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Distinguished Seminar Series

Each semester, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering invites renowned leaders from academia and industry to speak at Northeastern University. Exploring issues of environmental health, sustainable resource engineering and infrastructure security, the Distinguished Seminar Series highlights the latest ideas and research into the most pressing challenges of our time. Seminars are free and open to the public.

Fall 2020 Semester




October 19, 2020 Paige Novak
University of Minnesota
Distributed Resource Recovery From Brewery Wastewater
November 5, 2020 Burcu Akinci
Carnegie Mellon University
Context Driven Analytics and AI for Infrastructure and Facility Management
November 9, 2020 Michelle Bell, Yale
Adrienne Katner, LSU
Andrew George, UNC
Panel Discussion: Using Community-based Research Strategies to Address Environmental Health Concerns
November 16, 2020 Laura Lowes
University of Washington
Simulation to Advance Earthquake Engineering of Concrete Wall Buildings and Reduce Earthquake Risk
December 3, 2020 Priscilla Nelson
Colorado School of Mines


Spring 2020 Semester




April 1, 2020 Matthew Eckelman
Northeastern University
Consumption, Coronavirus, and the Industrial Ecosystem
February 20, 2020 Gerald E. Buckwalter
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Engineers Week Distinguished Seminar: Anticipating The Future Built Environment


Fall 2019 Semester




December 5, 2019 Ana Barros
Duke University
COE Distinguished Speaker: Planned and Unintended Consequences of Environmental Change
November 18, 2019 David Sanders
Iowa State University
Impact of Earthquake Duration on the Behavior of Reinforced Concrete Bridge Columns
November 14, 2019 Allison MacKay
The Ohio State University
Molecular Tools to Provide Insights into the Fate of Organic Contaminants in Aquatic Systems
October 24, 2019 Duc Nguyen
Old Dominion University
Divide & Conquer Algorithms: Finite Element Based Structural and Transportation Engineering Applications
Oct 22, 2019 Glenn Bell
Simpson Gumbertz & Heger
Thoughts on Our Future Vision for Structural Engineering: From the Structural Engineering Institute’s New President
October 16, 2019 Anders Brandt
Southern Denmark University
Test and Validation in the Age of Simulations of Dynamics
September 30, 2019 Jesús M. de la Garza
Clemson University
Traffic-Based Framework for Measuring the Resilience of Ground Transportation Systems under Normal and Extreme Conditions


Spring 2019 Semester




March 25, 2019 Ertugrul Taciroglu
University of California Los Angeles
Big Data –A New Research Frontier in Civil Engineering
March 21, 2019 Danny Reible
Texas Tech University
Managing the Physical, Chemical and Ecological Challenges of Sediments
February 21, 2019 Matthew Eckelman, NU (Moderator)
Qin Jim Chen, NU (Panelist)
Auroop R. Ganguly, NU (Panelist)
Paul Kirshen, UMass (Panelist)
Indrani Ghosh, Kleinfelder (Panelist)
Panel Discussion: Climate Change in Boston: Preparing for Impacts

Fall 2018 Semester




September 17, 2018 Ehab Meselhe
The Water Institute of the Gulf
Biophysical Analysis of a Proposed Network of Sediment Diversions
September 24, 2018 Chimay Anumba
University of Florida
Cyber-Physical Systems Development For Construction Applications
October 4, 2018 Kartick Chandran
Columbia University
Carbon Based Interactions In Autotrophic N-Cycle Communities
October 15, 2018 Lynn Hildemann
Stanford University
Personal Exposure to Indoor Air Pollutants –Are You to Blame, or is it the Building’s Fault?
November 1, 2018 Cynthia Barnhart
COE Distinguished Seminar: Air Transportation Optimization
November 5, 2018 Theodore P. Zoli
HNTB Corporation
A Critical Look at Bridge Design Practice: Beyond Material Efficiency
November 15, 2018 Carmelo Gentile
Politecnico di Milano
Vibration-based Structural Health Monitoring of Historic Structures
November 29, 2018 Robert Gilbert
The University of Texas at Austin
Lessons From Forensic Geotechnical Engineering
December 3, 2018 Ameet Pinto
Northeastern University
Who’s In Your Water?


Spring 2018 Semester

Date Speaker Title
January 18, 2018 Joan Rose
Michigan State University
Global Pathogen Risks and Sanitation Goals
February 22, 2018 Soroosh Sorooshian
University of California Irvine
COE Distinguished Seminar: Climate Variability and the Global Hydrologic Cycle: Efforts in Monitoring, Modeling, and Challenges in Forecast Changes
March 16, 2018 Glenn R. Bell
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.
Societal Challenges and Civil Engineering Leadership: Implications for Industry-Academia Partnership

Fall 2017 Semester

Date Speaker Title
September 28, 2017 Darcy Bullock
Purdue University
Real Time Traffic Congestion Dashboards for Decision Makers
October 6, 2017 Hui Hu
Iowa State University
Fluid-Structure Interactions (FSI) of Built Structures in Violent Wind Storms
October 16, 2017 Michel Boufadel
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Quantification of pore water hydrodynamics in beaches: Impact of tide, waves, evaporation, and buoyancy
October 30, 2017 Satish Nagarajaiah
Rice University
Sparse and Low-rank Methods for Structural System Identification
November 13, 2017 Bill Spencer
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Advances in Monitoring of Civil Infrastructure: from Research to Engineering Practice
December 4, 2017 Jerry Lynch
University of Michigan
Long-Term Management and Control of Critical Infrastructure Systems using Cyber-Physical System Architectures

Spring 2017 Semester

Date Speaker Title
January 26, 2017 Igor Linkov
US Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Risk and Resilience: Current Developments and Trends
February 2, 2017 David Dzombak
Carnegie Mellon University
COE Distinguished Seminar: Climate Change Adaptation for Infrastructure: A Grand Challenge for Civil and Environmental Engineering
February 23, 2017 Gregory Deierlein
Stanford University
COE Distinguished Seminar and 2016-2017 EERI Distinguished Seminar: From Performance-Based Engineering to Earthquake Resilience
April 6, 2017 William Lam
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Transport Smart in Congested Road Networks
April 10, 2017 G. Edward Gibson
Arizona State University
If I knew then, what I know now…
April 13, 2017 Branko Glisic
Princeton University
Strain-Based Structural Health Monitoring using Advanced Sensing Technologies

Fall 2016 Semester

Date Speaker Title
September 23, 2016 Ashish Sharma
University of New South Wales
Estimating Design Floods in a Warming Climate – Gaps, Challenges, and the Way Forward
October 24, 2016 Harry Shenton
University of Delaware
Structural Health Monitoring: Case of the Indian River Inlet Bridge
November 14, 2016 Menachem Elimelech
Yale University
2016-2017 AEESP Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series: High-Performance Membranes for Energy-Efficient Desalination and Wastewater Reuse
November 17, 2016 Shuyang Cao
Tongji University, Shanghai
Advanced physical and numerical modeling of atmospheric boundary layer flow for wind engineering applications
November 21, 2016 Frederick Hammes
Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Sciences and Technology
MicrobiHomes: managing building plumbing biofilms through material selection
November 28, 2016 Mehrdad Sasani
Northeastern University
From elements to systems and from collapse to resilience under extreme events

Spring 2016 Semester

Date Speaker Title
February 11, 2016 Haeng-Ki Lee
Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology
NT- and BT-based functional construction materials and low-carbon, eco-friendly construction materials
February 25, 2016 William Howard
CDM Smith
The Precarious State of the World’s Water
February 29, 2016 Lori Graham-Brady
Johns Hopkins University
What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us: the Case for Stochastic Multi-scale Mechanics
March 14, 2016 Michael Lowry
University of Idaho
Tools and Strategies for Improving Citywide Bicycle Travel
April 5, 2016 Glenn Bell
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Supercharging Your Career and Making a Difference
April 20, 2016 David Mendonca
Research Opportunities in Infrastructure Management and Extreme Events (IMEE) at the National Science Foundation

Fall 2015 Semester

Date Speaker Title
September 10, 2015 Prof. Raimondo Betti
Columbia University
Monitoring the Structural Health of Main Cables of Suspension Bridges
October 28, 2015 Vilas Mujumdar, P.E., S.E.
World Federation of Engineering Organizations
Critical Urban Infrastructure, and Community Resilience to Natural Hazards – A Complex System View
November 2, 2015 Prof. Stephen Monismith
Stanford University
Waves and Wave-Driven Flow over Reefs
November 5, 2015 Chris D. Poland
Consulting Engineer
COE DIstinguished Seminar: Community Resilience and the Built Environment
November 23, 2015 Matthias Ruth
Northeastern University
Stakeholder-Driven Strategies in Regional Assessment Models: the Case of Energy Transitions in Northwest Germany
November 30, 2015 Svend Ole Hansen
Svend Ole Hansen ApS & SOH Wind Engineering LLC
Wind-Induced Vibrations of Structures
December 3, 2015 Amvrossios Bagtzoglou
University of Connecticut
Using Atmospheric Tracers to Reduce Uncertainty in Groundwater Recharge Areas and Quality Trends in Transient Flow Systems

Spring 2015 Semester

Date Speaker Title
February 12, 2015 Prof. Lucio Soibelman
University of Southern California
Sustainable Infrastructure Design, Construction, and Operation
April 9, 2015 Prof. Steve Flynn
Northeastern University
A Strategic Framework for Advancing Societal Resilience and the Role of Resilience Engineering


Fall 2014 Semester

Date Speaker Title
September 15, 2014 Prof. Dan Kuchma
Tufts University
Advanced Measurement and Data Analysis Methods in Structural Engineering Research
September 25, 2014 Prof. Markus Buehler
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Making Nano Big
October 20, 2014 Prof. Auroop Ganguly
Northeastern University
Climate Adaptation and Hazards Resilience with Big Data and Bigger Models
November 3, 2014 Prof. Peggy Johnson
Penn State University
Waterway Transitions and Restoration at Bridges


Spring 2014 Semester

Date Speaker Title
January 30, 2014 Prof. Taha Marhaba
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Natural Organic Matter and Disinfection-By Products Formation Potential Characterization
February 24, 2014 Prof. Paul Westerhoff
Arizona State University
Nitrosamines: Why it has Emerged as a New Disinfection By-product of Concern for Drinking Water Systems
February 27, 2014 Prof. Reginald DesRoches
Georgia Institute of Technology
Seismic Retrofit of Structures Using Shape Memory Alloys and Innovative Systems


Fall 2013 Semester

Date Speaker Title
October 3, 2013 Prof. Dennis Lettenmaier
University of Washington
Understanding the Implications of Climate Change and Seasonal Climate Variations On Regional Hydrology
October 7, 2013 Prof. Chris Letchford
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Wind Loads in Tornadoes
November 4, 2013 Prof. Andrew Whittaker
University of Buffalo
In-plane Response of Low Aspect Ratio, Steel-concrete Composite Shear Walls
November 14, 2013 Prof. Jacobo Bielak
Carnegie Mellon University
COE Distinguished Seminar: End-to-End Earthquake Simulation: From the Source to Propagation Path, Site Effects, and Seismic Response of Building Clusters
December 5, 2013 Prof. April Gu
Northeastern University
Toxicogenomics-enabled Technology Platform For Water Toxicity Assessment and Monitoring


Spring 2013 Semester

Date Speaker Title
January 17, 2013 Prof. Paul O’Gorman
Intensification of Precipitation Extremes With Warming: Theory, Simulations, and Observations
February 4, 2013 Prof. Amit Kanvinde
U. California Davis
Forensic Analysis of Eccentrically Braced Frame Fracture in the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake: Multi-scale Simulations, Tests, and Findings
February 11, 2013 Prof. Claire Welty
U. Maryland B.C.
Regional Climate Variability and Patterns of Urban Development – Impacts on the Urban Water Cycle and Nutrient Export
April 4, 2013 Prof. Bruce Ellingwood
Georgia Institute of Technology
COE Distinguished Seminar: Performance-Based Engineering for Multiple Hazards: The Role of Structural Reliability and Risk Assessment


Fall 2012 Semester

Date Speaker Title
September 13, 2012 Prof. Horia Hangan
The University of Western Ontario
Wind Resiliance and Sustainability
September 20, 2012 Lawrence Novak
Portland Cement Association
The Philosophy of Engineering the Burj Khalifa: The World’s Tallest Building
October 18, 2012 Prof. Helen Poynton
UMass – Boston
Talking to Genes: Understanding Pollutant Exposures through Gene Expression Analysis in Aquatic and Marine Invertebrates
October 25, 2012 Prof. Peter Furth
Northeastern University
Low-Stress Biking and Bike Network Connectivity
December 3, 2012 Prof. Jamie Guest
Johns Hopkins Univeristy
Design with Topology Optimization – From Material Architectures to Structural Systems


Spring 2012 Semester

Date Speaker Title
January 26, 2012 Prof. Charles Shackelford
Colorado State University
Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Research in Geoenvironmental Engineering at Colorado State University
January 30, 2012 Prof. Robert Oglesby
University of Nebraska
Modeling Future Climate Change: Global and Regional Issues
February 9, 2012 Prof. Ming Wang
Northeastern University
Sensor-Enriched Sustainable and Secured Infrastructure Systems
April 11, 2012 Surendra P. Shah
Northwestern University
COE Distinguished Seminar: Nanoscale Modification of Cementitious Materials


Fall 2011 Semester

Date Speaker Title
September 21, 2011 Prof. Magued Iskander Polytechnic Institute of New York University Modeling of Soil Structure Interaction and Flow Using Transparent Soils
September 27, 2011 Prof. Cliff Schexnayder
Arizona State University
Engineering the Great Inka Road
October 11, 2011 Prof. Zhen Chen University of Missouri-Columbia Simulation-Based Engineering Science (SBES) to Promote Interdisciplinary Research Education
October 18, 2011 Prof. Robert Tremblay
Ecole Polytechnic, Canada
Innovative Steel Braced Frame Structure for Resistance to Earthquakes
November 8, 2011 Prof. Soon-Duck Kwon
Chonbuk National University, Korea
Bad Wind and Good Wind: From Frightful Structural Threat to Valuable Energy Source
December 6, 2011 Prof. Michael Shuler
Cornell University
Do We Know Enough To Reconstruct Life In Vitro?


Spring 2011 Semester

Date Speaker Title
January 18, 2011 Prof. Greg Kopp
University of Western Ontario, Canada
Huffing and Puffing and Blowing It Down: Can we mitigate damage to houses in severe storms?
January 25, 2011 Dr. Laurent Mevel
INRIA, France
The Local Approach to Change Detection, Diagnosis, and Model Validation: Application to Vibration Mechanics
February 22, 2011 Prof. Francis de los Reyes
North Carolina State University
From Function to Phylogeny: Determining Who’s Doing What in an Environmental System
March 22, 2011 Prof. Edward Bouwer
Johns Hopkins University
The Illusion of Certainty: Health Benefits and Risks


Fall 2010 Semester

Date Speaker Title
September 17, 2010 Prof. Chris Hendrickson
Carnegie Mellon University
Four Examples of Green Engineering Design
September 30, 2010 Prof. Cliff Davidson
Syracuse University
The Emerging Discipline of Sustainable Engineering
October 14, 2010 Prof. Kitty Hancock
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Geospatially Enabling Civil Engineering
October 21, 2010 Ramon Gilsanz
Gilsanz Murray Steficek LLP
The February 10, 2010 Maule Earthquake in Chile: Damage Reconnaissance and Implications on Seismic Design
November 4, 2010 Prof. Lynn Katz
University of Texas at Austin
Processes for the Removal of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products from Water: Preparing for Indirect and Direct Water Reuse
December 2, 2010 Dr. Nancy Love
University of Michigan
At the Confluence of Nutrients, Pharmaceuticals and Sustainability: Emerging Issues in Managing Wastewater