Two New Directors Join INL

Noel Bakhtian and Todd Combs

Two new directors have joined the Idaho National Laboratory, Dr. Noël Bakhtian with the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) and Todd Combs for INL's Energy and Environment Science & Technology directorate.

Dr. Noël Bakhtian (CAES)

Dr. Noël Bakhtian has been named as the new director of CAES and began her new role on May 15, 2017. Bakhtian most recently served as senior policy advisor for environment and energy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

“Dr. Bakhtian’s energy policy and technical experiences span the programmatic portfolio of CAES,” said Idaho National Laboratory director Mark Peters. “She will help forward the CAES mission of conducting advanced energy research, educating the next generation of scientists and engineers, and partnering with industry to advance our regional competitiveness.”

Prior to OSTP, Bakhtian served as the inaugural Energy-Water Nexus lead at the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of International Affairs, worked as technical lead on numerous innovative grant programs for DOE’s Wind and Water Power Technologies Office, consulted on energy R&D and investment for DARPA, served as an energy and environment fellow in the U.S. Senate, and worked as a graduate researcher at NASA Ames Research Center.

She also serves as a trustee of the Summer Science Program, a science education nonprofit organization, and is the energy and environment associate editor for the Science & Diplomacy Journal.

Bakhtian earned a doctorate in engineering at Stanford University’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics; holds master’s degrees from Stanford University and the University of Cambridge, where she was a Churchill Scholar; and completed a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Duke University, where she was a Pratt Fellow.

Bakhtian succeeds Mike Hagood, who has been serving as acting director of CAES.

CAES is a research and education consortium between Boise State University, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho State University, University of Idaho and University of Wyoming.

Todd Combs (Energy and Environment Science & Technology)

Idaho National Laboratory has a new associate laboratory director for Energy and Environment Science & Technology (EES&T). Todd Combs began his role as the EES&T ALD on May 1. Prior to joining INL, Combs was the director of the Global Security Sciences Division at Argonne National Laboratory. In this position, he led a multidisciplinary research team of over 200 employees finding solutions to protect against, mitigate, and respond to, and recover from a wide spectrum of national and global security threats. 

Prior to this role, Combs served nearly 14 months as ANL’s interim associate laboratory director for Energy and Global Security, where he led an applied R&D organization of over 800 that addressed domestic and global sustainable energy and security issues. In this role he oversaw research and operational activities of the energy systems, nuclear engineering, and global security sciences divisions. 

He has also managed ANL’s advanced grid modeling program for DOE, and ANL’s relationship with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, he was an operations research scientist and served as group leader of the Transportation Planning and Decision Science group.

Combs’ research has included energy systems modeling and analysis for DOE, most recently related to critical materials supply chains; as well as the application of modeling and simulation to national and homeland security issues for DHS and the Department of Defense.

Todd earned his doctorate in operations research and master’s degree in operations analysis from the Air Force Institute of Technology and is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Date Published: 2017-06-05T06:00:00Z