College of Engineering

Dr. Mazdak Tootkaboni of Civil and Environmental Engineering named 2014 NSF CAREER Award winner

Dr. Mazdak Tootkaboni, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UMass Dartmouth, has received a Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  The award is one of the highest honors given by NSF to recognize young faculty in science and engineering who are effectively integrating research and teaching, and it provides a large grant to conduct research.

"The discrepancy between experimental measurements/observations and theoretical/numerical predictions is probably the largest in stability-critical structures." said Dr. Tootkaboni.  "This class of structures has emerged as a result of evolution in design strategies often in cases where pushing the design efficiency to its boundaries is the ultimate goal.  This leads to structural systems with a significant presence of ultra-slender structural elements.  The challenge in devising "predictive" analysis frameworks for this class of structures is that a slight deviation from "perfection" dramatically affects their response to external stimulants.  The result is a large scatter in test results especially when the response up to and beyond collapse load is of interest."

With support provided under NSF CAREER program Dr. Tootkaboni plans to replace the conservative stand of the traditional design which tries to address the challenge via the use of large safety margins with one that looks at the mechanics of stability-critical structures through an uncertainty-informed lens.  As for broader Impacts, the proposal offers an educational plan that consists of graduate and undergraduate research, outreach to freshman engineering students, and curriculum development for the newly established Ph.D. program in Engineering and Applied Sciences at UMass Dartmouth.

"The NSF CAREER Award is one of the most prestigious awards for junior faculty" said Robert Peck, Dean of the College of Engineering.  "Dr. Tootkaboni is an outstanding researcher and teacher and we are proud of his achievement."

Dr. Tootkaboni holds a B.S. and M.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Tehran (Iran) and a Ph.D. in Structural Mechanics from the Johns Hopkins University.  He joined the faculty at UMass Dartmouth in 2010 and works in the area of probabilistic and applied mechanics.

With the announcement of this award, Dr. Tootkaboni has now secured his third federally-funded grant, including $215,000 in funding from NSF for developing a probabilistic paradigm for advancing analysis-based design of thin-walled structures and another $368,000 in funding from NSF for devising a comprehensive computational framework for analysis and optimization of wave energy converters, in which Dr. Tootkaboni serves as a Co-PI with Dr. Raessi of Mechanical Engineering as PI.

Author: "Dr. Tootkabone [Contact]"
Date: 1-4-2014

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