flemingsPeter Flemings
Co-Director of UT GeoFluids Consortium

Dr. Flemings studies stratigraphy and flow in porous media. He uses seismic, well, and core data to characterize subsurface systems, he uses theoretical modeling to study stratigraphic and hydrodynamic evolution, and he uses laboratory analysis to study geomechanical properties of low permeability rocks. Dr. Flemings is a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences, and a Research Scientist at the Institute for Geophysics.

jack germaineJohn Germaine
Co-Director of UT GeoFluids Consortium

John “Jack” Germaine is a world leader in experimental methods in geotechnical analysis. In recent years Jack has worked on small-strain nonlinearity of normally consolidated clay and has explored factors affecting the initial stiffness of cohesive soils. Jack is a professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts University and holds a research affiliate appointment at MIT.

NikolinakouMaria-Katarina Nikolinakou
Research Scientist

Maria is a Civil/Geotechnical Engineer. She earned her ScD from MIT in 2008, her MSc from MIT and her Diploma from NTUA, Greece. She specializes in theoretical soil mechanics and the constitutive modeling of earth materials. She is interested in understanding the stress state and pore pressure in salt systems. Before joining the Bureau, Maria worked as a postdoc for Shell in the Depleted Drilling Group.

mahdi moghadamAthma Ram Bhandari
Research Engineer

Athma received his Ph.D. in civil-geotechnical engineering from the University of Southampton, UK, and his M.Eng. in civil engineering from the University of Tokyo. His current research aims to advance our understanding of deformation and fluid flow behavior in sediments and rocks. He develops novel laboratory measurement techniques and interpretation methods.

mahdi moghadamMahdi Heidari
Research Associate

Mahdi earned his PhD in Civil-Geotechnical Engineering from UT at Austin in 2013 and his MSc degrees from SUT and UT, Iran. He specializes in reservoir geomechanics, finite element modeling, and mathematical modeling of geomaterials behavior. His current research focuses on the estimation of the stress and pore pressure fields in sediments near salt bodies.


Carla Thomas
Science/Technology Program Manager

Carla is our hydrate science program manager providing technical and strategic input, reporting, technical writing, and general project management support for UT GOM2, UT Hydrate Production Properties project and other sponsored hydrate activities associated with the Flemings group.  Carla has a PhD in Analytical Sciences from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She spent 10 years in semiconductor fabrication research and seven years as a project manager for the UT Advanced Energy Consortium



Tolu Tolulope Agbaje
Graduate Student seeking PhD, The University of Texas at Austin

Tolulope joined the UT GeoFluids group in 2023 with a research focus on coupling pore pressure study with machine learning. He holds a B.Tech in Applied Geology from the Federal University of Technology Akure, MS in Geology from Kansas State University, and currently pursuing a PhD in Geology under the supervision of Dr. Flemings.

graciela Graciela Lopez Campos
Graduate Student seeking PhD, The University of Texas at Austin

Graciela joined UT GeoFluids in 2022. Her research focuses on subduction megathrust modeling by computing models of large-strain evolution of subduction systems, discrete faults and porous fluid flow along faults. She has a bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Costa Rica and is currently pursuing her MS/PhD in Geology at UT Austin under the supervision of Dr. Nikolinakou.

padraig Padraig Doran
Graduate Student seeking MS, Tufts University

Pat joined UT Geofluids in 2021. He graduated from National University of Ireland, Galway with a BEng in Civil Engineering in 2019. He is employed by Ward and Burke Microtunnelling Ltd. as a site manager since 2019. Currently, he is pursuing an MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts University under the supervision of Dr. Germaine.

landon Landon Lockhart
Graduate Student seeking PhD, The University of Texas at Austin

Landon joined the UT GeoFluids group in 2015. His research focuses on understanding the interaction of pressure and stress in the subsurface. He holds a BS in Geology from Oklahoma State, a MS in Geology from UT-Austin, and is currently working on his PhD under Dr. Flemings.

George McAneny
Graduate student seeking PhD, Tufts University

George joined UT GeoFluids in 2020. He worked in Japan as a geological consultant after receiving a BA from Carleton College in Geology. He is now pursuing a MS/PhD in civil and environmental engineering at Tufts University with Dr. Germaine.

Emre Uyeturk
Graduate Student seeking PhD, Tufts University

Emre joined GeoFluids in 2020. He graduated from Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey) with a BS in Civil Engineering in 2017. He then received his MS degree with a geotechnical engineering focus in 2019 from the same university. He is currently pursuing PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts University under the supervision of Dr. Germaine

Mark Zablocki
Graduate Student seeking PhD, Tufts University

Mark joined UT Geofluids in Fall of 2016 while pursuing a MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering specializing in Geo-systems Engineering at Tufts University. He has continued with GeoFluids while pursuing a Ph.D. in Geo-systems Engineering with Dr. Germaine. Mark has a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Massachusetts, and is a Senior Engineer at Haley & Aldrich, Inc. in Boston.


adamsAmy Lynn Adams, PhD, MIT

Amy's work involved laboratory experiments on resedimented Boston Blue Clay and includes flexible wall constant head tests as well as constant rate of strain (CRS) tests. Cubic specimens are used to allow multidirectional testing on a single specimen in the constant head device.

MIT Thesis: Laboratory evaluation of the constant rate of strain and constant head techniques for measurement of the hydraulic conductivity of fine grained soils

bettsWilliam Betts, M.S., UT AUstin

William studied consolidation and deformation of mudstones in the Nankai Trough area of offshore Japan. He joined Halliburton after graduation in 2014.

UT Thesis: Compressibility and Permeability of Gulf of Mexico Mudrocks, Resedimented and In-Situ.

donnie brooksDonnie Brooks

Donnie provided engineering support in the UT GeoFluids lab from 2011 to 2013. He left to manage the Rock Mechanics Laboratory in the Bureau of Economic Geology but has since returned to UT GeoFluids (see Staff tab).

caseyBrendan Casey, PhD, MIT

Brendan studied geotechnical engineering at MIT. He completed his PhD in 2014. Brendan’s research focused on high stress one-dimensional consolidation and undrained shear behavior of cohesive soil.

MIT SM Thesis: The significance of specimen end restraint in high pressure triaxial testing of cohesive soil

MIT PhD Thesis: The Consolidation and Strength Behavior of Mechanically Compressed Fine-Grained Sediments (defense ppt)

CroninMichael Cronin, M.S., UT Austin

Michael studied core-scale gas transport experiments and the numerical modeling of gas transport in fractured gas shales. His interests included geomechanics, reservoir engineering, unconventional resource plays, and rowing. He completed his degree in December 2014 and accepted a full-time geologist position with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in The Woodlands, TX.

UT Thesis: Core-scale heterogeneity and dual-permeability pore structure in the Barnett Shale

day-stirratRuarri Day-Stirrat

Ruarri is interested in mudstone diagenesis, fabric anisotropy and physical properties. He joined Shell following his work with UT GeoFluids

brian fahyAmer Deirieh, Ph.D., MIT

Amer received his Ph.D from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, studying geotechnical engineering. His research was dedicated to the quantification of mudrock microfabric through image analysis of high resolution SEM micrographs. In November 2016, he accepted a position with Dell in Boston.

MIT Thesis: From clay slurries to mudrocks: a cryo-SEM investigation of the development of the porosity and microstructure

Liam Liam Eagle

Liam joined UT GeoFluids in 2019. He graduated in 2018 from the University of Oxford obtaining a Master’s degree in Engineering Science. He pursued an MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts University. His research was guided by Dr. Germaine with a focus on exploring the yield surface of Gulf of Mexico Mudrock at stresses up to 100 MPa.

brian fahyBrian Fahy, S.M., MIT

Brian studied Geotechnical Engineering at MIT. He completed his S.M in 2014. He spent 5 years working with a civil engineering contractor specialising in the construction of microtunnels and caissons.

MIT Thesis: The influence of salinity on the mechanical behavior of high plasticity soils

Jim James Finnegan, MS, Tufts

Jim completed his MS with Dr. Germaine in 2020. His work at Tufts compared the behavior of resedimented mudrocks to that of intact mudrocks. Jim currently works in geotechnical construction for Keller in Southern California.

SM Thesis: Comparison of Resedimented with Intact Mudrock Behavior

gaoBaiyuan Gao
Postdoctoral Fellow, UT Austin

Baiyuan joined UT GeoFluids group in the fall of 2010 after earning her B.S. in resource exploration engineering from China University of Petroleum. She is currently a postdoc research fellow in both UT-Geofluids and AGL groups. She earned her Master and Ph.D. degrees in geoscience at UT-Austin. Her research interests are predictive modeling, geomechanics, and pore pressure prediction. She has a granted US patent based on the pressure prediction technique she developed.

Felicia Garcia-Hildenbrand
Senior Research Program Coordinator

From 2019 to 2022, Felicia was our GeoFluids project manager supporting reporting, member communications, staff and student presentations, contracting, the annual meeting, and various other technical and logistical tasks. She is now senior business analyst at UT Austin's Facilities Planning and Management department.

GeChunwei Ge

Chunwei joined the UT GeoFluids group in 2013 as a Graduate student seeking both a Masters and PhD degree from MIT under the supervision of Jack Germaine. He completed his Master’s Degree in 2017 which was focused on characterizing the transformation of the mineral smectite to Illite in the Gulf of Mexico. His PhD research expanded on this theme by studying the impact of this transformation on the compression behavior of the mudrock and drawing inferences concerning the impact of transformation on the development of overpressure. Chunwei graduated in 2019 and is now working for a startup company in China.

MIT Thesis: Compression Behavior of Smectitic vs. Illitic Mudrocks

landonAnthony J. Hanley
Graduate Student, Tufts University

Anthony Joseph Hanley completed his M.S degree in 2017. He has a great interest in all aspects of Geotechnical Engineering. Anthony completed a study on the yield surface of RGoM-EI Mudrock at 1MPa for his masters thesis. He is currently working for Ward and Burke Construction Ltd.

SM Thesis: The Characterization of the Yield Surface for Fine-Grained Sediments

horanAiden Horan, S.M., MIT

Aiden studied Geotechnical Engineering at MIT. He studied the effect of salt concentration on the compressibility of soils such as Gulf of Mexico mudrock and Boston Blue Clay. This work helped develop a geomechanical model for mudrocks that will better allow us to predict compaction behavior, pore pressure, and borehole stability at geologic stresses.

MIT Thesis: The mechanical Behavior of Normally Consolidated Soils as a function of Pore Fluid Salinity

GeStephen Lambert, M.S., MIT

Stephen joined UT GeoFluids in 2017. He has graduated from University College Cork with a bachelors degree in Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. He obtained a Masters in Geosystems Engineering at Tufts University with Dr. Germaine by exploring the Yield Surface of Gulf of Mexico Mudstone at 10MPa. 

johnsonSean Michael Johnson, S.M., MIT

Sean Johnson studied geotechnical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology His research interest included Wave Propagation through Bender Element agitation using Ticino Sand.

MIT Thesis: Modeling a bender element test using Abaqus Finite Element Program

Xin Xin Liu
, Ph.D., UT Austin

Xin joined UT GeoFluids group in the fall of 2018 after obtaining his M.S. in resource exploration engineering from China University of Petroleum. His research interests are seismic imaging and inversion. At UT Austin, Xin worked on principal stress prediction with seismic data and pursuing a reliable approach predict in-situ principal stress from seismic inversion.

UT Austin Thesis: Feasibility of Prediction of Principal Stress from Reflection Seismic Data, MS Thesis, The University of Texas at Austin

luoGang Luo

Gang Luo's primary research interest was computational geodynamics and finite element modeling on stress within and around salt, fluid flow, fault interactions, earthquake stress triggering, crustal/lithospheric stress and strain evolution during earthquake cycles. He became a professor at School of Earth Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, and a professor in Key Laboratory of Computational Geodynamics, Chinese Academy of Sciences following his work with UT.

marjanovicJana Marjanovic, PhD, MIT

Jana majored in Geotechnical Engineering. With UT GeoFluids she conducted research in the use of Bender Elements to propagate waves through soil specimens and accurately determine the soil's properties under different confining stresses.

MIT Thesis: The study of shear and logitudinal velocity measurements of sands and cohesive soils

michael merrellMichael Merrell, M.S., UT Austin

Michael's research focused on characterizing the pressure and stress at the Mad Dog field that lies directly below an allochthonous salt sheet along the Sigsbee Escarpment in deepwater Gulf of Mexico. He used logging data, direct pressure measurements, and drilling records to understand how the reservoir is segmented and how to predict pore pressure across the field. Upon completion of his M.S., he joined Conocophillips in Houston, TX.

UT Thesis: Pressure and Stress at Mad Dog Field, Gulf of Mexico
Highlights Slide Deck

heather nelsonHeather Nelson

Heather served as the database manager from 1998-2008 and helped the original Penn State GeoFluids team transition to the University of Texas. Although she didn't move with the team to Austin, she still occasionally consults when a major software upgrade is required.

Taylor NordquistTaylor Nordquist, S.M., MIT

Taylor worked with UT Geofluids from 2013-2015. He experimentally studied the permeability anisotropy of resedimented Boston Blue Clay and resedimented Gulf of Mexico - Eugene Island mudrocks in virgin compression from 0.1 to 40 MPa. He collected data using vertically and radially-draining constant-rate-of-strain (CRS) consolidometers, and compared his data with cubic specimen flexible wall constant head permeability testing results.  He tested both sheared and un-sheared specimens. He now works as a geotechnical engineer for Applied Geotechnical Engineering Consultants in Sandy, UT.

MIT Thesis: Permeability Anistrophy of Resedmented Mudrocks

jessica parkerJessica Parker

Jessica contributed to UT GeoFluids during her time as an undergraduate in the MIT Soils Lab under Dr. Germaine. Using Jana's Bender Element technique, she studied the acoustic wave transmission rates of sand specimens.

Amanda Parry

Amanda has been a member of UT GeoFluids since 2016. She has a bachelors degree in civil engineering from MIT and her masters in civil engineering (with a focus on geotechnical) from Tufts University. Amanda currently works for GEI Consultants, Inc. in Boston, MA.

MS Thesis: The Effect of Temperature and Variation of Salinity during One Dimensional Compression

Nicholas Picardo
Graduate Student seeking MS, Tufts University

Nicholas joined UT GeoFluids in 2016. He received a BS in Facilities & Environmental Engineering in June 2002 and has over 10 years of experience in the construction industry managing various site remediation and building projects. He decided to pursue a master's degree in geotechnical engineering after working on the Sydney Tar Ponds Remediation Project in Nova Scotia, Canada. He is currently working towards a MS in Civil and Engineering, under the supervision of Jack Germaine.

Will Pinkston, MS, UT Austin

Will joined UT GeoFluids in the fall of 2015. Prior to enrolling in the Jackson School of Geosciences, he graduated with a BS in Geology and Economics from Union College in Schenectady, NY, and spent three years working for an investment bank. Will's research interests include pore pressure prediction and rock/fluid interaction. In particular, he is building a pore pressure and stress profile of the Macondo prospect.

UT Thesis: Pore Pressure and Stress at the Macondo Well, Mississippi Canyon, Gulf of Mexico

Peter Polito
RSA V; Laboratory Director

Peter manages the UT GeoFluids Laboratory where he oversees all aspects of the group’s experimental programs—designing and building new experimental equipment, establishing new experimental programs and procedures, and overseeing day-to-day operation. He has experience in building high-pressure experimental systems, data acquisition, LabVIEW programing, downhole tools, experimental design, along with a host of esoteric skills that come in handy around the lab. He received a BS and MS in Geology from San Francisco State University.

GeSebastian Ramiro Ramirez, Ph.D., UT Austin

Sebastian joined UT GeoFluids in 2016. He earned his MS in Geology with a minor in Petroleum Engineering from Colorado School of Mines. He holds a BS in Geological Engineering and a BS in Geology from the Unlockiversidad Complutense de Madrid with a minor in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Calgary. Before starting his MS, Sebastian worked on Unconventional Gas projects at the Energy Institute in London. He is interested in petrographic and petrophysical studies of mudrocks and is currently working on porosity and permeability experiments of tight rocks.  

UT Thesis: Integrated Stratigraphic and Petrophysical Analysis of the Wolfcamp at Delaware Basin

Deniz Ranjpour, PhD, Tufts

Deniz joined UT GeoFluids in September 2015, working with Dr. Germaine. She is a graduate of Bogazici University/Turkey with a Master’s degree. As a PhD student she studied compressional and shear waves propagating through clays/mudrocks, with a focus on elasticity and anisotropy behavior. She developed the technologies required for anisotropy testing in medium pressure triaxial setup, as well as high pressure velocity measurements under constant rate of strain loading condition. Deniz graduated with a PhD degree from Tufts in August 2020, accepting a strategy consulting position at LEK Consulting in Boston.

Tufts PhD Thesis: Stiffness and Anisotropy Characterization of Mechanically-Compressed Cohesive Soils Using Directional Wave Propagation

GeJean Joseph van der Linden d'Hooghvorst Rodríguez, Ph.D., UT Austin

Jean joined UT Geofluids in 2016 after graduating from Polytechnic University of Catalunya (Spain) with a bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering. He obtained a PhD under the supervision of Toby Harrold and collaborating with Repsol. The aim of his PhD was to explore workflows for integrating geomechanical modelling, basin modelling, and seismic attribute analysis to obtain more precise pore pressure and stress state predictions in salt basin/systems ahead of drilling.

UT Thesis: Geomechanical Study of the Tarfaya Basin West African Coast Using 3D/2D Static Models and 2D Evolutionary Models

sawyerDerek Sawyer, PhD, UT Austin

Derek studied sedimentation, deformation, and fluid flow on continental margins. Upon completion of his PhD, Derek, joined the Operations Geology group of ExxonMobil in Houston, Texas.

UT Thesis: Failure Mechanics, Transport Behavior, and Morphology of Submarine Landslides

Jason SanfordJason Sanford, M.S., UT Austin

Jason C. Sanford is an M.S. recipient at the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin. His M.S. work focused on the geologic record of the Chicxulub asteroid impact in the Gulf of Mexico (with the Gulf Basin Depositional Synthesis Project) and the geomechanics of reservoir-scale sand injectites in the Panoche Hills of central California (with UT GeoFluids). Jason now works at Chevron as an exploration earth scientist in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Jason obtained his B.A. in geology and Spanish at Middlebury College and is a native of Dallas, Texas.

UT Thesis: The Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary deposit in the Gulf of Mexico: Oceanic basin response to the Chicxulub impact and Geomechanics of reservoir-scale sand injectites, Panoche Hills, California

Julia SchneiderJulia Schneider Reece, PhD, UT Austin

Julia's research focused on compression and flow behavior of mudrocks. As a PhD student and postdoctoral fellow in the UT GeoFluids group, she studied the effect of mineralogy and particle size on porosity, compressibility, permeability, and microstructure under geologic stresses. She used various mudrocks such as the Boston Blue Clay, Gulf of Mexico mudrock, and Nankai mudrock. Her work has implications in e.g. pore pressure predictions, seal capacity, and tight gas shales. Julia earned her Ph.D. in Geosciences from The University of Texas in 2011. Upon completion of her postdoctoral fellow position at UT in February 2013, she joined the Department of Geophysics at Stanford University as a postdoctoral researcher.

UT Thesis: Compression and permeability behavior of natural mudstones

smithAndrew Smith, M.S., UT Austin

Andrew's work focused on the process of venting and associated hydrate formation at deepwater vents in the Gulf of Mexico. After completing his MS, he joined the marine geology and geophysics research group at the University of Tromsø in Norway as a Fulbright scholar.

UT Thesis: Observations and Models of Venting at Deepwater Gulf of Mexico Vents

Highlights Slide Deck

strongHilary Strong, M.S., UT Austin

Hilary's thesis focused on consolidation characteristics of mass transport complexes in the Ursa Region. Upon completion of her MS, she joined ExxonMobil as an Operations Geologist.

UT Thesis: The Origin and Properties of Mass Transport Deposits Ursa Basin, Gulf of Mexico

David M Wiggs, M.S., UT Austin

David joined UT Geofluids in 2019. He graduated from UT-Austin with a BS in Geophysics and completed an undergraduate thesis. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree with Dr. Flemings with a focus on coupling geomechanical models with seismic analysis for prediction of pressure and state of stress in the subsurface.

UT Thesis: A Generalized Model to Describe the Elastic Stiffness Tensor of Mudrocks Based on the Full Strain Tensor

youYao You,PhD, UT Austin

Yao's work focused on quantitative modeling of crustal fluids and geomorphology. He studied failure in sand caused by breaching in subaqueous and submarine environments, and modeled the pore pressure in Ursa Basin using soil properties measured by the UT GeoFluids group. After completing his PhD, Yao joined Hess.

UT PhD Thesis: Dynamics of dilative slope failure