Rian Bahran portrait

Rian Bahran 

Adjunct Associate Professor


Dr. Rian Bahran currently serves as Assistant Director for Nuclear Technology and Strategy in The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) leading policy development and providing advice to the President and the Executive Office of the President on issues related to nuclear energy and fusion energy, security, and emerging technology. One of his main focus areas has been in helping lead efforts to re-establish U.S. leadership in nuclear energy. This includes prioritizing initiatives to deploy flexible and versatile small modular reactors and microreactors, secure and sustain the nuclear fuel supply chain, enhance the energy resilience of critical infrastructure, and compete globally. Dr. Bahran received a PhD in Nuclear Engineering & Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) based on research in support of the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program and Laboratory research complex. He also has a Dual BS in Nuclear Engineering & Engineering Physics from RPI and began his career at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). He later served as a program manager and R&D Engineer in the Nuclear Engineering Division at LANL where, in 2018, he was a recipient of the prestigious “Most Promising Asian Engineer of the Year.” Dr. Bahran also served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy as a Senior Science and Policy Adviser from 2019 to 2021. In 2021, For his exemplary performance during his time at the Pentagon, he received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service. Dr. Bahran has held several adjunct faculty university positions within nuclear engineering programs and has lectured at 25+ universities; was 2020 Fellow of the MIT Seminar XXI national security program; served as an associate editor of the Journal for Nuclear Materials Management; and is the author of 65+ publications (including in Nature Communications) on a wide range of technical nuclear issues.


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Nuclear Science & Engineering 2013
  • Bachelor of Science (Dual B.S.), Nuclear Engineering & Engineering Physics 2006

Research Interests

Professional Service

  • The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, 2021 – Present, Assistant Director for Nuclear Technology and Strategy
  • Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, 2019 – 2021, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense, Senior Science & Policy Adviser to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2013 – 2019, Senior R&D Nuclear Engineer and Program Manager
  • University of New Mexico, 2018 – 2020, Associate Research Professor, Department of Nuclear Engineering
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2017 – 2020, Adjunct Faculty in Nuclear Engineering, Department of Nuclear Engineering
  • Naval Nuclear Laboratory, 2007 – 2013, Graduate Research Assistant, Advanced Naval Nuclear Reactors Program
  • General Atomics, Inc., 2006, R&D Intern, Small Modular Reactor Program


  • Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service (2021), the highest civilian award for  exemplary performance  
  • Los Alamos Distinguished Performance Large Team Recipient (2019),“National Criticality Experiment  Research Center Measurements”  
  • Most Promising Asian American Engineer of the Year Award (2018) “developing transformative  nuclear technology solutions”  
  • Department of Energy Joule Award (2018), “Contributing to the development of an analysis tool for  the International Atomic Energy Agency”