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Dr. Therese P. McAllister

Dr. Therese McAllister is the Group Leader of the Community Resilience Group in the Materials and Structural Systems Research Division of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Current research activities include community disaster resilience of building and infrastructure systems and the performance of structures in fire. She serves on standards and technical committees of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the International Code Council (ICC). Dr. McAllister is a registered professional engineer in Maryland and an ASCE Structural Engineering Institute Fellow.

Dr. McAllister currently conducts research on disaster resilience at the community scale, with a focus on the integrated performance of physical infrastructure systems and interdependencies with social and economic systems. She has expertise in structural reliability, risk assessment, and failure analysis of buildings and infrastructure systems. She conducted detailed studies of the WTC disaster, Hurricane Katrina flooding in New Orleans, and Hurricane Sandy flood effects on infrastructure systems. As a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) risk analysis team for the levees around New Orleans, she received the USACE Commander's Award for Public Service. Prior to joining NIST, she conducted forensic studies of structural failures.

Dr. McAllister has specialized expertise in the performance of structures in fire, including nonlinear finite element modeling of structural systems, nonlinear temperature-dependent material models, and thermally-induced failure modes. Her research includes performance-based methodologies for structures subject to fire. Dr. McAllister was editor of the FEMA World Trade Center Building Performance Study and the Co-Leader for the Structural Fire Response and Collapse of WTC 1, WTC 2, and WTC 7 of the NIST World Trade Center Investigation. She received the U.S. DOC Gold Medal Award for her contribution to the federal investigation of the World Trade Center disaster. 

Dr. McAllister is actively involved in the development of codes and standards, and participates in the following activities:

  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Standard 7:Minimum Loads for Buildings and Other Structures
  • ASCE Technical Council on Life-Cycle Performance, Safety, Reliability and Risk of Structural Systems, Task Group 3 Risk Assessment of Structural Infrastructure Facilities and Risk-Based Decision Making
  • ASCE Technical Activities Division, Fire Protection Committee
  • International Code Council (ICC) International Building Code (IBC) Structural Code Committee
Dr. Therese P. McAllister


Research Structural Engineer
Materials and Structural Systems Division
Structures Group


The Johns Hopkins University, Ph.D. Structural Engineering, 2000

The Johns Hopkins University, M.S. Structural Engineering, 1998

Oregon State University, M.S. Ocean Engineering, 1986

Florida Atlantic University, B.S. Ocean Engineering, 1979


Phone: 301-975-6078
Email: therese.mcallister@nist.gov