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David A LaVan

Project Leader. Mechanical Engineer.

David LaVan is a Project Leader in the Materials Measurement Science Division within the Material Measurement Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  He works on the development of new MEMS based thermal sensors for materials characterization including high speed and high throughput approaches and integration of the nanocalorimeters into electron microscopes and mass spectrometers.  He was a Meeting co-Chair for the Fall 2018 MRS Meeting and awarded the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal in 2018.  He was selected for the U.S. National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering in 2006 and Keck Futures Initiatives in 2009 on Synthetic Biology and in 2004 on Nanostructures.  He received his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida and his Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University.  Before joining NIST, he was a post-doctoral fellow at Sandia National Labs, a research affiliate/associate in the MIT-Harvard Health Sciences & Technology program and an assistant professor at Yale University.

Research Interests

  • Characterization of MEMS and nanomaterials
  • Nanocalorimetry
  • Biomimetic materials
  • Combinatorial methods
  • Biomaterials


  • U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award 2018
  • Keck Futures Initiative on Synthetic Biology 2009
  • U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Frontiers of Engineering, 2006
  • Keck Futures Initiative on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 2004
  • 'Spot' Recognition Award, Sandia National Laboratories, 1999
  • First Place, Society for Experimental Mechanics Student Paper Competition, 1997


Created October 9, 2019, Updated May 20, 2020