PhD Students

Marc-Ansy Laguerre 

Marc-Ansy is a PhD student in the Department of Civil Engineering at Rice University. He is dedicated to mitigating earthquake hazards in Haiti. Marc-Ansy pursued his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering and a Graduate Certificate in Latin American Social and Public Policy at the University of Pittsburgh as a Fulbright scholar. Prior to his Fulbright grant, he worked as Assistant Teacher in Mechanics at the State University of Haiti.

Marc-Ansy’s research focuses on seismic retrofit of flat plate reinforced concrete buildings. He is also interested in Seismic Risk Assessment, Finite Element modeling, non-linear analysis, and ductile RC structures.

During his spare time, Marc-Ansy enjoys reading on effective teaching methodology and creating videos to explain civil engineering concepts.

Research: Analysis and evaluation of seismic retrofitting methods for flat plate RC buildings

Mohammad Akbarnezhad

Mohammad is a PhD student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University. He received his Bachelor and Master degree in Civil Engineering at Sharif University of Technology.

His research focuses on the development of vulnerability functions for bridges and regional prediction of bridge performance. This work includes detailed modeling and nonlinear analysis of complex highway bridges. Mohammad has interest in Seismic Risk Assessment, Probabilistic Hazard Analysis, Finite Element Analysis, and application of shape memory alloys in structural rehabilitation and retrofitting.

Research: Application of Neural Networks in Development of Bridge Fragility Functions

Qiu Zheng

Qiu Zheng is a Ph.D. student in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Tongji University in 2016.

His research interests include finite element analysis, modeling of bridge systems, seismic probabilistic assessment, and structural damage identification with machine learning methods.

Research: Next Generation Bridge Fragility Functions for California Bridges

Yijian (Albert) Zhang

Albert is a PhD student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Institute of technology. He received both of his B.S. (2012) and M.S. (2014) in Civil Engineering from University of California at Berkeley. After he received his degrees, he worked in Thornton Tomasetti as a structural engineer for designing high-rise buildings in China.

His research is to develop a new framework that uses the data collected from the robotic exploration of infrastructure, particularly considering the effect of localized deterioration on structural stability of members, to assess the condition of bridges and prioritize these structures for repair.

Albert has research interests in nonlinear analysis of structures, seismic risk assessment, modeling deterioration of RC structures due to chloride-induced corrosion, and development of constitutive material model for finite element analysis.

Research: Bridge Resilience Assessment with INSPIRE Data or

Civil Engineering PhD student Pablo Vega

Pablo is a PhD candidate in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Pablo received his Bachelors and Masters of Science in Civil Engineering at The University of Puerto Rico–Mayaguez.

Pablo’s PhD research investigates new ways to retrofit old concrete buildings and applications of shape memory alloys in structural engineering. He also has a keen interest in automation of design/analysis processes for civil engineering projects. While finishing his PhD, Pablo works as a structural analyst at Arup’s Advanced Technology + Research group in New York. In his spare time, Pablo enjoys sports and athletic activities, playing guitar, and exploring the wide variety of cuisines New York City has to offer.

Research: Cost-Benefit Analyses for Seismic Retrofit of Nonductile Concrete Buildings

Post-doctoral Scholar

Mohammad Salehi

Mohammad will start as a post-doctoral scholar in the DesRoches group in February 2020.

He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Structural Engineering at Texas A&M University. Before joining TAMU in 2017, he was a Ph.D. student in Structural Engineering & Structural Mechanics at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He received a M.S. in Earthquake Engineering (2013) and a B.S. in Civil Engineering (2011) at Sharif University of Technology (SUT), Iran.

His research interests are toward the development of hazard mitigating structures for resilient communities. His technical expertise is in computational modeling, experimental testing, and design of seismically resilient reinforced concrete buildings and bridges. For more information, visit his website.

Research: Development of hazard mitigating structures for resilient communities through computational modeling and experiment

Academic Visitor

Han Li 

Han Li is a PhD student in Tongji University and currently an academic visitor of Reginald DesRoches’s research group in the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Civil Engineering from Tongji University.

Her research interests include development of novel isolation devices, seismic risk assessment of isolated bridges, finite element analysis, and transportation network resilience.

Research: High-Performance Isolation Rubber Bearings for the Seismic Mitigation of Bridges

Recently Graduated Post-doctoral Scholars

Yazhou (Tim) Xie, Ph.D.

Dr. Tim Xie recently joined he Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics at McGill University (Montreal) as an Assistant Professor.

Dr. Xie received his Ph.D. (2017) in Civil Engineering from UCLA, and his M.S. in Bridge Engineering (2011) and B.S. in Civil Engineering (2008), both from Tongji University, China. He recently completed a post-doc in the DesRoches group.

His primary research interests include seismic assessment and protection of highway bridges using high-fidelity modeling approaches, advanced statistical tools, and innovative devices. He is the recipient of UCLA Dissertation Year Fellowship and the UCLA Martin Rubin Scholarship for academic excellence. He has served as the president and vice president of the EERI student chapter at UCLA.

Research: Next Generation Fragility Functions for California Bridges

Sourav Gur, Ph.D.

Dr. Sourav Gur joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Patna in 2019 as an Assistant Professor.

Prior to joining IIT Patna, he was a Civil (Structural) Engineer at Array Technologies Inc. (2018-2019), and a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Rice University (2017-2018). He received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics from the University of Arizona (2017), Master of Technology in Civil Engineering from IIT Kanpur (2011), and Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering from the Jadavpur University (2009).

Dr. Gur’s research interests are structural engineering and computational mechanics of materials. His technical expertise include passive vibration control under extreme loads, the application of smart materials, and Multiscale/Multiphysics (MSMP) modeling.

Research: Structural engineering and computational mechanics of materials

Past PhD Students


Dr. La Sasha Walker (2018)

Dr. Sujith Mangalathu (2017)

Post-Doc, UCLA


Dr. Nan Gao (2017)

Post-Doc, Georgia Tech

Farahnaz Soleimani

Dr. Farahnaz Soleimani (2017)

Post-Doc, Georgia Tech



Dr.Tim Wright (2015)

MS Student in Data Analytics, GT



Dr. Laura Redmond (2014)

Assistant Professor

Clemson University


Prof. Jong-Su Jeon (2013)

Assistant Professor
Andong University, Korea



Prof.Reza Mizaeifar (2013)

Assistant Professor
Mechanical Engineering
Virginia Tech

Prof. Stephanie Paal (2013)

Assistant Professor
Texas A&M University


Dr. Jazalyn Dukes (2013)

Research Engineer
Washington, D.C.


Dr. Karthik Ramanathan (2012)

Senior Engineer, Manager Air Worldwide
Boston, MA


Dr. Ben Kosbab (2010)

Principal Engineer
SC Solutions
Atlanta, GA


Prof. Abdollah Shafieezadeh (2011)

Assistant Professor,
Ohio State University

Dr. Laura Jacobs (2010)

Research Engineer,
Los Alamos National Labs
New Mexico


Dr. Matthew Speicher (2009)

Research Structural Engineer NIST, MD


Prof. Masahiro Kurata (2009)

Associate Professor
Kyoto University, Japan


Prof. Jamie Padgett (2009)

Associate Professor
Rice University


Dr. Murat Eroz (2007)

Project Engineer
Alpaslan, Hydro Projects II, Turkey


Prof. Monique Head (2007)

Associate Professor
University of Delaware


Dr. Berk Taftali (2007)

Software Engineer
CSI Ankara, Turkey


Dr. Walter Yang (2006)

Research Engineer II
Georgia Tech Atlanta, GA


Prof. Jason McCormick (2006)

Arthur F. Thurnau Associate Professor
University of Michigan


Prof. Bryant Nielson (2005)

Professor of Practice
Clemson University


Prof. Bassem Andrawes (2005)



Dr. Davide Fugazza (2005)

Sales Engineer
ANSYS Wavre, Belgium


Dr. Susendar Muthukumar (2003)

Senior Associate
Walter P Moore Austin, TX


Prof. Eunsoo Choi (2002)

Hongik University, Korea