It is a great pleasure and honor to write this message after I assumed my new position as the PEER Director on January 1, 2016. I would like to wish all of you a happy and fruitful new year. As you may know, Professor Stephen Mahin has completed a 6-year term as the PEER Director where many accomplishments have taken place under his direction. I would like to thank Professor Mahin for his leadership role and I am confident he will remain active within PEER by sharing his knowledge and expertise with the PEER community. We will hear more about the accomplishments of PEER during the Annual Meeting that will take place on January 28-29, 2016 at the International House on the UC Berkeley campus.
On a personal note, I grew up in Cairo, Egypt, obtained my PhD from Cornell University, and joined the UC Berkeley Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty as a member of the Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Materials program in 1997. I am married with two children. I enjoy working with and learning from my students while solving problems related to: 1) computational and experimental research on the performance assessment, design, and retrofit of various structural systems under extreme loads mainly caused by earthquakes, and 2) research focused on material characterization, design, and lifecycle analysis of energy-efficient buildings. Over the years, I greatly benefited from collaborative research with colleagues from several national and international institutions.
I intend to work with the PEER community to maintain the center’s focus and reputable work on performance based earthquake engineering (PBEE) and the related enabling technologies. I am very excited to see the increased use of PBEE in engineering practice, and I am interested in further increasing the adoption of PBEE to the level of standard practice. I believe that the general methodology of performance based engineering (PBE) should be developed and utilized for achieving resilient designs and sustainable retrofits of infrastructure systems in urban areas that are exposed to multi-hazards. Therefore, I view expanding the international footprint and collaborative research of PEER with domestic and worldwide centers of similar or complementary missions as a top priority. Furthermore, I am keen on having more faculty and students from PEER core and affiliate institutes engaged with the center activities. For all this to happen, it is important to strengthen ties with government agencies and to solidify support from our growing pool of Business and Industry Partnership (BIP) members.
I look forward to this year’s Annual Meeting at the end of January to hear from all of you to shape the future opportunities and priorities of PEER. Please refer to the Annual Meeting website for more information about the schedule, program, and registration at http://peer.berkeley.edu/events/annual_meeting/2016AM/.