About Us

The McDonald Research Lab focuses on three primary topic areas: environmental radiochemistry, spent nuclear fuel reprocessing, and nuclear forensics. While these topics may seem quite diverse, they are all interrelated and devoted to our core research philosophy of improving our fundamental knowledge of basic radionuclide material properties to aid in the rapid detection of hostile nuclear materials, remediate and dispose of radioactive materials in an environmentally responsible manner, and develop advanced processes for the recycling of spent nuclear fuel. 

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Recent Publications
  • Schwerdt, I. J.; Olsen, A.; Lusk, R.; Heffernan, S.; Klosterman, M.; Collins, B.; Martinson, S.; Kirkham, T.; McDonald IV, L. W., Nuclear forensics investigation of morphological signatures in the thermal decomposition of uranyl peroxide. Talanta 2018, 176, 284-292.
  • Schwerdt, I. J.; Brenkmann, A.; Martinson, S.; Albrecht, B. D.; Heffernan, S.; Klosterman, M. R.; Kirkham, T.; Tasdizen, T.; McDonald IV, L. W., Nuclear proliferomics: A new field of study to identify signatures of nuclear materials as demonstrated on alpha-UO3. Talanta 2018, 186, 433-444.
  • Olsen, A.; Schwerdt, I.; Richards, B.; McDonald, L. W., Quantification of high temperature oxidation of U 3 O 8 and UO 2. Journal of Nuclear Materials 2018.
  • Levinthal, J. D.; Richards, B.; Snow, M. S.; Watrous, M. G.; McDonald, L. W., Correlating NORM with the mineralogical composition of shale at the microstructural and bulk scale. Applied Geochemistry 2017, 76, 210-217.
  • Olsen, A. M.; Richards, B.; Schwerdt, I.; Heffernan, S.; Lusk, R.; Smith, B.; Jurrus, E.; Ruggiero, C. E.; McDonald, L. W., Quantifying Morphological Features of α-U3O8 with Image Analysis for Nuclear Forensics. Analytical Chemistry 2017.
  • McDonald IV, L. W.; Campbell, J. A.; Vercouter, T.; Clark, S. B., Characterization of actinides complexed to nuclear fuel constituents using ESI-MS. Analytical chemistry 2016, 88, (5), 2614-2621.
  • McDonald IV, L. W.; Campbell, J. A.; Clark, S. B., Failure of ESI Spectra to Represent Metal-Complex Solution Composition: A Study of Lanthanide–Carboxylate Complexes. Analytical chemistry 2014, 86, (2), 1023-1029.
  • McDonald IV, L.; Goheen, S.; Donald, P.; Campbell, J., Identification and Quantitation of various Inositos and O-Methylinositols in Plant Roots Related to Soybean Cyst Nematode Host Status. Nematropica 2012, 42, (1), 1-8.
  • Vaughan, P. P.; Novotny, P.; Haubrich, N.; McDonald, L.; Cochran, M.; Serdula, J.; Amin, R. W.; Jeffrey, W. H., Bacterial Growth Response to Photoactive Quinones. Photochemistry and photobiology 2010, 86, (6), 1327-1333.
  • Garland, S.; Goheen, S.; Donald, P.; McDonald, L.; Campbell, J., Application of derivatization gas chromatography/mass spectrometry for the identification and quantitation of pinitol in plant roots. Analytical Letters 2009, 42, (13), 2096-2105.
  • April 16, 2018: Adam submitted his Ph.D. dissertation to his committee! His defense is coming up in a few weeks!
  • April 9, 2018:  The Mac Rad Lab gave five presentations at the MARC Conference on using morphological and oxygen isotope signatures for nuclear forensics!
  • August 23, 2017: Adam, Ian, and Erik presented in the Nuclear Forensics Session at the 254th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Washington, DC.
  • August 21, 2017:  Adam Olsen was awarded a Second Place prize in the Open Competition of the Innovations in Nuclear Technology R&D Awards program in the category of Material Protection, Control, and Accountancy. His award-winning research paper, “Quantifying Morphological Features of α-U3O8 with Image Analysis for Nuclear Forensics,” was published in the journal Analytical Chemistry in March 2017.
  • July 28, 2017: Adam's publication in Analytical Chemistry won second place in the 2017 Innovations in Nuclear Technology R&D Award Program! Way to go Adam!
  • July 26, 2017: Adam and Ian presented posters at the Interagency Technical Nuclear Forensics Program Review at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Ian won a top poster award!
  • July 23, 2017: Ian's paper titled "Nuclear Forensics Investigation of Morphological Signatures in the Thermal Decomposition of Uranyl Peroxide" was accepted to Talanta with minor revisions!
  • May 23, 2017: Ian and Adam will be presenting posters at the Actinide Separations Conference at Argonne National Lab. Stop by and ask them tough questions :-)
  • ​May 19, 2017: The Mac Rad Lab had four abstracts accepted for oral presentations at the 254th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Washington, DC!
  • ​March 26, 2017: We got one of our top recruits! Alexa Hanson will be joining the Mac Rad Lab this Fall!
  • ​January 26, 2017: Adam's paper "Quantifying Morphological Features of α-U3O8 with Image Analysis for Nuclear Forensics" was just accepted to Analytical Chemistry!
  • January 4, 2017: Forbes Recognizes Prof. McDonald as One of "30 Under 30".  http://www.coe.utah.edu/2017/01/04/1186233/