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Tara M. Lovestead (Fed)

Group Leader

Dr. Tara Lovestead received a B.S. in nutrition at Virginia Tech and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her graduate studies were researching non-classical kinetics of multifunctional photopolymerizations. Her first postdoc was at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. After traveling the world for 5 months with her husband Ray, she began her career at NIST with both the PREP and NRC Postdoctoral Fellowships. Currently, she is the group leader of the Fluid Characterization Group in the Applied Chemicals and Materials Division. The group specializes in the development of novel methods for analyzing vapors and fluid mixtures to serve public health and safety, criminal justice, and industry. Dr. Lovestead is a co-PI on the Chemical Foundations for a Cannabis Breathalyzer program, leading the breath collection collaboration with the University of Colorado to identify biomarkers in the breath indicative of recent use of cannabis. She is also active in the program to develop dynamic vapor microextraction (DVME) for measuring thermophysical properties of low volatility, unstable and reactive compounds important for forensics and industry. Dr. Lovestead is also part of a new team and research program at NIST that successfully competed in the Innovations in Measurement Science Program, which will provide funding to develop spectroscopic measurements of intermolecular interactions in solution. [IMS link]

Full publication record available at Google Scholar.

NRC postdoctoral fellowship opportunities


Breath Measurements of Acute Cannabis Use (BACE): Towards Reliable Determination of Recent Use. Department of Justice (DOJ)/National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Co-Principal Investigator, Award # DJO-NIJ-22-RO-0003, Jan. 2022 – Dec. 2024

NIST Material Measurement Laboratory (MML) Collaboration and Teamwork Award, 2022

NIST MML Mentor Award, 2021

Innovation in Measurement Science Award, NIST, 2020, Funding 2020-2024

Chemical Foundations for a Cannabis Breathalyzer. DOJ/ NIJ, Co-Principal Investigator, Award # DJO-NIJ-19-RO-0008, Jan. 2019 – Dec. 2022

NIST MML Team Award for Outreach, 2018

The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2013, Funding 2017-2022

National Academy of Science/National Research Council postdoctoral associateship program, 2009-2011

Award winning poster in Physics, Chemical Science and Technology, & Materials Science and Engineering Laboratories Category, Boulder Laboratories Poster Session, NIST, Boulder, Colorado, 2008


The need for multicomponent gas standards for breath biomarker analysis

Kavita Jeerage, Jennifer Berry, Jacolin Murray, Cassie Goodman, Paulina Piotrowski, Christina Jones, Christina Cecelski, Jennifer Carney, Katrice Lippa, Tara Lovestead
Exhaled breath is a non-invasive, information-rich matrix with the potential to diagnose or monitor disease, including infectious disease. Despite significant
Created August 15, 2019, Updated December 8, 2022