Sandra M Davern

Section Head, Radioisotope Research and Development Section

Sandra Davern leads the Radioisotope Research and Development Section in the Radioisotope Science and Technology Division of the Isotope Science and Engineering Directorate. She is also the initiative lead for the Accelerating Radiotherapeutics through Advanced Molecular Constructs (ARM) Initiative and the Accelerating Radiotherapeutic Innovations and Applications (ARIA) Initiative at ORNL.

Sandra came to ORNL in 2015 as a radioisotope researcher with the former Nuclear and Radiochemistry Group in the Isotope and Fuel Cycle Technology Division. Before that, she subcontracted with Xcel Engineering as an environmental scientist for the Department of Energy’s Plant Radiochemistry and Radioimaging Scientific Focus Area.

Her prior experience as a research associate with the Human Immunology and Cancer Program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center continues to inform her research on radiobiology medical applications, and she has been principal investigator for a number of studies in that field. Her teams’ inventions include a deployable human bioindicator, a system using vertically aligned carbon nanofiber arrays for the microdelivery of biomolecules to plants, and monoclonal antibodies with immunodiagnostic capabilities. She has been a lab space manager for radiochemistry R&D labs at ORNL, and her expertise extends to quality assurance for radioisotope processing and production.

Sandra holds a doctoral degree in cell biology from the University College Dublin in Ireland, and a bachelor of science degree in biotechnology from Dublin City University in Ireland. Sandra’s post-doctoral experience was at ORNL in the area of targeted alpha therapy, which has proved to be pivotal to informing her current research interests. She has mentored students and visiting faculty through Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Tennessee State University, East Tennessee State University, Jackson State University, Virginia Tech, New York University, and the University of Tennessee. She is a member of ORNL Women in Physical Sciences, ORNL Women in Nuclear and Global Security, Women in Nuclear (Oak Ridge chapter), the Society for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Chemical Society.