Welcome to our research group's page

Our research group consists of PhD and MS students, undergraduate student researchers,  postdoctoral scholars, and visiting researchers. Our primary focus is on research at the interface of geotechnical and structural earthquake engineering. If you are interested in joining, please contact me via email with your resume and record of scholarly accomplishments. We always seek motivated and driven students dedicated to share our passion and work attitude. Please note that MS and PhD admissions are granted with the regular cycle of the academic year. Please select your desired research area carefully and make sure you have a clear vision and time frame for your work ahead. Partial PhD enrollment (e.g. you working for another company while being a PhD student) is discouraged, as PhD research requires considerable time and dedication.

At the undergraduate level you can join our group year round as part of a CEE 199 individual research study and work alongside us in the lab, the field and the office. However, you need to get formal approval prior to enrolling. For MS students our Department offers individual research units (CEE 299) as part of your curriculum, as well as the option of a MS thesis. If you are interested in doing MS research work, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Current research group members

Susana Anacleto

Susana Anacleto is a doctoral student in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UC Irvine. She received her BSc degree from Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC Barcelona-Tech), although she spent one year at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) as an exchange student. She obtained her MSc degree in Structural Engineering from the University of California, Irvine (UCI). As a recipient of the Balsells fellowship, her research work at UCI includes the analytical assessment and numerical evaluation of RC components in seismic areas. Traveling is her biggest passion in life. She defines herself as a true animal lover, and she profusely enjoys nature and wildlife photography.  She practices yoga and pilates.

Awards & Honors

2017 Henri Samuli Fellowship Award
2016-2017 HSSoE Graduate Student Research & Travel Grant
2013-2017 Balsells Graduate Fellowship Scholarship
2015 Medhat Haroun Engineering Fellowship for Acadmic Excellence
2010 COMSA-EMTE Railway National IX Award (BS Thesis award)
2007-2008 Erasmus Mundus Scholarship

Genesis Figureoa

Genesis is currently a master’s student in Geotechnical Engineering at UC Irvine. She completed her B.S. in Civil Engineering at the Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral in her home country, Ecuador. Upon her graduation, Genesis started working in a company that provides engineering solutions through state-of-the-art engineering in geotechnical, structural, and earthquake engineering. Genesis’s current research topics involve the spatial and time dependent quantification of soil improvement following the installation of Drilled Displacement Piles, as well as the nonlinear pile behavior under axial and lateral loading. Genesis enjoys traveling and outdoor activities.


Awards & Honors

2023 UCI Miguel Valez Fellowship Award
2022 Medhat Haroun Scholarship Award
2022 DFI Paper Special Recognition Runner Up Award
2022 DFI Women in Deep Foundations: Professional Development Grant
2021 ASCE – Geo-Institute Orange County Chapter Scholarship
2020 ASCE Los Angeles Geotechnical Scholarship Award
2020 ADSC IAFD Graduate Study Scholarship Award
2020 – 2022 Fulbright Fellowship

Andres Lozano

Andres is currently a master’s student in Structural Engineering at UC Irvine and received his B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Irvine in 2018. He has worked as a consultant for Michael Baker International for over 3 years, primarily focused on public infrastructure such as bridges, culverts/channels, and retaining walls. He is president of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute club at UC Irvine. Under the supervision of Prof. Lemnitzer, Andres is working on 3D modeling and numerical analysis of deep excavations of the LA Metro’s purple line extension stations.

Joseph Rodriguez

Joseph Rodriguez is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Irvine. He is currently participating in a NSF funded research project in collaboration with LA Metro. Joseph is involved in organizing, processing, and analyzing field performance data for excavation sites along the Metro Purple Line Extension. Joseph is currently serving as External Vice President for MAES (Latinos in Science and Engineering), which is an on-campus club. He is also an active member of the California Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program (CAMP).


Awards & Honors

2022 ASCE GeoInstitute Orange County Scholarship Award
2021 UROP Award for Undergraduate Research

Taki Chrysovergis

Taki is a PhD candidate in the CEE Department at UC Irvine. His current research focuses on investigating the performance of deep excavations in Los Angeles with respect to tar-impacted soils and conventional soils. As part of his research, he is also compiling a global literature review on tar-impacted soils, investigating the effects of tar soil on in-situ testing, preparing case histories of the deep excavations, and performing numerical modeling.  He received his BS and MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he performed research in the fields of geo-environmental engineering (for slope stability of municipal solid waste facilities) and geotechnical earthquake engineering (for cyclic properties of peaty organic soils).  He is also a Principal Engineer at SPC Engineering, licensed civil and geotechnical engineer in CA, where he provides consulting services for design and forensic projects.  During his time as a consulting engineer, he taught soil mechanics at UC Irvine and Cal State Long Beach, and for PE Exam Review courses. He is a Past-Chair of the Orange County Geo-Institute, and currently holds national and local leadership positions in ASCE. His free time is spent with his wonderful wife and two young children, along with following sports, cooking, and traveling.


Awards & Honors

2022 American Society of Civil Engineers – Region 9 (California) Civil Engineer of the Year Award
2022 American Society of Civil Engineers – LA/Southern California Civil Engineer of the Year Award
2021 American Society of Civil Engineers – Orange County Younger Civil Engineer of the Year Award

Past research group members

Dr. Luis Herrera

Luis completed his PhD studies in Structural Engineering, and has received his BS,  MS and PhD  degrees from the University of California, Irvine. For his graduate studies Luis was awarded the Eugena Robles Fellowship. He was also the winner of the 2016-2017 Presidential Dissertation Year Fellowship. His research work addressed the nonlinear behavior and performance criteria of reinforced concrete moment resisting frame (MRF)beams with openings via large scale experimental testing and accompanying analytical studies. Luis has worked at UCI as postdoctoral scholar, and joined Structural Focus in January 2018.

Awards & Honors

2016 Presidential Dissertation Year Fellowship
2014 NSF Honorary Mention
2012 Eugena Robles Fellowship

Dr. Camilla Favaretti

Camilla Favaretti completed her Ph.D.  studies in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Irvine in 2018, after joining UCI in 2013 following the completion of her B.S. degree in Architectural Engineering (2010), and a M.S. degree in Civil Engineering (2012) from Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy. She collaborated on establishing a database (findapile.com) for large scale pile foundation experiments with the objective to guide deep foundation design using p-y formulations derived from empirical results. Beyond the establishment of the pile data base, she is working on experimental testing on small scale pile specimens using a unique sensors approach to revise current p-y derivation procedures and investigate the overall nonlinear seismic performance of drilled shafts under lateral loading. She has served as the president of the UC Irvine EERI Student chapter, Seismic Chair, Outreach Chair and PERW Co-Chair of the Student Leadership Council. Camilla graduated in 2018 and works in Arup’s Geotechnical Group at the New York office.

Awards & Honors

2015 ASCE LA Geo-Institute Chapter Scholarship Award
2013 ADSC Women’s Association Scholar
2011 UCEAP Scholarship

Dr. Lohrasb Keykhosropour

Lohrasb was born and raised in Iran and completed his BS in civil engineering in 2007 at the Isfahan University of Technology. In 2011, he graduated within the top 10% of MS students from Amirkabir University of Technology, Iran in geotechnical engineering and was privileged to find immediate employment in the field of geotechnical engineering. He started his Ph.D. studies at UC Irvine in 2015. His main research interests include seismic soil-structure interaction, liquefaction mitigation, ground response analysis, numerical modeling of soil-structure systems, and ground improvement methods. His doctoral research works towards developing a data-driven computational framework to determine the magnitude and distribution of seismic soil pressures for deep flexible underground structures. Lohrasb advanced to PhD candidacy in September 2017 and plans to graduate with a Ph.D. degree in summer 2018. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); the Deep Foundations Institute (DFI); and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI).

Awards & Honors

2017 EERI – FEMA Fellowship Award
2017 American Society of Civil Engineers Los Angeles GeoInstitute Chapter Scholarship
2016 Henri Samueli Endowed Fellowship
2016 Medhat Haroun Engineering Fellowship Award

James Collett

James is a Master student

James Collett is a master’s student studying Structural Engineering at UC Irvine, from where he also holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, with an emphasis in Structures. James is currently studying empirical methods for the prediction of performance-based passive resistance of earth retaining structures (MS thesis). He and his wife Samantha reside in Glendora, California, where they both enjoy reading and spending time with family. James’ personal hobbies include photography, all kinds of technology, and music (you can check out the band he’s in here).

Awards & Honors

2016 ASCE GeoInstitute Orange County Chapter Scholarship
2011 – 2015 UCI campus wide Honors Program, UC Irvine

Eric Tavarez

Eric pursued his bachelor degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at UCI, and was heavily involved with research in the geotechnical group. Eric’s  project included the assessment of academic geotechnical curricula in comparison to industry expectations and requirements upon graduation. This project is executed in collaboration with ASCE’s Earth Retaining Structures Committee. Eric served as External Vice President in the Latinos in Science and Engineering On-Campus Club (MAES) and was also a part of The California Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program (CAMP). He has also participated in many programs within their organization such as CAMP’s Summer Science Academy, Summer Research Scholars Program, and Preparations for Graduate School Program. After graduation Eric joined WSP Orange County.


Awards & Honors

2020 UROP Award for Undergraduate Research
2019 Gutierrez Family Fellowship

Rabie Farrag

Rabie received his PhD degree from UCI in 2021, and worked as postdoctoral scholar until April 2022. Prior to that he received his BS and MS degrees from the University of Cairo in structural engineering. Rabie investigated the soil-structure-interaction behavior of reinforced concrete pile foundations under seismic loading. Rabie’s research included large-scale testing and accompanying numerical modeling. He taught at UC Irvine and at Cal State Long Beach,  has served as TA and lecturer for many classes prior to graduation, and mentored several undergraduate student chapters. Rabie joined the structural engineering company Engelkirk in their Irvine office.


Awards & Honors

2020 ASCE OC Geotechnical Scholarship Award
2020 DFI Student Paper Competition Award
2017 Medhat Haroun Engineering Fellowship Award
2016 Outstanding Engineering Student Award, Orange County Engineering Council

Aditya Bajaj

Aditya is completed his Masters in Structural Engineering at UC Irvine. After recieving his BS in Civil Engineering from VJTI, India he joined UCI in 2016. His focus area is structural and earthquake engineering. His research involved the numerical modeling of rock-socketed piles under lateral loading. He is experienced in the subjects of structural concrete elements, seismic resistant design & shoring methodologies. Since graduating, Aditya works with Wright Engineers, a structural engineering firm in Arizona.




Riccardo Cappa - PIF

Dr. Riccardo Cappa

Riccardo completed is M.S. in Structural Engineering and his Ph.D. in the field of Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering in 2012 and 2016 at UCI, respectively. Under the supervision of Prof. Lemnitzer, Riccardo worked on the seismic response of levee structures via experimental studies (i.e., centrifuge testing) and numerical simulations. Riccardo’s work was recognized by the 2014 Public Impact Fellowship, the Dr. Medhat Haroun fellowship, and speaking invitations to the State Capitol in Sacrameto and at the Federal Capitol in Washington D.C..

Riccardo currently works for Simspon, Grumpertz & Heger Inc. (SGH), an expert structural engineering consulting company in Newport Beach, CA. Besides his own publishing record (see below), Riccardo was awarded the 2017 Outstanding Reviewer of the Year award by the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering.

Awards & Honors

2017 Outstanding reviewer award, ASCE JGGE
2016 6th Conf. on Earthqu. Geotechnical Eng. travel grant
2015 C.A.S.E. program speaker for science and research, Washington, D.C.
2015 UCI G.R.A.D. speaker for science & research, State Capitol, Sacramento
2014 Public Impact Fellowship
2014 Dr. Medhat Haroun Fellowship

Ph.D. University of CA, Irvine (2016)
M.Sc. University of CA, Irvine (2012)
B.Sc. University of Bologna, Italy (2011)


Dr. Volker Slowik

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Volker Slowik obtained his diploma and doctoral degree in Civil Engineering from Technische Hochschule Leipzig, Germany. After post-doctoral research work at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and at the University of Colorado at Boulder he was in 1995 appointed Professor at the Leipzig University of Applied Sciences, Germany. His research interests include fracture mechanics and the experimental safety evaluation of existing structures. Prof. Slowik was a visiting researcher and lecturer at UCLA in 2008 and at UC Irvine in 2014.

Awards & Honors

2008 Fulbright Scholarship
1991 Research Award of the Technische Hochschule Leipzig, Germany

Dr.-Ing., Technische Hochschule Leipzig, Germany (1990)
Diploma, Technische Hochschule Leipzig, Germany (1986)

George Anoyatis

Dr. George Anoyatis

George received his geotechnical-structural doctoral degree from the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Patras, performing research on the analysis of static and dynamic behavior of piles in homogeneous and inhomogeneous soils by means of three-dimensional elastodynamic analytical models and experimental tests. He holds an MSc in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Patras and a Diploma (equivalent to MEng in Structural Engineering) from the School of Civil Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens. In 2015 he joined the Geotechnical Research Group of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) as a Post-Doctoral Research Scholar.

Since 2016 Dr. George Anoyatis is a Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering at the University of the West of England – UWE in Bristol, UK working on analytical models for a variety of problems in Geotechnical Engineering (e.g., piles, retaining walls) and teaching geotechnical related courses. His research interests include dynamic soil-pile interaction by theoretical and experimental methods, wave propagation in inhomogeneous media, and p-y curves for pile foundations.

Awards & Honors

2017 Vice Chancellor’s Early Career Researcher Development Award, University of the West of England UWE, Bristol, UK

2009  C. Caratheodory triennial scholarship for doctoral studies, University of Patras

Ph.D. University of Patras, Greece
M.Sc. University of Patras, Greece
MEng. National Technical University of Athens NTUA, Greece