Denis Istrati

Research Assistant Professor
Denis Istrati

Dr. Istrati is a research assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. He received his Ph.D. from the same institution specializing in tsunami inundation of bridges and fluid-structure interaction. He has been awarded multiple awards to conduct his research and present his pioneering work at annual meetings of leading research institutions, such as the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER). He has also participated in reconnaissance surveys with leading experts from the US and Japan, where he investigated the performance of highway bridges during extreme natural hazards, such as the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes.

Dr. Istrati is currently involved in four multi-disciplinary research projects, serving as a co-principal investigator in three of those projects. The first project awarded to Dr. Istrati is part of a Transportation Pooled Fund study led by Oregon Department of Transportation, and focuses on the development, verification and validation of tsunami design loading equations and risk assessment methodologies for highway bridges. The second project, which is funded by PEER, investigates the effect of tsunami-borne debris on coastal bridges, focusing particularly on the quantification of the damming and impact loading, the development of mitigation strategies and the calibration of cutting-edge numerical methods. These two projects will contribute to the development of tsunami design guidelines for bridges, providing the first of its kind official documentation for assessing the effects of tsunami-induced flooding on bridges.

Dr. Istrati’s research work aims at improving the performance of structures and critical infrastructure against extreme natural hazards, such as tsunamis, hurricanes and extreme flooding events, ultimately paving the way to a safer and more resilient society.

  • Ph.D., University of Nevada, Reno
  • Diploma Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Greece
Affiliations and memberships
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)
  • Transportation Research Board (TRB)
  • Structural Extreme Events Reconnaissance (StEER)

Research interests

  • Tsunami, hurricane and extreme flooding effects on structures
  • Computational fluid-dynamics and fluid-structure interaction
  • Hydrodynamic testing and innovative cyber-physical methods
  • Resilience of coastal communities to extreme hazards and climate-change
  • Multi-hazard and life-cycle risk assessment

Current research projects

  • Tsunami-borne Debris Loading on Bridges
  • Verification of Tsunami Bridge Design Equations
  • Real-Time Cyber-Physical Simulation of Wave-Structure Interaction
  • Design and Fabrication of a Large-Scale Biaxial Soil-Box for Soil-Structure Interaction Studies

Selected publications

  • Xiang T., Istrati, D., Yim, S., Buckle, I.G., Lomonaco, P. 2019: Tsunami Loads on a Representative Coastal Bridge Deck – Experimental Study and Validation of Design Equations, ASCE Jl. of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering (in press)
  • Istrati, D., Buckle, I.G., 2019. Role of trapped air on the tsunami-induced transient loads and response of coastal bridges. Jl. Geosciences, MDPI, 9 (191), doi: 10.3390/geosciences9040191
  • Istrati, D., Buckle, I. G., Lomonaco, P., Yim, S. 2018. Deciphering tsunami wave impact and associated connection forces in open-girder coastal bridges. Jl. of Marine Science and Engineering, MDPI, 6 (148). doi: 10.3390/jmse6040148
  • Bitsani, A., Istrati, D., Buckle, I. G., Motamed, R., Elfass, S., Laplace, P., Siddharthan, R., 2018. Design of a Large-Scale Biaxial Soil-Box for Seismic Soil-Structure-Interaction Studies. Proc. 11th National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Los Angeles California, June 25-29, 2018
  • Istrati, D., Buckle, I.G., Itani, A., Lomonaco, P., Yim S., 2017. Large-Scale FSI Experiments on Tsunami-induced Forces in Bridges. 16th World Conf. on Earthquake Eng., Santiago, Chile, January 9-13, 2017
  • Istrati, D., Buckle, I. G., Lomonaco, P., Yim, S., & Itani, A., 2017. Tsunami Induced Forces in Bridges: Large-Scale Experiments And The Role Of Air-Entrapment. Proc Coastal Engineering, 1(35), 30.
  • Istrati, D., Buckle, I.G., Lomonaco, P., Yim, S., Itani, A.M., 2016. Large-scale Experiments of Tsunami Impact Forces on Bridges: The Role of Fluid-Structure Interaction and Air-Venting, Proc. 26th Conf. Intl. Soc. Ocean and Polar Engineering, Rhodes, Greece, June 26-July 1.
  • Lomonaco, P., Istrati,D., Maddux, T., Buckle, I.G., Yim, S., Xiang, T., 2016. Large-Scale Testing of Tsunami Impact Forces on Bridges. Proc. 6th Intl. Conf. Application of Physical Modelling in Coastal and Port Engineering and Science (Coastlab16), Ottawa, Canada, May 10-13.
  • Istrati, D. and Buckle, I.G., 2014. Effect of fluid-structure interaction on connection forces in bridges due to tsunami loads. Proc. 30th US-Japan Bridge Eng. Workshop, Washington D.C., United States