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Special Lectures

State of the Art Lectures

Micro Mechanics and Advances in DEM

Jidong ZhaoJidong Zhao, Professor in Computational Geomechanics of Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Chang Jiang Scholar Chair Professor of Ministry of Education, China

Dr. Jidong Zhao is Professor in Computational Geomechanics of Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Chang Jiang Scholar Chair Professor of Ministry of Education, China. He earned both his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. from Tsinghua University, Beijing. Dr. Zhao’s research has been focused on developing advanced computational tools to model and understand the multiscale, multiphysics nature of granular media relevant to their engineering and industrial performance in geotechnical engineering, energy extraction and carbon sequestration, pharmaceutical industry, and powder technology.

Innovations in Beneficial Use and Characterization of On-Specification and High Organic Content Fly Ashes

Susan BurnsSusan Burns, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

Susan E. Burns, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE is a Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Associate Chair for Administration and Finance at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Dr. Burns' research focuses on applications in geoenvironmental engineering, with particular emphasis on the beneficial use of waste materials including dredged sediments, fly ash, and biomass fly ash, treatment of highway stormwater runoff using engineered materials, erosion control of soils on highway rights-of-way, interfacial behavior of organic- and inorganic-coated soils, the transport and behavior of microbubbles in otherwise saturated porous media, and the hydraulic conductivity and consolidation properties of fine-grained soils using seismic piezocone penetration testing (SPCPT).

System-Level Sensing or Distributed Sensing

Kenichi SogaKenichi Soga, Ph.D., F.ASCE, University of California, Berkeley

Kenichi Soga is the Donald H. McLaughlin Chair in Mineral Engineering and a Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His current research activities are infrastructure sensing, performance based design and maintenance of infrastructure, energy geotechnics, and geomechanics. He has published more than 450 journal and conference papers and is the co-author of "Fundamentals of Soil Behavior, 3rd edition" with Professor James K Mitchell.

Non-Invasive Subsurface Site Characterization

Brady CoxBrady Cox, Ph.D., Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Utah State University

Prior to joining USU, Dr.Cox served on the faculty of The University of Texas for 8 years and The University of Arkansas for 6 years. Dr. Cox specializes in geotechnical engineering, with emphasis on issues related to seismic design and in-situ site characterization for major construction projects. His research efforts combine experimental field testing with computational analyses and high-performance computing for subsurface imaging purposes.

He has led teams deployed to collect seismic site characterization data at ground motion recording stations, soil liquefaction sites, and structural failures following significant earthquakes in the U.S. and around the world (e.g., Ecuador, Haiti, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, Turkey). He has also participated in numerous dynamic site characterization projects for the seismic design of critical facilities (e.g., nuclear power plants, U.S. DOE laboratory sites, bridges, tunnels) in the U.S. and abroad.

Site Response Analysis for Nuclear Facilities

Ellen RathjeEllen Rathje, Ph.D., P.E., F. ASCE, University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Ellen M. Rathje is the Janet S. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin (UT), and a Senior Research Scientist at the UT Bureau of Economic Geology. She has expertise in the areas of seismic site response analysis, seismic slope stability, liquefaction, field reconnaissance after earthquakes, and remote sensing.

Dr. Rathje is a founding member and previous Co-Chair of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association, and currently the Principal Investigator for the cyberinfrastructure for the NSF-funded Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI).


Marek RodriguezAdrian Rodriguez-Marek, Ph.D., M.ASCE, Virginia Tech

Professor Adrian Rodriguez-Marek obtained his Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley in Civil Engineering in the year 2000. He then joined the faculty at Washington State University and since 2010 is a faculty member in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Virginia Tech.

Dr. Rodriguez-Marek research and teaching is in the area of geotechnical earthquake engineering with a focus on site response and seismic hazard analysis. He has published extensively on various topics, including site response, ground motion characterization, and the treatment of uncertainty in seismic hazard analysis.

Dr. Rodriguez-Marek has also participated as a consultant in various seismic hazard assessment projects for nuclear power plants and critical facilities around the world. Dr. Rodriguez-Marek is the current chair of the Center for Geotechnical Practice and Research at Virginia Tech.

Liquefaction Triggering and Damage Potential

Russell GreenRussel Green, PhD, PE, F.ASCE, Virginia Tech

Dr. Russell Green is a Professor of Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, in the Geotechnical Engineering Program area. He was previously on the faculty at the University of Michigan and has held visiting faculty positions at Chuo University, Tokyo, Japan, the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, and the University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

The primary focus of Russell’s research is in the areas of geotechnical earthquake engineering, and soil and site improvement. He has participated in post-earthquake investigations in the US, Iceland, Haiti, Japan, and New Zealand.

Bio-Inspired Geotechnics – Emerging Opportunities and Solutions

David FrostDavid Frost, Ph.D, P.E, P.Eng, F.ASCE, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. J. David Frost is the Elizabeth and Bill Higginbotham Professor of civil engineering. A core focus throughout Frost’s career has been the study and analysis of natural and man-made disasters.

His research is centered on the development and implementation of digital data collection systems for studying subsurface problems related to earthquakes and other disasters at multiple scales and he has received 2 U.S. patents for multi-sensor subsurface data collection systems.

For more than 20 years, he has served on or led NSF-supported post-disaster study teams following earthquakes in US, Turkey, India, China and Chile as well as at the World Trade Center complex following the 9/11 attacks and he served as a member of the external review board for the NIST report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers.

State of the Practice Lectures

Climate Change and the Role of Geosytems Research for Mitigation and Adaptation

Patricia CulliganPatricia J. Culligan, PhD, C.Eng, F.ASCE, FICE, University of Notre Dame

Patricia Culligan is the Matthew H. McCloskey Dean of Notre Dame’s College of Engineering. She is internationally recognized for her expertise in water resources and geo-environmental engineering, including her work on sustainable urban infrastructure for stormwater management.

Prior to joining Notre Dame, Culligan was the Department Chair and Carleton Professor of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at Columbia University, where she also served as the Founding Associate Director of Columbia’s Data Science Institute and on the Executive Committee of the Earth Institute. Culligan is the author or co-author of more than 190 technical articles.


Andrew WhittleAndrew Whittle, PhD, PE, NAE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Andrew J. Whittle is the Edmund K. Turner Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT. He is an expert in geotechnical engineering, whose research deals principally with formulation of constitutive models for representing the complex mechanical properties of soils.

His research has been widely used in the design of foundation systems for deepwater oil production facilities and in major urban excavation and tunneling projects. He has led research efforts in a variety of environmental sensing applications including wireless sensor networks for city-scale monitoring of water distribution systems. Whittle is licensed professional engineer (NY) and an active consultant who has worked on more than 30 major onshore and offshore construction projects.

Reducing Losses from Natural Disasters and Failures of the Built Environment

Judith Mitrani-ReiserJudith Mitrani-Reiser, Ph.D., A.M.ASCE, Senior Research Scientist in the Structural Systems Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Dr. Judith Mitrani-Reiser is a Senior Research Scientist in the Structural Systems Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Judy is at the lead of the NCST technical investigation of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida and the leader of the mortality project of the NCST investigation of Hurricane Maria’s impact on Puerto Rico.

Judy’s responsibilities at NIST also extend to managing and providing oversight to other disaster statutory programs—the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program and the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program—focused on interagency coordination to reduce losses in the U.S. from disasters and failures.

Using Advanced Finite Element Method (FEM) Modeling and Soil Property Measurements in Dense Urban Development

Wystan CarswellWystan Carswell, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, Haley & Aldrich, Inc.

Dr. Carswell is a geo-structural engineer for Haley & Aldrich, Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts. She holds a B.S. in civil engineering from Lafayette College, and M.S./ Ph.D. in structural and geotechnical engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Funded by a National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education Research and Traineeship (NSF IGERT), she spent 5 months as a visiting researcher at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute in Oslo, Norway focusing on offshore wind turbine foundation soil-structure interaction. In practice, her work has focused on complex soil-structure interaction problems and excavation support systems.

Sustainability Assessments and Metrics in Geotechnical Engineering

Kimberly MartinKimberly Martin, Ph.D., P.E., ENV SP, M.ASCE , Keller-NA

Dr. Kimberly Martin is a Senior Engineer at Keller-NA. Her current role is to develop and implement Keller’s Sustainability Strategy in North America. This includes leading innovation initiatives to support Keller’s carbon targets.

Kimberly previously worked in the oil and gas industry as a lead geotechnical engineer on development projects across the globe. Kimberly holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Arizona and an M.S. in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. She recently completed her Ph.D. at Arizona State University with a focus on bio-inspired geotechnics and lifecycle sustainability within geotechnical engineering. In addition, Kimberly is devoted to improving diversity and inclusion within the engineering community.

Landslide Assessment via Remote Sensing

Joe WartmanJoe Wartman, P.E., M.ASCE,Natural Hazard and Disaster Reconnaissance (RAPID) Facility

Joseph Wartman directs the Natural Hazard and Disaster Reconnaissance (RAPID) Facility, headquartered at the University of Washington (UW), where he is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He specializes in geological hazards with a specific interest in landslides and their impacts on communities.

Over the past 2 decades, he has investigated and analyzed major geologic hazard events worldwide, including earthquakes, hurricanes, and landslides. Wartman’s research appears in such journals as the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Engineering Geology, Geomorphology, GeoHealth, Scientific Advances, and the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, among others.

Liquefaction Mitigation Techniques

Kyle RollinsKyle Rollins, Ph.D., M.ASCE, Brigham Young University

Kyle Rollins received his BS degree from Brigham Young University and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley working with Prof. H. Bolton Seed. After working as a geotechnical consultant, he joined the Civil Engineering faculty at BYU in 1987 following after his father who was previously a geotechnical professor. His research has involved geotechnical earthquake engineering, soil improvement techniques, gravel liquefaction, deep foundation behavior, bridge abutment resistance, and collapsible soils.

He has supervised more than 130 graduate students and published over 190 papers. His work typically involves full-scale testing to evaluate and improve performance of bridges and buildings. In this effort, he pioneered the use of blast induced liquefaction testing to evaluate ground improvement effectiveness and pile performance in full-scale tests.

Driven Piles in Soft Rocks – a Recent Development

Kam NgKam Ng, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, University of Wyoming

Dr. Kam Ng obtained his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from Iowa State University. He had 10-year consulting and construction experiences. He is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Wyoming. His research focuses on transportation and energy geotechnics.

He received the 2012 Soil Mechanics Best Paper Award from the Transportation Research Board and the 2013 Young Professor Paper Award, first runner-up, from the Deep Foundation Institute. He is a Professional Engineer registered with the state of Wyoming. He has published more than 75 papers and 20 technical reports, received more than 5.5 millions of research funding, and graduated three Ph.D. and 13 master students.

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