School Lecturers


Dr Giuseppe Abbiati, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Giuseppe Abbiati graduated in Civil Engineering at the Polytechnic of Turin in 2009 and obtained his PhD in 2014 at the University of Trento. After awarding a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship on September 2014, he joined the Chair of Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich, where he is still employed as postdoctoral researcher. His research focuses on risk analysis of civil and mechanical structures such as bridges and industrial plants subjected to multiple hazards e.g., earthquake and fire. To this end, he is developing hybrid experimental-computational simulators, which aims at reducing epistemic uncertainty of emulated multi-physics systems with reduced experimental costs. Accordingly, his theoretical research focuses on model reduction and domain decomposition methods with particular emphasis on experimental dynamic substructuring based on dual coupling algorithms. In order to enable two-way heat transfer coupling among physical and numerical subdomains i.e., interface temperature compatibility and heat flux balance, currently, his experimental research aims at developing a stiff thermal actuation system. As a result of a continuous collaboration with the Chair of Risk of ETH Zürich, he is extending the scope of this research area to stochastic hybrid systems, which are treated with surrogate modeling.


Prof. Oreste S. Bursi, University of Trento, Italy. Oreste S. Bursi graduated in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Padua in 1984, and achieved his PhD. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol. He is full Professor of Structural Dynamics and Control at the University of Trento since 2001. He has always been interested in complex dynamical non-linear systems consisting of structural and mechanical components as well as control devices. Devices have been used both to control in real time or test dynamical systems subjected to natural hazards based on computer hardware and software. Thus, through the analysis and design of such complex systems that require both advanced modelling and simulation and experimental techniques, Oreste S. Bursi has built up his scientific background tailored to multidisciplinary problems. As a result, he became the leader researcher in Europe in the area of heterogeneous dynamic substructure coupling. Recently, he addressed his research interests towards system identification and structural health monitoring of complex systems, e.g. bridges, pipes, etc., and quantitative risk assessment of critical petrochemical facilities subjected to technological accidents triggered by natural disasters.


Dr Francesco Cecinato, University of Trento, Italy. Francesco Cecinato obtained his PhD in Civil Engineering in 2009 at the University of Southampton (UK), and is Assistant Professor in Geomechanics at the University of Trento (Italy) since December 2012. Prior to his return to academia, he spent four years in the industry working as a consultant for a geotechnical engineering firm, and as a geomechanics specialist at the Research Centre of ENI E&P in Milan. His research interests span from constitutive and numerical modelling of geomaterials to geotechnical engineering, and static and dynamic laboratory soil testing. His fields of expertise include thermo-active foundations, landslide analysis, the mechanics of geomaterials subjected to thermal or chemical interaction, and petroleum-related geomechanics. Dr Cecinato’s teaching experience ranges from Soil Mechanics to Slope Stability and Foundation Engineering, both at undergraduate and master level, in three different countries. He has authored about 40 journal and conference publications and serves as a reviewer in 15 journals within the geomechanics community. He is member of the editorial board of international journal “Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Geotechnical Engineering” and corresponding member of the “Energy Geotechnics” Technical Committee of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering.


Prof. Matjaž Dolšek, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Matjaž Dolšek is Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering at Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and member of research program Earthquake Engineering. He is an expert for performance assessment and design of structures with an emphasis on earthquake engineering. His current research is focused on the development of methods and tools for the design of structures for target seismic risk ( He has participated in several European projects (SPEAR, LESSLOSS, SERIES, STREST, NEWREBAR, XP-RESILIENCE) and was the project leader of three national basic research projects. He is a member of the Slovenian Chamber of Engineers, a member of the Slovenian and the European Association for Earthquake Engineering. He is a member of Project Team 1 (CEN / TC250 / SC8-PT1) who is drafting a second generation of standard for earthquake-resistant design of structures - Eurocode 8 and a member of technical committees of Slovenian Institute for Standardization. He organized an international workshop on Protection of Built Environment Against Earthquakes and is the (co)author of more than 100 publications in peer reviewed Journal or Conference proceedings. He participated in around 30 consulting projects in the field of evaluation of the seismic resistance of structures, determination of earthquake parameters for design of structures and fragility analysis including for structures important for nuclear safety.

Prof. Alessandro Gajo, University of Trento, Italy. Alessandro Gajo received his degrees in Civil Engineering at the University of Padua, Italy, and his PhD at the University of Bristol, UK. At present, he is a Full Professor and the Director of the area of of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering at the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, of the University of Trento, Italy. His research interests span several important areas of Geotechnical Engineering. In particular, prof. Gajo has developed different constitutive approaches based on bounding surface plasticity and kinematic hardening for modelling the cyclic behaviour and delayed behaviour of sands and clays, chemically-induced cementation and de-cementation of soft calcareous rocks, and refractory materials subjected to extreme temperature variations. He has also investigated two important instability phenomena in sands: shear banding and liquefaction, from both an experimental and theoretical point of view. Moreover, he has analysed both theoretically and numerically the multiphase, coupled behaviour of porous media saturated by different non-miscible fluids, when subjected to dynamic loadings, diffusion of chemical contaminants, temperature variations and changes of phase, with applications in seismic, environmental and geo-energy problems. Prof. Gajo serves the editorial boards of Geotechnique, Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment, Italian Journal of Geotechnics, and as a reviewer for nearly 30 International Journals in the fields of soil and rock mechanics, and related subjects. He has published nearly 50 papers in International Journals.


Prof. Paolo Gardoni, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. Paolo Gardoni is the Director of the MAE Center that focuses on creating a Multi-hazard Approach to Engineering, and the Associate Director of the NIST-funded Center of Excellence for Risk-based Community Resilience Planning.  Dr. Gardoni is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure published by Taylor and Francis Group.  He is a member of a number of national and international committees and associations that focus on risk and reliability analysis, specifically, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Civil Engineering Risk and Reliability Association (CERRA) and of the Advisory Council of the International Forum on Engineering Decision Making (IFED).  Dr. Gardoni’s research interests include sustainable and resilient infrastructure; reliability, risk and life cycle analysis; decision making under uncertainty; earthquake engineering; performance assessment of deteriorating systems; ethical, social, and legal dimensions of risk; policies for natural hazard mitigation and disaster recovery; and engineering ethics.  He is the author of over 110 refereed journal papers and 5 edited volumes.  Most of the publications are the result of research activities conducted in 32 funded research projects for over $28 million in research funding from multiple national and international agencies including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Qatar National Research Funds (QNRF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
Vincenzo La Salandra, University of Trento, Italy. Vincenzo La Salandra received his master’s degree from Polytechnic University of Turin.  He is currently a PhD student in civil engineering at the University of Trento.  His major research interests include dynamic and earthquake engineering, the latter of which is the focus of his PhD programme.
Prof. Jamie E. Padgett, Rice University in Houston, USA. The research of Prof. Padgett focuses on the application of probabilistic methods for risk assessment of structural infrastructure, including the subsequent quantification of resilience and sustainability. Her work emphasizes infrastructure portfolios such as regional portfolios of bridges or oil storage tanks exposed to multiple hazards, including earthquakes, hurricanes, or aging and deterioration.  She has published over 175 articles in journals or archived conference proceedings in the general area of structural response, reliability and life-cycle assessment. Dr. Padgett was the founding Chair of the ASCE technical committee on Multiple Hazard Mitigation, and is an active member of several national technical committees within ASCE and TRB.  She currently serves on editorial boards for the ASCE Journal of Bridge Engineering, ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering, and Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure. Dr. Padgett has received several awards and recognitions including the 2017 ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, and the 2017 (R+T)2 Award at Rice University for excellence in research and teaching.  She also was awarded the 2011 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award and the 2016 IALCCE Junior Award for “contributions to life-cycle analysis of structures”.  Among other projects, Dr. Padgett currently works as a part of several large national or regional research efforts including the NIST Center of Excellence for Community Disaster Resilience (headquartered at Colorado State University), the NSF NHERI Cyberinfrastructure “DesignSafe-CI” (headquartered at University of Texas, Austin), and the Severe Storm Prediction Education and Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center (headquartered at Rice University)
Dr Fabrizio Paolacci, University Roma Tre, Italy. Dr Paolacci graduated in Civil Engineering in 1992 at the University of Rome "La Sapienza" and Ph.D. in Structural Engineering in 1997. He is currently Assistant Professor in Structural Engineering at University Roma Tre – Department of Engineering. His main scientific interests are focused mainly on: a) Performance-based design of steel-concrete composite bridges, b) Assessment and reduction of the seismic risk of reinforced concrete buildings and bridges, c) Seismic risk of major-hazard industrial plants and applicability of innovative protection systems (base isolation and energy dissipation), e) Seismic vulnerability of high-voltage electric networks and substations and applicability of innovative seismic protection systems, f) Passive and semi-active control of structures. He gained a long standing experience in the management of research projects about experimental assessment of the seismic response of structures.
He has been Visiting Scholar in 1999 at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of University of California at Berkeley. From 2008 to 2013, he assumed the role of scientific coordinator of the Laboratory of Testing Materials and Structures of the Department of Structures of the University Roma Tre; currently he is the Chair of PVP Division Seismic Engineering Technical Committee of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering. He is author of more than 100 publications on International peer-reviewed Journals and conferences.
Dr Matteo Pozzi, Carnegie Mellon University, USA. Matteo Pozzi obtained a Ph.D. in structural engineering from the University of Trento (2007), he was a post-doc researcher at UC Berkeley (2011-12) and since 2012 he is an assistant prof. in the Civil & Environmental Engineering dept. at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His research deals with risk analysis and decision optimization for civil infrastructure systems, using engineering models and sensor data, and he teaches courses on Urban Systems Modeling and on Data Management. He is co-author of about 30 journal papers and in 2017 he got a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation.
Dr Dimitros Vamvatsikos, National Technical University of Athens, Greece. Dimitrios holds a Diploma in Civil Engineering from NTU Athens (1997), and an MSc and PhD from Stanford University (1998, 2002). Starting in 2005 and for 5.5 years he was appointed at the University of Cyprus. Since January 2011 he has joined the faculty of the Institute of Steel Structures at NTU Athens, where he is now Assistant Professor specializing in integrating structural modeling, computational techniques, probabilistic concepts and experimental results into a coherent framework for the performance evaluation of structures and infrastructure subject to man-made and natural hazards. His seminal work in Incremental Dynamic Analysis has received wide attention, placing him among the top cited structural engineers. He has co-authored seismic assessment guidelines for buildings (FEMA-P440A and NIST-GCR-10-917-9) and has been a primary contributor to the seismic loss assessment methodology and the open-source risk-modeler’s toolkit adopted by the Global Earthquake Model Foundation.