Keynote Speakers

DFHM8 | Torino | 26-29 June 2023

Katy R. Barnhart, U.S. Geological Survey


Katy Barnhart is a Research Civil Engineer at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Geologic Hazards Science Center. She received her B.S.E. (2008) in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Princeton University and her M.S. (2010) and Ph.D. (2015) in Geological Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her research uses numerical modeling to understand past and forecast future geomorphic change on a variety of timescales, primarily to inform understanding of natural hazards.

Miguel Cabrera, Universidad de los Andes


Miguel Angel Cabrera is associate professor and head of the research group in Geomaterials and Infrastructure Systems (GeoSI) of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Universidad de los Andes. He is a geotechnical engineer with expertise in physical models of land instabilities such as debris flows and soil-structure interaction systems, having worked on the experimental modeling of the soil-structure interaction of wind turbines in collaboration with the Laboratoire Central des Ponts et Chausées (currently IFSTTAR), Nantes, France. His PhD studies were carried out at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria under the EU-funded Mumolade project (FP7/2007-2013/289911), focused on the experimental modeling of granular flows. Miguel’s current research focuses on the study of the transition from mass movements to granular flows (ie, debris flows, mudflows, avalanches), the micro-mechanics between particles and fluid, the role of disaggregation and segregation in granular flows, and their interaction with mitigation structures by means of experimental and numerical modeling.

Sergey Chernomorets, Lomonosov Moscow State University


Sergey Chernomorets currently works at the Laboratory of Snow Avalanches and Debris Flows, Faculty of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University. Senior Researcher, Associate Professor. President of the Debris Flow Association. Leader and participant of expeditions to study debris flows, lahars, glacial disasters, glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in the Caucasus (Russia and Georgia), Kamchatka, Transbaikalia (Russia), Cordillera Blanca (Peru), St. Elias (Canada), Tien Shan (Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan), Pamir and Hindu Kush (Tajikistan, Afghanistan). Investigated rock avalanches, debris flows and landslide dammed lakes in the areas of the 2008 Wenchuan and 2014 Ludian earthquakes (China). Assessed debris flow hazard for planned and on-going hydropower construction, gold and coal mines, railways. He was the organizer of international conferences called “Debris Flows: Disasters, Risk, Forecast, Protection” in Pyatigorsk (2008), Moscow (2012), Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (2014), Irkutsk and Arshan (2016), Tbilisi (2018), Duchanbe and Khorog (2020).

Velio Coviello, Italian National Research Council (CNR)


Velio Coviello is researcher at the Research Institute for Geo-Hydrological Protection (IRPI) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR). He graduated in environmental engineering cum laude in 2009 and received a PhD from Polytechnic University of Turin in 2015 with a thesis entitled “Debris flow seismic monitoring and warning”. With the support of CNR IRPI, he analyzed debris-flows monitoring data collected in different sites in the Alps and developed detection algorithms for mass movements based on seismic data. During the PhD, he spent a period abroad at USGS Golden (CO, USA) funded by the CNR short mobility program. After the PhD, he moved to the UNAM Geoscience Center, Mexico, for a postdoc project devoted to the study of slope instability and volcanic flows on tropical volcanoes. From 2017 to 2020, he was researcher at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Faculty of Science and Technology. His research focuses on the characterization of mass movements and sediment transport processes in Alpine and volcanic environment. In particular, he is interested in the seismic monitoring debris flows, lahars and other torrential processes for the development of early warning systems.

Sabatino Cuomo, University of Salerno


Sabatino Cuomo is Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Salerno, Italy. He is Coordinator of LARAM School (International School on “LAndslide Risk Assessment and Mitigation) for PhD students, and Board Officer for the Italian Chapter of IGS (International Geosynthetics Society).
Prof. Sabatino Cuomo serves as Associate Editor-in-Chief of Geoenvironmental Disaster Journal, Springer, and member of the Editorial Board of Computers and Geotechnics, Canadian Geotechnical Journal, Soils and Foundations, Geotechnical Engineering, and Environmental Geotechnics.
His research interests include Landslide Mechanisms, Solid-fluid transition, Landslide Dynamics, Regional slope stability, Slope erosion, Geosynthetics reinforcement, Laboratory testing of unsaturated soils, Constitutive Modelling.
He has published more than 150 papers in international journals and conference proceedings.

Julia Kowalski, RWTH Aachen University


Julia Kowalski is Professor of Methods for Model-based Development at the Mechanical Engineering Department at RWTH Aachen University. Before, she did her PhD at ETH Zurich / WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF on modelling debris flows in 2009, built up an early career research group in Geofluiddynamics and was appointed Heisenberg Professor for Computational Geoscience at the University of Göttingen. Julia’s research interests include simulation methods for geohazard mitigation and model-based decision support, process-based landslide run-out and impact modelling, data-driven susceptibility assessment, Bayesian calibration and model selection, physics-based machine learning as well as probabilistic simulation methods, e.g., for hazard mapping. As PI in various initiatives, such as the ‘Helmholtz School for Data Science in Life, Earth and Energy’ and in the DFG International Research Training Group ‘Modern Inverse Problems’, Julia is very active in training early career scientists in the field.

Guillaume Piton, INRAE & University Grenoble Alpes

ONF-RTM Protection des laves torrentielles - Maurienne

Dr Guillaume Piton works in the Torrent Control, Snow and Avalanche Research Unit of the French National Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE) at University Grenoble Alpes in France. He was first hydraulic and civil engineer, trained in flood risk mitigation and river restoration. After four years working for a consulting company, Guillaume PITON undertook a PhD thesis on the effect of check dams and open check dams on the sediment transport of Alpine rivers. He then performed a postdoc working on the efficacy of Nature-based solution to protect against flash flood risks. He is now permanent researcher and works on the sediment transport in mountain catchments and interactions between debris flows and debris floods with protection measures. He also advices the French ministry regarding hazard management, leads a task force on mitigation structure design within the Association of Geohazard Professionals (AGPH) and supports consulting companies to design mitigation structures against debris flows and debris floods in complex sites, for instance in Canada, Morocco, Norway and France.

Olivier Pouliquen, Aix Marseille University


Olivier Pouliquen  is a CNRS Research director, working at Aix Marseille University in the IUSTI Laboratory. He was the head of the laboratory until 2022. He is Member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Fluid Mechanics Perspectives, member of the European Fluid Mechanics Conference (EFMC) comite, fellows of Euromech.  His main research interest is the flow of particulate systems, from granular media to dense suspensions, looking for a continuum description of these complexe media. Based on small scale experiments on model materials, he has investigated the rheology of granular material in dry or immersed conditions to propose constitutive laws, has studied the crucial role of the coupling between the grains and the fluid during transient flows,  analyzed the development of instabilities  and more recently the role of cohesion on the rheology, many questions of interest for geophysical applications.

Claudio di Prisco, Politecnico di Milano


Claudio di Prisco, born in Milan November the eleventh of 1964, Degree in Civil Engineering at Politecnico of Milan, 1989, Philosophy Doctor, Politecnico di Milano. Full Professor at Politecnico di Milano since 2006, He teaches Soil Mechanics and Slope Stability. Director of the International Association Alert Geomaterials  (2004-2010). Member of the Editorial Board of numerous International Journals. Author of about 100 publications on International Journals and scientific Books.

Manuel Pastor, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

  • Born in Madrid on May 1953
  • Ingeniero de Caminos, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (June 1975)
  • Doctor Ingeniero de Caminos, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (July 1980)
  • Researcher and Head of Department in Centro de estudios y Experimentación de Obras Públicas (CEDEX) 1975-2009
  • Professor of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science Department, ETS Caminos, UPM 2012-
  • Head of the Applied Mathematics and Computer Science Department ETS Caminos, (2011-2018) UPM
  • Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences (Sevilla), 2006
  • Member of ALERT Board of Directors, and President (2011-2017)
  • Visiting Scholar at Universities of Swansea, UK (1983-1984, 1987) Grenoble (September 1991) and Imperial College of London (1992). Honorary Prof. at Hohai University (Nanjing, China).

Giorgio Rosatti, University of Trento


Giorgio Rosatti is a professor of Fluid Mechanics and Environmental Land Engineering at the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento (Italy). He is interested in many aspects of natural hydraulic hazards in mountain regions, but his research focuses mainly on advanced mathematical and numerical modelling of debris flows, mudflows, snow avalanches and rock-ice avalanches. On these topics, he has published several papers and developed applicative, two-dimensional models (TRENT2D family models) that have been tested against laboratory and field cases. Moreover, he is the promoter and scientific manager of the WEEZARD system, a web-based integrated system for researchers, practitioners and public administration services for the back analysis, hazard assessment and design of mitigation works for phenomena that can be simulated with the TRENT2D models.

Gordon G. D. Zhou, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences


Gordon G. D. Zhou is a Professor of the Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). He received his Ph.D. from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, in 2010. His research interests include the triggering and flow mechanisms of debris flows, granular flows and multiphase flows, and mechanisms of sediment transport. He is an Editorial Board Member of the journal “Granular Matter” and is an Associate Editor of “Progress in Disaster Science”. Over the recent years, he has lead an international research team working on geophysical mass flows, focusing on debris flows, hyperconcentrated flows, rock avalanches, and GLOFs. He has conducted field work and large-scale experiments at the Dongchuan Debris Flow Observation and Research Station (DDFORS). At present, he is leading the construction of the largest debris-flow flume in the world, and is involved in developing well-posed constitutive models for the motion of geophysical mass flows considering solids segregation, solid-fluid phase interaction and transition (glacier debris flow). He is also doing research on the mechanisms of erosion and hazards chain process (e.g., GLOF or landslide dam failure and outburst flooding).