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Cazalas Group


University of Utah

Fall 2023

Left to Right: Jacob Strong, Jesse Snow, Codey Olson, Edward Cazalas

Edward Cazalas, Ph.D., CAZ-RAD Leader

I am an Assistant Professor of the Nuclear Engineering program within the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Utah. I have research interests in nuclear and radiation physics and engineering. I have worked at National Laboratories (Sandia, PNNL), Universities (Penn State, Oregon State), and Think Tanks (RAND Co.). In my free time, I like to golf, hike, and ski. I am a certified Alpine Level II instructor (PSIA-I) and enjoy snow and mountain biking. Growing up in Gettysburg, PA, I have a strong interest in Civil War history.



Radiation Detection

Our group is broadly interested in the development of  radiation detection materials, devices, technologies, and understanding of radiation detection physics.  This includes detection of gamma-rays, charged particles, and neutrons for applications in nuclear security, safety, dosimetry, and science.

Radiation Effects in Electronics

Our group investigates the effects of radiation on the performance of electrical transistors and devices at the fundamental level. We strive to understand the impact that radiation has on the modification of the electrical characteristics of electrical devices and transistors due to everyday exposure, space radiation, and nuclear survivability scenarios.


Our group studies the measurement and impact of radiation to living beings and electronics. To study the level of radiation tolerance to a system, the radiation dose is required to be measured and understood - based on radiation type and energy, exposure time, and intermediate shielding.

Simulation and Modeling

To guide all our work, we rely on accurate models and simulations that recreate the physics of radiation interaction and energy deposition. We utilize many different simulation tools, including MCNP, GEANT4, SRIM/TRIM, and COMSOL.



Pennsylvania State University

Ph. D. Nuclear Engineering

Thesis Title: "Radiation Sensitivity of Graphene Field Effect Transistors and Other Thin Film Architectures."

Graduate of the Nuclear Security Program (joint program funded by NNSA with Penn State, MIT, and Texas A&M).


Oregon State University

M.S. Nuclear Engineering

Thesis Title: "Design, construction, and analysis of a skin contamination dosimeter."


Pennsylvania State University

B.S. Astrophysics

B.A. Philosophy

Fall 2018 - Present

Assistant Professor

Nuclear Engineering Program

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

Feb. 2021 - Mar. 2022

Nuclear Engineering Consultant

Photogenics (a Division of Mission Support Inc.)

Orem, UT

2016 - 2018

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Nuclear Engineering Program

Department of Engineering Physics

Air Force Institute of Technology


2015 - 2016

Stanton Nuclear Security Post-Doctoral Fellow

RAND Corporation

Arlington, VA

mission support.jpg

Ph.D. Graduate Students

Jesse Snow - Ph.D. Student - Nuclear Engineering


B.S., Applied Physics, University of Utah.

M.S., Nuclear Engineering, University of Utah.

Accepted into UU Nuclear Engineering Ph.D. Program starting Fall 2021. 


Jesse is pursuing a Nuclear Engineering masters degree at the University of Utah. His current area of research is in neutron detection. Jesse grew up in Texas, but has spent some years of his life living around the world. He enjoys playing music, long walks on a beach, and too many sweets.


CAZRAD since 2019, received M.S. with Cazalas as advisor.

Picture pending

Master's Students

Logan Jackson - M.S. - Nuclear Engineering

B.A., Physics, Concordia College - Moorhead


Pursuing M.S., Nuclear Engineering at University of Utah

I am currently a master's student with the University of Utah's Nuclear Engineering program. I grew up in Ogden, Utah and my passion for Nuclear Engineering began Sophomore year in my Modern Physics course at Concordia College. My biggest hobby is ice hockey. I've been able to play hockey all over North America and recently played for both Concordia College and the University of Utah over the last several years. I'm currently transitioning into becoming a coach.


CAZRAD since May. 2024


Will Bates - M.S. - Nuclear Engineering

B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Utah.


Graduated from University of Utah with M.S. in Nuclear Engineering.

Will continues his work within the U.S.A.F.

Born and raised in Utah, a University of Utah Chemical Engineering alumni. My professional background is in acquisitions as a civilian for the United States Air Force with the Nuclear Weapons Center. My current interests are focused in radiation detection and nuclear chemistry.


CAZRAD since Dec. 2020


Undergraduate Students

Alex Gilbreath - B.S. Student - Chemical Engineering

Alex Gilbreath.jpg

Pursuing B.S. Chemical Engineering and Minor in Nuclear Engineering from University of Utah

Alex is a student in the Chemical Engineering and Nuclear Engineering programs and has a particular interest in fusion technology. He is from Austin, Texas and enjoys playing basketball and skiing in his free time.

CAZRAD since 2024 - Anticipated graduation 2025.

Jacob Strong - B.S. Student - Physics and Applied Mathematics


Pursuing B.S. Physics and B.S. Applied Mathematics from University of Utah

Jacob Strong has current research interests in fields of  nuclear engineering and algebraic geometry. He grew up in Utah, Colorado, and Texas, and his future plans include pursuing a graduate school degree as well as founding a martial arts school. In his free time, Jacob enjoys going out into nature.

CAZRAD since 2023 - Anticipated graduation 2024.

Ryan Godin - B.S. Student - Mechanical Engineering

Graduated from University of Utah with B.S. in 2020.

Currently, within the Nuclear Navy.

CAZRAD since 2019

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Aaron Fjeldsted - B.S. Student - Civil Engineering


Graduated from University of Utah with B.S. in 2020.


Currently a graduate student at Penn State in Nuclear Engineering.

I am studying Civil Engineering and pursuing the Nuclear Engineering minor from the University of Utah. My interests include neutron detection and nonproliferation. I am also a senior captain on the University’s lacrosse team. When I’m not in the classroom, or on the practice field, I’m spending time in Utah’s beautiful mountains.

CAZRAD since 2020

Graduated Ph.D. Students

Codey Olson - Ph.D. - Nuclear Engineering

Ph.D. Nuclear Engineering, University of Utah, 2019 - 2023

B.A. Mathematics/Physics, Wartburg College, Waverly, IA


I grew up in LaMotte, IA and decided to study physics and mathematics around my junior year of high school. After a few years of undergrad, I had the opportunity to participate in the Nuclear Forensics Undergraduate Summer School (NFUSS) program here at the U in the summer of 2018. This is where my interest in nuclear really spiked and I’ve been pursuing graduate studies in the field since.

Dr. Olson's dissertation: "Computational and Experimental Characterizations of Radiation Sources and Detection Systems."

Now at University of Utah Office of Radiation Safety.


Teancum Quist, Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering


Ph.D., Nuclear Engineering, University of Utah, 2018 - 2023

M.S. Health Physics and Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Georgetown University, 2014 - 2015

B.S. Physics, Utah State University, 2007 - 2013


My primary focus in studies, and previous employment, has been the development and implementation of radiation detection devices. This includes the development and testing of novel detection systems, and evaluation of these systems to meet proposed needs.

Dr. Quist's dissertation: "Modernizations in the Measurement and Analysis of Low-Flux Neutron Sources."

Now at Idaho National Laboratory (INL).

Other Photos


Cazalas Group


University of Utah

Fall 2022

Left to Right: Codey Olson, Teancum Quist, Jesse Snow, Edward Cazalas


Cazalas Group


University of Utah

Fall 2021

Left to Right: Codey Olson, Teancum Quist, Jesse Snow, Edward Cazalas


Cazalas Group


University of Utah

Fall 2020

Left to Right Top: Codey Olson, Edward Cazalas

Left to Right Bottom: Jesse Snow, Teancum Quist


Cazalas Group


University of Utah

Fall 2019

Left to Right: Teancum Quist, Jesse Snow, Codey Olson, Edward Cazalas

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