photo of woman with brown hair and blue eyes

Tyler L Spano

R&D Staff Nuclear Security Scientist- Chemistry

I am a native of New Jersey and completed my B.A. in Earth Science and Chemistry in 2012 from Kean University, and Ph.D. in Uranium Mineralogy and Nuclear Forensics at the University of Notre Dame in 2017. My graduate research with Dr. Peter C. Burns focused on synthesis and structure-property relationships in uranium minerals and inorganic phases. I was co-advised by Dr. Antonio Simonetti during graduate school and completed a ND Energy Postdoctoral fellowship under his direction during where I developed novel nuclear forensic methods for analysis of uranium minerals and nuclear fuel cycle materials.

Following my postdoctoral research at the University of Notre Dame, I completed a two-year postdoctoral appointment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory where she investigated synthetic pathways and spectral signatures of exotic uranium oxide phases and phase transitions in uranyl peroxides. In 2020, I converted to an R&D Associate Nuclear Security Scientist and am currently an R&D Staff Nuclear Security Scientist at within the Materials and Chemistry Group at ORNL.

My current research includes material synthesis, optical vibrational spectroscopic, and X-ray diffraction investigations of structure-property relationships of nuclear fuel materials and related phases for nuclear nonproliferation. I am is actively involved in outreach activities and currently serves as Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for the Mineralogical Society of America, Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee for the Nuclear Science and Technology Division of the American Chemical Society, and Vice President of the East Tennessee Chapter of the American Chemical Society’s Women Chemists Committee.


Ph.D., Uranium Mineralogy and Nuclear Forensics

University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN – January 2018


B.A., Earth Science, Chemistry minor, summa cum laude 

Kean University, Union, NJ – May 2012