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Research — Participate in the Solution

In the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences, faculty, undergraduates like you, and graduate students all work together to find answers to the big questions facing society — questions that encompass engineering, science, and technology. The research conducted in the labs shown on this page is sponsored by federal organizations, such as the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Naval Research, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, NASA, and many others. It is also sponsored by corporations, such as General Electric, AON, FM Global, and other industry partners.

What that means to you as an engineering student is that you have the opportunity to work with nationally and internationally known faculty, as well as top flight researchers around the world on cutting-edge projects that address the grand challenges of our time, such as clean water, energy, sustainability, natural and man-made hazards, urban infrastructure, structures, climate, weather, and earth and planet systems. These are just a few examples of the scope of the research that's happening here at Notre Dame, research you can participate in through undergraduate research experiences for class credit or as a paid research assistant. The bottom line is that you get to explore the fields you are interested in while also gaining hands-on training and working to make the world a better place in which to live.

Check out these labs, the work they are doing, and the research opportunities available to you as an undergraduate and get ready to participate. You can also take a more detailed look at the research themes on which our department focuses by visiting our Research Themes page.

Research Laboratories


Actinide Research Laboratory

Peter C. Burns

Studying nuclear fuels, wastes, medical isotopes, and weapons detection

Applied Microbiology Laboratory

Applied Microbiology Laboratory

Joshua Shrout

Studying the ways bacteria recognize changes in their environment that leads to good or bad behavior of those microbes that affect us as humans

Coastal Hydraulics Laboratory

Coastal Hydraulics Laboratory

Andrew Kennedy

Studying the effects of severe storms on coastlines by understanding and predicting storm waves and surge and their effects on human activities

Computational Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Seismology Laboratory

George Mavroeidis

Understanding the mechanics of earthquakes and mitigating their impact on civil engineering infrastructure

Computational Hydraulics Laboratory

Computational Hydraulics Laboratory
Joannes Westerink

Understanding and mitigating the impact of hurricane storm surge and waves on coastal cities and infrastructure by simulating these processes with high performance computations; simulating larval transport in coastal fisheries; assessing the impact of ice on winter storms in arctic regions

Computational Physics & Structural Simulation Lab

Computational Physics & Structural Simulation Laboratory

Kapil Khandelwal

Optimizing the design of structural meta-materials for a sustainable built environment and the design of robust and resilient infrastructural systems

Environmental Actinide Chemistry Laboratory

Amy Hixon

Researching the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle to increase our confidence in predictions of radionuclide mobility over long time scales, to evaluate recycling of used nuclear fuel using only water, and to deter nuclear terrorism

Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory

Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory

Robert Nerenberg

Assessing the use of environmental bacteria and biofilms to produce clean water, produce energy from wastes, and prevent "dead zones" from occurring in lakes and coastal waters

Environmental Fluid Dynamics Lab

Environmental Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

Joe Fernando

Studying the interaction between the atmosphere and oceans and the influence that interaction has on circulation patterns; understanding the effects of topography on weather extremes; evaluating harvesting wind energy

Environmental Geochemistry and Geomicrobiology Lab

Environmental Geochemistry and Geomicrobiology Laboratory

Jeremy B. Fein

Researching water-rock interactions that control the fate and transport of heavy metals and radionuclides in groundwater and surface water environments

Groundwater Hydrology Lab Cover

Groundwater Hydrology Laboratory

Diogo Bolster

Understanding  how contaminants move in the natural environment in order to design optimal protection and remediation strategies to ensure sustainable water and air quality for all; learning from the way nature designs its water protection systems to improve our own engineering designs

High Performance system Analysis and Design Laboratory

High Performance System Analysis and Design Laboratory (HIPAD)

Alexandros Taflanidis

Improving the resilience of communities against natural hazards via innovative disaster risk reduction practices for the developed and developing world; prompting sustainable solutions and designs through life-cycle analysis and practices

Kinetic Structures Laboratory

Kinetic Structures Laboratory

Ashley P. Thrall

Investigating the behavior of moving, modular, and deployable structures with applications for military operations, accelerated construction, and disaster relief

Land Surface Hydrology and Water Resources Management Laboratory

Alan F. Hamlet

Studying the complex relationships between climate, land surface hydrology, and water resources management in both the built and natural environment

Midwest Isotope and Trace Element Research Analytical Center

Midwest Isotope and Trace Element Research Analytical Center (MITERAC)

Antonio Simonetti, Clive R. Neal

Exploring the potential of the moon for human space exploration; studying super volcano eruptions and their effect the environment; enhancing our nation's and global security through advanced forensic investigations of complex nuclear materials

NatHaz(Natural Hazards) Modeling Laboratory

NatHaz (Natural Hazards) Modeling Laboratory

Ahsan Kareem

Modeling loads caused by natural hazards such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and waves using computational solutions, laboratory, and full scale studies

Organic Biogeochemistry and Paleoclimatology Lab

Melissa Berke

Studying the way the climate is changing and analyzing the impact it has on the environment


Structural DYNAmics & MOnitoring (DYNAMO) Laboratory

Tracy Kijewski-Correa

Developing new technologies to address civil infrastructure challenges posed by increased urbanization and hazard vulnerability

Structures Systems Laboratory

Structures Systems Laboratory

Yahya C. Kurama

Designing, analyzing, and large-scale testing of concrete structural systems to develop resilience under extreme loads from earthquake and fire, sustainable reinforced concrete structures with recycled materials, and high performance structural systems enabling the next generation of nuclear and wind power facilities