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Dr. Debra Kaiser

Dr. Debra L. Kaiser is Technical Program Director, Advanced Materials and Nanoparticles and Environment, Health and Safety (NanoEHS). She was formerly Chief of the Ceramics Division in the NIST Material Measurement Laboratory (MML). Her research at NIST as a staff member and group leader focused on establishing processing-structure-property linkages in thin film and single crystal oxide materials, including high temperature superconductors for energy systems and perovskites for optoelectronic and memory storage devices. For the past three years, Dr. Kaiser has coordinated a NIST-wide partnership with the National Cancer Institute’s Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL), whose mission is to perform preclinical efficacy and toxicity testing of nanoparticles for cancer treatment. NIST’s role in this ongoing partnership is to provide advanced physico-chemical measurement methods, standards, and data on relevant nanoparticles. As part of this project, MML led the production of three gold nanoparticle reference material (RM) standards (10 nm, 30 nm, and 60 nm), the first nanoparticle standards for biomedical applications.

Her current research interests also include:

  • Environmental, health, and safety risks of nanomaterials and products that incorporate nanomaterials
  • Reference material and documentary standards for physico-chemical measurements of nanoparticles of commercial importance
  • Measurement tools and methods and standard reference materials and data for advanced inorganic materials used in electronic, energy, health, and nanomechanical applications.

kaiser_fig1 kaiser_fig2 kaiser_fig3
(Left) Atomic force microscopy image of 30 nm gold nanoparticles. (Center) NIST gold nanoparticle RMs 8011, 8012, and 8013. (Right) Optical micrograph of a twinned yttrium-barium-copper-oxide superconducting single crystal.

Awards and Honors

  • Department of Commerce Silver Medal, Group Award, 2008
  • Executive Committee Member, American Association for Crystal Growth, 1996-present
  • President, American Association for Crystal Growth, 2002-2005
  • Young Scientist Award for Excellence in Scientific Research, NIST Chapter of Sigma Xi, 1995
  • Young Author Award, American Association for Crystal Growth, 1993
  • Bronze Medal Award, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1990
  • Outstanding Technical Achievement Award, IBM, 1989
  • St. Joe Minerals Corporation Fellowship, MIT, 1981-1985
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi
External Committee

  • NCL Scientific Oversight Committee, NIST representative
  • Materials Research Society (MRS) Government Affairs Committee, Government Agency Selection Subcommittee Chair
  • MRS Technical Program Committee, Meetings Quality Subcommittee member


Technical Program Director, Advanced Materials
Materials Measurement Science Division

Employment History:

2012-present: Technical Program Director, Advanced Materials and NanoEHS
2003-2012: Chief, Ceramics Division, NIST
2001-2002: Program Analyst, NIST Director's Office, NIST
1999-2001: Leader, Thin Film Characterization and Properties Group, Ceramics Division, NIST
1988-1999: Materials Research Engineer, Ceramics Division, NIST
1987-1988: Visiting Scientist, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
1985-1987: Postdoctoral Fellow, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center


Sc.D., Metallurgy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1985
M.S., Metallurgical Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, 1980
B.S., Materials Science, Lehigh University, 1979


Phone: 301-975-6119
Email: dkaiser@nist.gov
Fax: 301-975-5334