Alyssa Brand recently joined the ALS safety team. She’s not new to the Lab—she previously worked at the Molecular Foundry and in the EH&S Division. She is excited to join the ALS and learn more about all the science going on here.
What does your role as the ALS’s chemical safety specialist entail?
I’ll be overseeing the chemical safety at the beamlines and in our user chemistry laboratories, as well as ensuring that the ALS complies with all relevant regulations and Lab policy. Additionally, I’ll be here to facilitate any chemical work that needs to be done in support of the beamline experiments, such as keeping track of our chemical inventory, providing orientations to the user chemistry labs, taking care of post-experiment chemicals, and generally helping out wherever I can.
What was your path to this role?
When I started at LBNL, I was at the Molecular Foundry working as a research associate in the Inorganic Nanostructures Facility. In that position, I did a lot of hands-on work—working with users, training them on how to use equipment, giving them lab orientations, helping them with their procedures, all kinds of stuff.
Then I got really interested in the safety aspects because I started to really care for the people who were coming through. I wanted to make sure that they were able to do their work safely. So, I moved into Environment, Health, and Safety (EH&S), and that allowed me to gain a lot of new experience with policy and regulation and where all this stuff comes from in terms of why we do things the way that we do.
The position at the ALS just seems like the absolute best of both worlds, where I can be directly helping people to comply with any regulations or policies and to make that as easy for people as possible. And I look forward to facilitating the research and also bringing my experience working directly in a laboratory to bear. I was drawn to this position specifically for the opportunity to be more involved in a tangible way with the researchers and what they’re doing. This will be a way to bring all of the experience that I’ve had so far into one job. And not to mention the ALS is an incredibly exciting place, and I can’t wait to learn more about the work that goes on here.
What are you most excited about?
My past experience with the ALS was mostly collaborations between the Molecular Foundry and the ALS. A lot of the users at the Molecular Foundry would also be ALS users because once you’ve synthesized a nanomaterial, you need to characterize it. And in general, if you’re characterizing a nanomaterial or a material that has nanoscale features on it, the ALS is the place to go.
I am really looking forward to learning more about the research and just learning new things every day. I can’t wait to talk to people about what they’re doing—not just the safety aspects, but I get really curious about the nature of the research as well.
Please be patient with me while I learn the ropes. I’m going to ask you a lot of questions!
What are your hobbies, and what do you like to do for fun?
As far as hobbies are concerned, I am kind of a nerd [Editor’s note: Aren’t many of us?]. I enjoy board games and role-playing games and stuff like that. And I am a total video game nerd. But I also enjoy rock climbing indoors in a gym. I haven’t gotten up the skill yet to try outdoor rock climbing. I’m also a fiber artist—I like crochet and knitting and stuff like that. And I also do jewelry work, like wire wrapping. [Editor’s note: She actually made the pendant she is wearing in the second picture.]