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Meet Our Faculty

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At Cornell's School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, faculty and student research is focused on three mission areas of study: Civil Infrastructure, Environment, and Engineering Systems and Management.



Environmental Processes

Professor April GuApril Gu, Professor

Gu's general research is in water quality and environmental health. She specifically focuses on appling biotechnology to improve and develop more sustainable wastewater treatment and remediation processes to maximize nutrient recovery and, minimizing the energy consumption and carbon footprint; investigating the impact of climate change on global phosphorus cycling; developing next-generation toxicogenomics-based toxicity assessment technology platform, in combination with data science, to enable risk-based water quality monitoring and technology efficacy assessment, and to elucidate the causal environmental matrices.



Damien Helbling

Damian Helbling, Assistant Professor

Helbling’s research is focused on water quality as it relates to human and ecosystem health; in particular, the investigation of chemical and biological processes that influence contaminant fate and nutrient cycling in natural and engineered aquatic systems, with the goal of creating water treatment and resource recovery technologies, mechanistic models for contaminant fate and exposure risk assessment, and comprehensive and sustainable management strategies for urban water systems.

Helbling has taught at Cornell since 2014. He holds a BS in civil engineering with a minor in environmental engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, and an MS and Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. 


Matthew Reid
Matthew Reid, Assistant Professor

Matthew Reid joined the Cornell CEE faculty in July 2016. Most recently he has worked as a post-doctoral scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, to study microbially-driven arsenic cycling in rice paddy soils.

Reid analyzes the use of engineered and managed ecosystems as sustainable tools for water quality protection;  his research is focused on the coupled biological, chemical and physical processes that govern contaminant fate in soils, and on how these natural processes can be harnessed to preserve water quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from nutrient cycling. Reid holds a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Princeton University and a BA in chemistry from the University of Chicago.



Ruth Richardson

Ruth Richardson, Associate Professor

Richardson’s research group studies the myriad activities of microbial communities through the application of molecular biological techniques with the overall goal of discovering key molecular biomarkers of specific metabolic processes and relating quantities of such biomarkers with rates of reactions and/or bioreactor stability. Some current research projects are in the areas of groundwater bioremediation (especially chlorinated solvents and uranium), bioenergy, greenhouse gas cycling, and wastewater treatment. Richardson joined the faculty in January 2002, after completing her MS and Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. Richardson also holds a BS in chemical engineering from Manhattan College.




Environmental Fluid Mechanics & Hydrology

John Albertson
John Albertson, Professor

Albertson’s focus is in both the field of surface hydrology and of boundary-layer meteorology. He has led field studies in the US southern great plains, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Mediterranean, and works to develop tools for computer-modeling transportation problems and environmental flow. 

Albertson joined the CEE Faculty in 2015. He holds a BS in civil engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo, a masters degree from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from University of California at Davis.




Edwin Cowen
Edwin Cowen, Professor

Cowen has built an environmental fluid mechanics research program centered on four themes: environmental transport processes, water wave induced flows, lake hydrodynamics (physical limnology), and quantitative imaging techniques. He has developed experimental techniques, built new facilities, and undertaken basic research in several areas of expertise. Cowen's overarching philosophy is to develop a curriculum that instills a fundamental foundation in the material but ultimately looks at the application of the material to real-world problems. This goal permeates his lecturers, the problem sets he assigns, and his exams.

Cowen joined the Cornell faculty in November 1997. He holds a BS in civil engineering form Brown University and an MS/Ph.D. from Stanford University.



Peter Diamessis - weighted

Peter Diamessis, Professor

Diamessis' research at Cornell is focused along two main themes: One is the development of high-accuracy and high-resolution spectral quadrilateral subdomain penalty techniques for the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations which enable as realistic as possible an approximation to the environmental flow processes of interest; the other consists of using these techniques as the driver of highly parallel simulations which provide an accurate description of the relevant physical phenomena (namely the interplay between turbulence and internal gravity waves in stratified flows) over as broad a range and separation of scales and as long a duration as possible.

Diamessis joined the CEE faculty in January 2006. He received his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Greece in 1995. From 1996 to 2001, he pursued graduate studies at the Mechanical and Aerospace Department of the University of California, San Diego.


Environmental & Water Resource Systems Engineering


Patrick Reed
Patrick Reed
, Professor

Reed’s primary research interests relate to sustainable water management given conflicting demands from renewable energy systems, ecosystem services, expanding populations, and climate change. The tools developed in Dr. Reed’s group bridge sustainability science, risk management, economics, multi-objective decision making, operations research, computer science, and high performance computing.

Reed earned a BS in geological engineering from the University of Missouri at Rolla in 1997.  He then continued his graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was honored with the Ross J. Martin Award for outstanding research achievement. 


Jery Stedinger-weighted
Jery Stedinger, Dwight C. Baum Professorship in Engineering

Stedinger's research focuses on statistical issues in hydrology and optimal operation of water resource systems. Research projects have addressed the value of historical and paleoflood data in flood frequency analysis, regional hydrologic regression & network analyses, risk and uncertainty analysis of flood-risk reduction projects and calibration and uncertainty analysis for rainfall-runoff models.

Stedinger is currently co-chair of the program committee that administers the bachelors of science degree in environmental engineering, and is the faculty advisor for the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. In the fall, Stedinger teaches CEE 3040 Uncertainty Analysis, and in the spring CEE 5970 Risk Analysis and Management:  Seniors and graduate students are invited to come and learn about technological, safety, and environmental risks that engineers are called upon the evaluate and manage.




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Engineering Systems & Management

Transportation Systems Engineering

Ricardo Daziano 
Ricardo Daziano, David Croll Fellow Assistant Professor

Daziano's specific empirical research interests include the analysis of air travel demand, the study of pro-environmental preferences toward low-emission vehicles, modeling the adoption of sustainable travel behavior, estimating willingness-to-pay for renewable energy, and forecasting consumers' response to environmentally-friendly energy sources. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Laval University.





Oliver Gao (2) 
Oliver Gao, Associate Professor

Gao is an Associate Professor in the graduate fields of 1) Civil and Environmental Engineering (Transportation Systems Engineering), 2) Systems Engineering, 3) Cornell Institute of Public Affairs (CIPA), and 4) Air Quality in Earth and Atmospheric Science at Cornell University. His research focuses on transportation systems, environment, energy, and sustainable development.

Gao is a member of Transportation Research Board Committee on Transportation and Air Quality, Transportation Research Board Committee on Maintenance Equipment, and the FACA Committee of US EPA MOVES model development. He holds a Ph.D. in CEE, MS in Statisics, and MS in agriculture and resource economics from the University of California at Davis. In addition, he holds an MS in civil engineering, and dual undergraduate degrees in civil engineering and environmental science from Tsinghua University.


Linda Nozick (2) 
Linda Nozick, Professor, Director of CEE

Nozick is the Director of the College Program in Systems Engineering, a program she co-founded. She has authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications, many focused on transportation, the movement of hazardous materials and the modeling of critical infrastructure systems. In 2011 she was appointed by President Obama to the National Nuclear Technical Review Board, an independent agency in the executive branch of the U.S. Federal Government, with oversight responsibilities of the Department of Energy’s program for managing and disposing of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.

Nozick's primary research interest is the development of mathematical models for use in the management of complex systems, in particular, systems that can be represented mathematically as networks, including transportation and logistics systems, civil infrastructure networks and project networks. She holds a BS in systems analysis and engineering from the George Washington University and an MSE and Ph.D. in systems engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

Samitha Samaranayake 
Samitha Samaranayake, Assistant Professor

Samaranayake’s research interests are in the analysis and control of networked cyper-physical systems with a focus on transportation and other urban infrastructure systems. In particular, he is interested in enabling efficient and sustainable urban transportation systems, by utilizing advances in information technology, mathematical modeling and optimization, and new transportation paradigms such as mobility-on-demand-systems.  

Prior to joining Cornell in 2014, Samaranayke was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems at MIT. Samaranyake holds a bachelors degree in computer science, an M.Eng. in electrical engineering and computer science from Stamford University, and a Ph.D. in systems engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Remote Sensing

William Philpot

William Philpot, Professor, Associate Director of CEE, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Philpot conducts research in a variety of aspects of remote sensing, and teaches courses in remote sensing and digital image processing. Data analysis in this case encompasses topics ranging from geometric and radiometric correction to spatial and spectral pattern recognition. Philpot first obtained a BA in music from New York University, later returning to school to obtain a BS in physics from the State University of New York in Stony Brook. He then continued on to graduate school for oceanography, specializing in ocean optics and remote sensing. He holds an MS and Ph.D. in marine studies from the University of Delaware.




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Civil Infrastructure

Geotechnical Engineering

Thomas O'Rourke, Thomas R. Briggs Professorship in Engineering

O'Rourke has developed engineering solutions for problems concerning foundation performance, ground movement effects on structures, earth retaining structures, pipelines, earthquake engineering, tunneling, and infrastructure rehabilitation, both on a research and consulting basis. He has investigated and contributed to the mitigation of the effects of extreme events, including natural hazards and human threats, on civil infrastructure systems. 

O'Rourke's teaching focuses on geotechnical engineering for earth retention systems, foundations, and soil/structure interaction; earthquake engineering; underground construction technology, and engineering of large, geographically distributed systems such as water supplies, gas and liquid fuel systems, electric power, and transportation facilities.

Harry Stewart 
Harry Stewart, Associate Professor

Stewart’s research efforts have focused on soil structure interaction, instrumentation of constructed facilities, soil dynamics and earthquake engineering, the cyclic behavior of soils under both laboratory and field conditions, blasting effects on structures, and railroad track performance. His interests include: large-scale testing, instrumentation, pipelines, and pipeline rehabilitation.

Stewart has been a full-time faculty member in the Geotechnical Engineering Group at Cornell since 1985. Stewart currently is the Director of Civil Infrastructure Laboratories at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of the Large Scale Lifelines Testing Facility, part of the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). Stewart's memberships in honorary societies include Chi Elipson, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, and the Order of the Engineer. He has also been the Chi Elipson Professor of the Year in Cornell's School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.



Structural Engineering

Chris Earls 
Christopher Earls, Professor

Earls' research involves the development and application of new computational techniques for the study of important problems involving solids and structures. Coupling the principled treatment of uncertainty with these computational approaches facilitates the solution of complex inverse problems. Such inverse problems arise naturally as part of Earls' research: through the development of novel model-based structural health monitoring strategies. Research focuses include computational solid and structural mechanics, structural health monitoring, stochastic inverse problems, and structural stability.




Mircea Grigoriu
Mircea Grigoriu, Professor

Grigoriu’s research interests are in random vibration, stochastic calculus, numerical methods for solving stochastic problems, probabilistic models for microstructures, wind/earthquake engineering, and Monte Carlo simulation. He is the author of over 190 papers in referred journals, a co-author of a book on random vibration, and the author of three books on non-gaussian processes, stochastic calculus, and stochastic systems. 

Grigoriu is on the editorial board of the Probabilistic Engineering Mechanics journal, Structural Safety journal, International Journal of Reliability and Safety, Structure and Infrastructure Engineering Journal, SIAM Journal on Uncertainty Quantification, and he is a past Editor in Chief for the Journal of Engineering Mechanics.



Kenneth Hover

 Kenneth Hover, Professor

Hover teaches reinforced and pre-stressed concrete design and concrete materials. His research focuses on freeze-thaw durability, mixture proportions and ingredients, behavior and testing of fresh concrete, and the impact of construction operations and construction environment on concrete quality.

Hover served as a Captain in the 15th Combat Engineer Battalion, U.S. Army, and was Project Engineer and Project Manager for Dugan and Meyers Construction Co. in Cincinnati. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering from the University of Cincinnati, and a Ph.D. in structural engineering from Cornell.



David Kammer

David Kammer, Assistant Professor

Kammer is interested in the mechanics of dynamic and transient phenomena leading to failure of materials and structures. His research is focused on the effects that small- and meso-scale properties have on the overall response of solids and structures with particular interest in heterogeneous materials and interfaces. He develops modern numerical models and applies high-performance computing to obtain high-resolution simulations of physical phenomena occurring in failure mechanisms. His approach combines computational mechanics with simple but insightful theoretical models from applied mechanics. 

Kammer received his B.Sc., M.Sc. in Civil Engineering, and Ph.D. in Mechanics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL).  


Greg McLaskey

Gregory McLaskey, Assistant Professor

McLaskey is interested in friction, earthquakes, fracture, and other processes that generate sounds and vibrations in solids. He also specializes in piezoelectric sensors that are used to detect very high frequency but small amplitude vibrations in solid materials such as rock, metals, concrete, and plastic. These vibrations can be used for detecting damage in civil infrastructure and for laboratory studies of earthquakes.

McLaskey holds a bachelors from Cornell University (2005), and both a masters (2006) and Ph.D. (2011) in civil engineering from the University of California. McLaskey joined the Cornell faculty in 2014.



Derek Warner 
Derek Warner, Associate Professor

Warner's research effort is aimed at understanding the connection between microscopic physical phenomena and the macroscopic deformation and failure of engineering materials by coupling cutting-edge computing technologies with state-of-the-art simulation techniques. His teaching interests include: solid mechanics, deformation and failure mechanisms, and computer modeling. 

Warner joined the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering in October 2007. Prior he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Division of Engineering at Brown University, where he worked in the Mechanics of Solids Group. He completed his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins University.


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