Dr. Judith Mitrani-Reiser is the Associate Chief of the Materials and Structural Systems Division (Engineering Laboratory) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Division includes four research groups: Community Resilience, Earthquake Engineering, Structures, and Infrastructure Materials. The Division also houses three statutory programs: National Construction Safety Team (NCST), National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), and the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP). Mitrani-Reiser provides leadership in the development and coordination of statutory processes for making buildings safer as authorized by various statutes, including the NCST, NWIR, and NEHR Acts. She manages and provides oversight on building failure investigations and coordinates work with other Federal agencies to reduce losses in the United States from disasters and failures of our built environment.
Mitrani-Reiser is a member of the National Construction Safety Team for the Technical Investigation of Hurricane Maria’s Impacts on Puerto Rico and serves as the leader of the NCST project focused on characterizing the technical conditions associated with deaths and injuries. The objective of this project is to better understand how damaged buildings and supporting infrastructure played a role in the injuries and deaths associated with Hurricane Maria. In order to recommend changes to or the establishment of evacuation and emergency response procedures and for improvements to building standards, codes, and practice, scientifically rigorous methods are required for: (1) attributing morbidity and mortality to windstorms (directly and indirectly), (2) examining the health impact associated with building and building system failures in windstorms, and (3) developing a process to integrate epidemiology and engineering methodologies and tools that better determine the risk factors of and predict life loss due to failures in the built environment.
Prior to accepting her new position, Mitrani-Reiser served as the Director of the Disasters and Failure Studies Program (Engineering Laboratory) at NIST. As DFS Director, she led a multidisciplinary staff responsible for conducting fact-finding investigations focused on: building and infrastructure failures; successful building and infrastructure performance; evacuation and emergency response systems; and disaster recovery and community resilience. Mitrani-Reiser earned her B.S. from the University of Florida, M.S. from the University of California at Berkeley, and Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology. Mitrani-Reiser is currently a member and a Director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), a member of the Executive Committee and Expert Panel of CROSS-US (a confidential reporting system established to capture and share lessons learned from structural safety issues), and a member of FEMA’s Nationwide Building Code Losses Avoided Study Independent Review Panel. She is also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), where she co-founded SEI’s Committee on Multi-Hazard Mitigation.