J. Patrick Fitch Named Deputy Lab Director for Science & Tech

J. Patrick "Pat" Fitch has been selected as the next deputy Laboratory director for Science, Technology, and Engineering (DDSTE) at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). He replaces John Sarrao who left LANL late last year to be the director of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and Mark Chadwick, who has served as the interim DDSTE since Sarrao's departure.

Since 2018, Fitch has served as LANL's associate Laboratory director for Chemical, Earth, and Life Sciences (ALDCELS), home to Chemistry, Earth & Environmental Sciences, and Biosciences Divisions and Applied Energy and Biological & Environmental Research Programs. ALDCELS supports a wide range of LANL programs ranging from basic science to operations and from deep underground to extraterrestrial locations. Jeanne Robinson, ALDCELS COO, will serve as acting ALDCELS until Fitch's permanent replacement is hired.

Prior to LANL, Fitch was president of the Battelle National Biodefense Institute, LLC, where he stood up and then led for over a decade the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) - one of the nation's largest maximum biocontainment laboratories (BSL-2, 3, and 4) and home to the National Bioforensic Analysis Center. His biodefense, pathogen, and toxin R&D interests were preceded with work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) on the human genome, medical devices, imaging, national security, and computer architectures and algorithms. He was part of a team that developed and demonstrated the world's fastest computer.

Fitch received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Purdue University and bachelor's degrees in physics and engineering science from Loyola University Maryland. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), recipient of three Secretary of Energy Achievement Awards, two FLC Excellence in Technology Transfer Awards, an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers international best paper award, an Association for Biosafety and Biosecurity national best poster award, and an LLNL S&T Award. Pat has chaired and participated in several activities of the National Academies (NASEM) - most recently the 2022 expert meeting for the assessment of methods and tools for identification of pandemic origins.

"I am honored to be given this opportunity and look forward to working with the DDSTE team, our partners across LANL, and our external stakeholders," Fitch said. "We have a strong ST&E base that is well-positioned to address current and emerging challenges at national and global scales."

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