Vice president for research finalists to interview at WSU

Ray,-left,-and-KeanePULLMAN, Wash. – Leaders from two prestigious laboratories in the United States are finalists in Washington State University’s search for a new vice president for research.

Douglas Ray, associate laboratory director for the Fundamental and Computational Sciences Directorate at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, will interview in Pullman on Friday, Jan. 17. Christopher Keane, director of the National Ignition Facility User Office at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will interview in Pullman on Friday, Jan. 31.

“All of us on the search committee are very pleased that two outstanding research leaders will interview for this important position,” said WSU Regents Professor Yogendra Gupta, who chaired the national search and leads the WSU Institute for Shock Physics. “These two individuals emerged as finalists from a strong pool of excellent leaders from major universities, national laboratories and the government.

“Because of their strong credentials, significant accomplishments and strategic viewpoints,” he said, “either of these candidates is very capable of leading WSU’s multi-faceted, multi-campus research enterprise well into the future.”

Ray-80Ray, who has worked at PNNL since 1990, is responsible for overseeing all research at the lab supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and by the National Institutes of Health, approximately $215 million per year. He leads a staff of nearly 700 in four research divisions and is responsible for the PNNL-University of Maryland Joint Global Change Research Institute in College Park, Md., as well as the University of Washington-PNNL Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing.

Ray was named an American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow in 2012. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and earned a bachelor’s degree in physics at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

Keane-80Keane leads the User Office of the National Ignition Facility – a $1.5 billion enterprise – at LLNL and works with a user group of approximately 400 members. He has worked at the lab since 2007, following positions of increasing responsibility with the U.S. Department of Energy 1995-2007. His last position, 2004-2007, at the DOE was assistant deputy administrator for inertial confinement fusion and the NIF Project.

An astrophysicist by training, Keane has authored more than 100 scientific publications. He is a member of the American Physical Society and a recipient of the NNSA Silver Medal, the Defense Programs Award of Excellence and the Fusion Power Associates Special Award. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University and holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and engineering from the University of Rochester.

Each candidate’s visit will include meetings with WSU President Elson S. Floyd and administrative and faculty leaders, as well as a statewide public forum. More information about the candidates and participation in the forum is available at

The vice president for research will succeed Nancy Magnuson, who has held the position on an interim basis.



Kathy Barnard, WSU University Communications, 509-335-8055,