Research Interests

My research is broadly focused on geotechnical earthquake engineering, data analytics in civil engineering, and engineering seismology. My current research focuses on the development of an open-source relational database of liquefaction case-histories. The development of this tool is part of the broader Next-Generation Liquefaction (NGL) project. The NGL database is a formal relational database created as part of a wide multi-disciplinary research effort that combines data analytics, geotechnical engineering, and engineering seismology. The NGL database is mirrored onto DesignSafe-ci and data visualization tools are available here as Hazard Apps.

My area of expertise includes system reliability of distributed infrastructure such as river-protection levee systems, pipelines, and energy distribution networks. Risk assessment of these systems involves the analysis of statistical distributions and spatial correlation models of demand and capacity over the entire system. This robust framework is heavily reliant on geotechnical site characterization data and can be applied to several anthropogenic and natural hazards, accounting for future challenges such as the consequences of sea level rise due to climate change on river- and coastal-protection systems, or the effects of population growth in urban environments.

I am involved in a multidisciplinary research project regarding the use of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data to identify post-disaster damage. On this topic I am collaborating with a team of radar scientist, geologists, and engineers as part of a project funded by NASA. I am currently working on identifying and compiling high-quality case histories to validate Damage Proxy Maps created using multi-epoch SAR images. As part of this project I am utilizing data from the 2016 Central Italy earthquake sequence, the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquakes, and the 2020 explosion at the Port of Beirut (Lebanon).

My research interests also include analysis of the seismic performance of levees and embankments. I have worked on the development of empirical seismic fragility models for levees relative to discrete damage levels as a function of independent variables derived from geotechnical earthquake engineering analysis. I have also worked on the analysis of international levee guidelines for the evaluation of policy-related issues and the definition of better and more sustainable practices. I am also interested in 2D and 3D advanced numerical modeling of the performance of important civil structures and lifelines including earth dams.

I am a member the International Joint Technical Committee on Earthquake-Induced Landslides (JTC1-TR4). This committee is under the auspices of the of the Federation of the International Geoengineering Societies (FedIGS). The Joint Technical Committee that I am part of is creating a global inventory of high-quality case-history of earthquake-induced landslides. The goal of the committee is to develop guideline documents with improved procedures for the analysis of earthquake-induced landslides.

I am interested in geotechnical extreme events reconnaissance and I have performed a substantial engineering post-earthquake reconnaissance in Central Italy, after the August-October 2016 earthquake sequence. This research effort is part of the activities of Geotechnical Extreme Event Reconnaissance Association (GEER), sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Results from this research are summarized in a series of Technical Reports published by GEER for which I served as main Editor. Furthermore, I joined and/or closely collaborated with GEER teams after the following events: the 2018 Hokkaido earthquake, the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquake sequence, and the 2020 explosion at the Port of Beirut.

My research interests also include: sensing and monitoring of geotechnical system with multidisciplinary approaches, limit analysis theory approaches for seismic rock slope stability analytical and boundary element method analysis for the evaluation of blast-induced wave propagation, and effects of topographic irregularity and slopes on seismic waves.