Skip to main content
University at Buffalo

UB Today

A publication of the University at Buffalo Alumni Association

Fall 2010





Join the Alumni Association

UBAA on Facebook

To stop receiving the print version and read UB Today online, > click here

Or to download a PDF version of this issue > click here

Other UB

Gilbert Mosqueda

Assistant Professor of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering


A prestigious, $400,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award for outstanding junior faculty is enabling Gilbert Mosqueda to pioneer methods employing hybrid simulation—his specialty—to understand how structures collapse during powerful earthquakes.

Traditional testing that uses shake tables to simulate seismic activity on reduced-scale models of large buildings can generate inaccurate findings, since smaller structures may fail differently than their full-scale counterparts. Mosqueda’s approach provides an alternative, with researchers shaking a piece of a full-scale structure—the first floor of a multi-story building, for instance—and using theoretical, numerical models to simulate how that part would interact with the rest of the structure. The method paves the way for more accurate, cost-effective simulations that will allow researchers to probe the nature of structural collapse and how to mitigate it.

Mosqueda is collaborating with scientists at Stanford University, Kyoto University in Japan, the Institute of Engineering Mechanics in Beijing and the NSF George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, a nationwide earthquake-engineering consortium in which UB plays a key role.

Research by Mosqueda, an assistant professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering, is enhancing UB’s expertise in mitigation of and response to extreme events, a research strength that the university is growing as part of its UB 2020 long-range strategic plan.

Another NSF-funded project led by Mosqueda involved designing and building UB’s Nonstructural Components Simulator, a one-of-a-kind apparatus that tests the effects of vibrations on nonstructural elements of buildings, such as mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems; ceilings; nonstructural walls; and equipment and furniture.

More than 100 earthquake engineers and industry stakeholders from across the United States attended the machine’s inaugural demonstration in 2007, which reproduced earthquake vibrations on a two-story, life-sized replica of a fully equipped hospital room. Now Mosqueda is co-investigator on a $3.6 million study that will use the components simulator to examine the seismic performance of nonstructural systems.

Mosqueda also is making important contributions through fieldwork. He visited Chile in March 2010 to survey damage after a magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck the region. As part of a national team the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute organized with funding from the NSF, Mosqueda examined nonstructural systems.

“Buildings that do not sustain any structural damage may lose functionality because, for example, a sprinkler pipe broke and caused water damage,” Mosqueda says. “This was the case in many hospitals we visited—cracks in masonry partition walls, dropped ceiling tiles and fractured water lines resulted in their closings.”

In 2005, he led teams to the Gulf Coast to assess damage from Hurricane Katrina. For Mosqueda, investigating extreme events is about making a difference—about using knowledge gained through studying past and simulated disasters to build structures that are more able to withstand future extreme events.

UB in the News

A surprising salve for New York's beleaguered cities


2/20/2017 The New York Times looks at communities, such as Buffalo, that have benefited from an influx of refugees, and interviews Mohsen Daghooghi , an Iranian student who rejects the president's suggestion that he or other Iranian students are dangerous.

How an American bureaucrat became president of Somalia

2/19/2017 An article in Politico Magazine about UB alumnus Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed , who was elected president of his native country, quotes Don Grinde who said they discussed the different models of democratic governance, warlordism and religious extremism.


These journalists are no enemies of the people

2/19/2017 David Schmid tells USA Today that it is not unusual for the president to have a hostile relationship with the press. But Trump's description of the press is unprecedented, he says.

More of UB in the News