Argonne National Laboratory

Cynthia Jenks named director of Argonne’s Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division

By Jared SagoffJune 8, 2017

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory has named Cynthia Jenks the next director of the laboratory’s Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division, effective July 10.

Jenks currently serves as the assistant director for scientific planning and the director of the Chemical and Biological Sciences Division at DOE’s Ames Laboratory.  She has also served as a co-lead for the “Energy Everywhere” initiative, a coalition of twelve national laboratories to develop solutions to convert diverse, distributed waste feedstocks into fuel and chemicals through modular processes.

As Ames’s assistant director for scientific planning, Jenks played a central role in the development of Ames’s new strategic plan. She has overseen the annual lab planning process and also assisted in the formation of Ames’s communications plans. She was the first scientist to be a part of a national laboratory Mission Readiness team and is part of the laboratory’s Executive Committee.

“From her experience at Ames Laboratory, Cynthia brings experience in science management with a background in chemistry and chemical engineering – an excellent fit to the diverse research program in the Chemical Sciences and Engineering division,” said Harry Weerts, Associate Laboratory Director for Physical Sciences and Engineering at Argonne.

Jenks received her B.S. in chemical engineering in 1986 from the University of California, Los Angeles. She received a M.S. degree in chemical engineering in 1988, and a M.Phil. and Ph.D. in chemistry from Columbia University in 1991 and 1992, respectively. Jenks did her postdoctoral work at Iowa State University and at Ames, joining Ames’s scientific staff in 1995. Her research interests include surface structure and reactivity, surface structure-property relationships, catalysis and thin film growth.

In 2011, she was inducted as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science because of her "major discoveries about surfaces of aluminum-rich quasicrystals, for sustained scientific outreach, and [her] leadership in scientific planning within the Ames Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy."

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science website.