalination process that attracts and removes ionic compounds such as salt from water using charged electrodes.

Methanogen_mercury_study3.jpg

Biologists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center have confirmed that microorganisms called methanogens can transform mercury into the neurotoxin methylmercury with varying efficiency across species.

Ryan Kerekes is leader of the RF, Communications, and Cyber-Physical Security Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Photos by Genevieve Martin, ORNL.

As leader of the RF, Communications, and Cyber-Physical Security Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Kerekes heads an accelerated lab-directed research program to build virtual models of critical infrastructure systems like the power grid that can be used to develop ways to detect and repel cyber-intrusion and to make the network resilient when disruption occurs.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher Halil Tekinalp combines silanes and polylactic acid to create supertough renewable plastic.

A novel method developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory creates supertough renewable plastic with improved manufacturability. Working with polylactic acid, a biobased plastic often used in packaging, textiles, biomedical implants and 3D printing, the research team added tiny amo...