BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Andre Filiatrault, Ph.D., Eng., a professor at
the University at Buffalo and leading expert on shake-table testing
of structural and nonstructural building components, has been
elected to a two-year term as director of MCEER, a national center
of excellence focused on multi-hazard engineering, headquartered at
UB. MCEER is dedicated to the discovery and development of new
knowledge, tools and technologies to make communities and
infrastructure more resilient in the face of extreme events.
Filiatrault, professor of civil, structural and environmental
engineering in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences,
was elected to the post by the newly instituted MCEER Management
Council, principally comprising university faculty colleagues that
lead MCEER research programs.
"I am excited and pleased that Andre Filiatrault has accepted
the position of MCEER director," said Harvey G. Stenger, Jr.,
Ph.D., dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at
UB. "He is one of our most outstanding structural engineering
faculty members, with an international reputation in his field. The
future of MCEER is strong and even more so under his
Filiatrault served as deputy director of MCEER. He succeeds
Michel Bruneau, Ph.D., P.Eng., UB professor of civil, structural
and environmental engineering, who stepped down from his MCEER post
at the end of August.
Since 2007, Filiatrault has served as director of UB's
Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory
(SEESL), a state-of-the- art facility that is home to twin, movable
shake tables capable of real-time seismic testing of structures up
to 120 feet in length. The facility is part of the National Science
Foundation's George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering
Simulation (NEES), a nationwide "collaboratory" for earthquake
engineers and students.
"In directing SEESL and in leading numerous high-profile
research projects with internal and external partners in academia
and industry, Andre Filiatrault has continually demonstrated a
strong, collaborative spirit," said A. Scott Weber, Ph.D., chair of
the UB Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental
Engineering. "His ability to direct and leverage the expertise of a
wide variety of researchers from diverse fields will ensure MCEER's
progress as it expands and refines its multi-hazard mission."
Since Sept. 11, 2001, MCEER has been applying its expertise to a
broad range of natural and manmade hazards from earthquake
engineering to extreme events, in close cooperation with the UB
2020 strategic strength in "Extreme Events: Mitigation and
"MCEER is now using its legacy in pioneering earthquake
engineering solutions in order to develop multi-hazard and
multi-institutional solutions for the nation and for the State of
New York," said Filiatrault. "As the nation turns to renewing its
infrastructure, it is critical for communities to harden that
infrastructure and make it more resilient against potential
hazards. Many technologies that MCEER has developed for earthquake
engineering applications are applicable to other hazards as
"Through the vision and leadership of its past directors, George
Lee and Michel Bruneau, MCEER has redefined the field of multiple
hazard engineering through the concept of disaster resilience,"
Using that concept as its foundation, he said that MCEER's
research plan will revolve around three complementary research
thrusts: infrastructure systems and public policy; sustainable and
resilient buildings and innovative technologies.
At the same time, he said, MCEER will continue to serve the
earthquake engineering community, conducting high-quality,
problem-focused research, collaborating with academic and business,
industry and government partners and sponsors, and providing
education and outreach to advance technology transfer.
Current MCEER projects include the multi-year Federal Highway
Administration project on seismic bridge design led by George Lee,
a three-year project led by UB professor Andrei Reinhorn to enhance
the resilience of electrical power systems during earthquakes
funded by the California Energy Commission and the Bonneville Power
Administration in Oregon, and numerous strategic alliances with
MCEER continues to deploy reconnaissance teams to
disaster-stricken areas. Most recently, it was funded by the NSF to
focus on the emergency preparedness of hospitals following
Filiatrault received an Outstanding Researcher/Scholar Award
from the Research Foundation of the State University of New York
this year, in recognition of the contributions he has made to his
field, including inventions and significant honors he has received
from his peers.
He has contributed significantly to UB's outstanding reputation
in the field of earthquake engineering research through his work on
the design of seismic-resistant steel and wood structures, the
development of novel methods for energy dissipation and
self-centering of structures, and, most recently, for his advanced
mechanistic understanding of nonstructural component failure.
He has served in leadership positions on two key projects aimed
at making wood-frame structures safer in earthquakes: the
CUREE-Caltech FEMA-funded Wood Frame Project and, more recently,
the NSF-funded NEESWood project. Conducted at UB in 2006, NEESWood
was featured in numerous leading broadcast and print media,
bringing worldwide recognition to UB. Early next year, he will
travel to Miki City, Japan, home of the world's largest shake
table, where he will be involved in directing the final stage of
NEESWood, with the validation of new design processes, developed in
part as a result of the UB experiments.
In recent years, with colleagues at UB and MCEER, Filiatrault
has developed the world's first test apparatus specifically
designed to subject costly equipment and mechanical systems in
hospitals and other important structures to the precise floor
vibrations that they experience during the strongest earthquakes.
The pioneering research is helping critical-care facilities,
especially in California, comply with legislation that will require
them to remain fully functional after earthquakes.
Filiatrault has published widely in top peer-reviewed journals.
An active advisor of graduate students, he was named 2007 Professor
of the Year in the Department of Civil, Structural and
His full-scale dynamic tests on a variety of structural and
nonstructural systems and components over the past 20 years have
led to improved seismic design standards.
Filiatrault has led or has been a member of several earthquake
reconnaissance teams, including those that investigated the
Nisqually Valley earthquake in Washington in 2001, the Loma Prieta
and Northridge, Calif., earthquakes in 1989 and 1994, respectively,
and the Kobe, Japan, earthquake in 1995. He also has organized UB
and MCEER reconnaissance teams to investigate damage in Louisiana
and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and again this year
following Hurricane Gustav.
Filiatrault is a recipient of the Moisseiff Award from the
American Society of Civil Engineers and the Gzowksi Medal from the
Canadian Society of Civil Engineering. He has published numerous
papers in scientific journals and is author of two textbooks:
"Elements of Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics" and
"Principles of Supplemental Damping and Seismic Isolation."
He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of
Sherbrooke, Quebec, and a master's degree and doctorate in civil
engineering from the University of British Columbia in
He also is a member of the Earthquake Engineering Research
Institute and the American Society of Civil Engineers, and is a
registered professional engineer in the province of Quebec,
Filiatrault resides with his family in Clarence.
Founded in 1986, the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake
Engineering Research headquartered at the University at Buffalo is
a national center of excellence in advanced technology applications
dedicated to reducing losses from earthquake and other hazards
nationwide. One of three such centers in the nation established by
the National Science Foundation, MCEER has been funded principally
over the past two decades, with more than $67 million from NSF;
more than $47 million from the State of New York and more than $34
million from the Federal Highway Administration. Additional support
comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, other state
governments, academic institutions, foreign governments and private
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, a flagship institution in the State University of New
York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's
more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through
more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree
programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of
the Association of American Universities.