California Institute of Technology, Ph.D., Applied Mechanics, 2007
University of California, Berkeley, M.S., Structural Engineering & Mechanics of Materials, 2001
University of Florida, B.S., Civil and Coastal Engineering, 2000
Dr. Judith Mitrani-Reiser is the Director of the Disaster and Failure Studies (DFS) Program, where she leads 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. These investigations can be carried out under four different statutory authorities at NIST: National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Act, National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP), National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRPM), and the NIST Organic Act. The results of these investigations are intended to inform recommendations to improve codes, standards, and practice. To enable successful technical investigations, the DFS Program actively collaborates across the Materials and Structural Systems Division (e.g., Community Resilience, Structures, and Earthquake Engineering Groups), the Engineering Laboratory (e.g., Fire Research Division, Applied Economics Office, EL Data Security and Technology Group), and the Institute.
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.
Before coming to NIST, Mitrani-Reiser’s research focused on the seismic safety of healthcare facilities, performance-based design, resilient-based design, community resilience, structured tool development for field reconnaissance, safety and economic impacts of hazards on the built environment, the effective communication of these risks to the public, informed decision making for use in emergency management and policy making, and the interaction of humans with the built environment. 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. During her undergraduate years, Mitrani-Reiser worked at a forensic engineering firm, where her curiosity for understanding the technical causes of failures first began. Mitrani-Reiser maintains a strong professional involvement to ensure her research has practical applications. She is currently a member and a Director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). She is also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), where she co-founded SEI’s Committee on Multi-Hazard Mitigation.