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  • Congratulations to Dr. Rodrigo Castillo (co-advised with Dr. Okumus) for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation in August 2023. The title of his Ph.D. dissertation is “Assessment of the shear capacity and condition of cracked reinforced concrete beams using machine learning.”

  • Ph.D. candidate Rodrigo Castillo, co-advised with Professor Pinar Okumus, won first place in the 2023 SEAS Poster Competition and the UB Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creativity Award.

  • Mr. Nima Tajik Hesaramir has joined the research group as a Ph.D. student. Welcome Nima!

  • Fernando presented his research results on the integration of wildfire models to simulate fire spread in the wildland urban interface at the 2022 AGU Fall Meeting in Chicago and at the 2022 SimCenter Symposium at University of Texas.

  • Congratulations to Dr. Mohammad Syed (co-advised with Dr. Okumus) for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation in August 2022. The title of his Ph.D. dissertation is “Tessellated structural-architectural systems for rapid construction, repair, and disassembly.”

  • Negar was invited to present our research results at the “California Fire Science Seminar Series.” Her presentation on “Structural damage from wildfires in wildland-urban interface communities” can be found here.

  • Negar presented on “Enhancing the resilience of tunnels subject to fire events” at the Seminar Series by the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) Student Chapter of the University of Queensland in Australia:

  • Negar was invited to serve as a panelist in a workshop by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). The virtual workshop was for the “Committee on Hazard Mitigation and Resilience Applied Research” with a theme on “Compounding and Cascading Events.” Negar presented in “Panel 1: Towards a better understanding of cascading and compounding disasters: characterizing drivers, systems, and relationships.” The workshop video can be found here.

  • Negar will be serving as the associate editor of Fire Technology by Springer Nature, the peer-reviewed journal of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the Society of Fire Protection Engineering (SFPE).


  • The ASCE publication on “Post-Earthquake Fire Assessment of Buildings: Evaluation Framework” is now available online. This book was prepared by the Post-Earthquake Fire Hazard Task Group of the Fire Protection Committee of the Structural Engineering Institute of ASCE.

  • Negar is serving as the co-Chair of the ASCE/SEI Fire Protection Committee as of October 2021.

  • Negar received the UB’s 2021 Exceptional Scholar: Young Investigator Award.

  • Congratulations to Dr. Nan Hua (co-advised with Dr. Tessari) for successfully defending her Ph.D. dissertation in August 2021. The title of her Ph.D. dissertation was “Experimental and numerical assessment of fire damage to reinforced concrete tunnel liners.”

  • Congratulations to Nan for receiving the 2021 UB SEAS Dean’s Graduate Achievement Award. The award honors exceptional graduate students who have distinguished themselves through excellence in research and related technical presentations/publications.

  • Congratulations to Dr. Amir Sarreshtehdari for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation in May 2021. The title of his Ph.D. dissertation was “The impact of fire following earthquake on urban environment considering the seismic performance of infrastructure networks.”

  • Congratulations to Dr. Ramla Qureshi for successfully defending her Ph.D. dissertation in December 2020. The title of her Ph.D. dissertation was "Evaluation of steel columns under fire: Real-time hybrid fire testing and reliability assessment."

  • Our group had five papers in the 2020 Structures in Fire Conference, hosted by the University of Queensland. Nan presented our research on “damage assessment framework for tunnel structures under fire”. Ramla presented our work on “evaluating fire induced failure probability of steel columns designed based on US prescriptive standards” and “real-time hybrid simulation to capture column buckling in a steel frame under fire.” Ramla received the best student paper award and the best student presentation award.

  • Our research group will collaborate with the University of Nevada Reno, University of California Los Angeles, National Center for Atmospheric Research, and the Desert Research Institute in Nevada to develop a data-driven urban fire spread model and evaluate risk of wildfire in wildland urban interface communities:​

  • Our group published two papers on a new surveying methodology for fuel load density in buildings:

      Paper 1 (methodology):

      Paper 2 (application):

  • FPE eXTRA Issue 51 features an article, by Negar and our collaborator Dr. Thomas Gernay from Johns Hopkins University, on "A digitized surveying method using machine vision to collect fuel load data in buildings": 


  • Nan attended the 2019 IABSE Congress in New York City and presented her research on “Design fire scenarios for railway tunnel fires.” The project is a collaboration with Professor Anthony Tessari of UB.

  • Ramla received the American Association of University Women (AAUW) International Doctoral Fellowship for academic year 2019-2020.

  • Negar, Amir, and our collaborator Dr. Moharrami Gargari from WSP attended the 2019 EMI conference in Caltech, California. Negar co-organized two sessions on “Earthquake resilience and cascading effects and emerging topics” and “New developments in Structural Fire Engineering.” Amir presented on his research  work about fire following earthquake at community level. Dr. Moharrami Gargari presented our research on building level fragility for functionality of a non-structural component. Negar presented results of an ongoing collaborative research on performance of tessellated structural architectural systems.

  • Gauhar Nurlybekova, undergraduate student from Kazakhstan, joined our research group for Summer of 2019, as part of our exchange student program with Kazakhstan.

  • Esther Saula, UB undergraduate student, joined our research group for Summer of 2019, as part of the LSAMP Summer Research Internship Program.

  • Jonathan Mann, UB undergraduate student, joined our research group for Summer of 2019, as part of the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.

  • Ramla presented her research on uncertainty quantification in material properties at elevated temperatures at the third International Fire Safety Symposium in Ottawa, Canada.

  • Fernando presented his research results on fire spread in wildland urban interface communities at the 2019 International Fire Behavior and Fuels Control conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

  • Negar attended the 2019 Structures Congress in Orlando, Florida, as the recipient of the SEI Young Professional Scholarship. Negar attended the ASCE Fire Protection committee in Orlando and gave two presentations on tunnel fire research and teaching structural fire engineering.

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