As Jefferson Lab’s Associate Director for Experimental Nuclear Physics, Cynthia Keppel is responsible for the execution of the experimental nuclear physics program of the laboratory and leading more than 170 staff members. She serves as the primary interface for the laboratory’s international user community of more than 1,600 scientists.
Cynthia has been affiliated with Jefferson Lab since 1995. She began at the lab as a jointly appointed Jefferson Lab staff scientist and Hampton University (HU) professor, soon after becoming director of the HU Nuclear and High Energy Physics Research Center. She became the Jefferson Lab Hall A leader in 2012. In this role, she took responsibility for one of the four large experimental halls and collaborations. In 2014, she was named combined Hall A/C leader and then associate director for experimental physics in 2021. Throughout, she has been instrumental in the lab’s experimental programs. Her nuclear science interests are in the partonic description of nucleon and meson structure, a phenomenon termed quark-hadron duality, precision cross section measurements, and novel instrumentation.
Cynthia has also been very active in applying nuclear science instrumentation to radiation medicine applications. She founded the HU Center for Advanced Medical Instrumentation, established and co-directed the HU joint medical physics program with the Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS). This program was the first medical physics program in Virginia and the only one nationally at a historically black college. She took a lead role in the development and then served as the scientific & technical director, then senior executive director, of the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute. Throughout, she has maintained a role as community professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at EVMS.
Cynthia Keppel earned a bachelor's degree from Saint John's College and a master's degree and Ph.D. from The American University for work at DOE’s Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in California. She has authored or co-authored more than 180 scientific papers and been chosen as spokesperson by her peers for numerous experiments. She has also authored twelve patents. Cynthia has been tapped to participate on a myriad of national advisory panels and been invited to speak at many international conferences on her work.
Over the course of her career, Cynthia has received numerous awards and honors. She received a prestigious DOE Office of Science Distinguished Scientist Fellowship in 2020, which has in part facilitated the establishment of the Jefferson Lab Center for BioMedical Technology Development, which she co-directs. She was awarded the American Physical Society (APS)Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics 2019 Distinguished Lectureship Award on the Applications of Physics, the Francis G. Slack Award from the Southeastern Section of the APS in 2016, and the Virginia Outstanding Scientist award in 2011. She was recognized by her peers with an APS Fellowship in 2018. Her intellectual property has received both Medical Technology Breakthrough and R&D 100 awards (2018). At HU, she received a Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award as the youngest recipient ever,an NSF CAREER award, and attracted over $38 million in extramural research support.