flemingsPeter Flemings
Co-Director of UT GeoFluids Consortium pflemings(at)

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 both the Bureau of Economic Geology and the Institute for Geophysics.

jack germaineJohn Germaine
Co-Director of UT GeoFluids Consortium

John “Jack” Germaine is a Senior Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He 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.

athma bhandariAthma Ram Bhandari
Research Associate

Athma earned his Ph.D. (Geomechanics and Geotechnical Engineering) from University of Southampton, M. Eng degree in Civil Engineering (Applied and Rock Mechanics) from the University of Tokyo, and B. E. degree in Civil Engineering from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. Athma's main research interests lie in experimental geomechanics, more specifically, laboratory study of deformation and flow in geomaterials (soils and rocks). In his current research, Athma measures shale permeability under reservoir pore and confining pressure conditions.

NikolinakouMaria-Katarina Nikolinakou
Research Associate

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 within and around salt bodies. Before joining the Bureau, Maria worked as a postdoc for Shell in the Depleted Drilling Group.

mahdi moghadamMahdi Heidari
Postdoctoral Fellow

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.

kehua youKehua You
Postdoctoral Fellow

Kehua joined UT GeoFluids as a postdoctoral fellow in June 2013. She earned her Ph.D. in geology from Texas A&M University in 2013, and her B.S. in environmental sciences from University of Science and Technology of China in 2008. She specializes in theoretical and computational hydrogeology, contaminant hydrology and reservoir simulation. Her primary research interest lies in fluid flow and transport in subsurface environment.


tessa greenTessa Green
Project Manager

Tessa joined UT GeoFluids in November of 2010. She is responsible for project management and marketing activities of the UT GeoFluids Consortium. She is the webmaster, logistic person, and all around answer lady. In addition Tessa is responsible for coordinating the annual UTGeoFluids meeting and oversees financial management of the consortium.

Peter PolitoPeter Polito
Laboratory Manager

Peter manages the UT GeoFluids Laboratory where he oversees all experimental work—designing and building new experimental equipment, establishing new experimental programs and procedures, and ensures safety is always in the forefront. He has experience in designing high-pressure experimental apparatuses, data acquisition systems, LabVIEW programing, along with a suite of esoteric skills that come in handy around the lab. Peter also oversees the BEG’s laboratory safety program. He received a BS and MS in Geology from San Francisco State University.

tachauAnna Tachau
Project Manager

Anna joined the Institute for Geophysics as Project Manager for the DOE Hydrate Drilling Project in November 2014.  Prior to joining UTIG, she worked for Exxon Mobil Corporation where she designed and implemented the exploration worldwide commercial portfolio.  She previously held engineering roles on oil and gas projects in the Gulf of Mexico, Malaysia, and China in the ExxonMobil Development Company.  She earned her Master of Finance from Tulane University and her B.S. in Civil Engineering from UT-Austin. 


loganJennifer Edwards
Administrative Associate

Jennifer is with the Bureau of Economic Geology. She assists UT GeoFluids with travel and administrative needs.



kris darnellKris Darnell
Graduate Student seeking PhD, UT Austin

Kris joined the UT GeoFluids consortium in the Spring of 2013 after completing his M.S. degree from the University of Chicago where he worked on topics in glaciology. He was a former member of the consortium as a research associate in 2010 and also a former student of UT-Austin where he completed his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering in 2008. His research interests lie at boundary between numerical and experimental approaches to fluid dynamics problems. He plans to pursue his PhD research on understanding the pore-scale evolution of a methane hydrate sedimentary system undergoing phase transition.

Amer DeiriehAmer Deirieh
Graduate Student seeking PhD, MIT

Amer is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT studying geotechnical engineering. His research is dedicated to the quantification of mudrock microfabric through image analysis of high resolution SEM micrographs. In particular, he is investigating micro-textural features causing permeability anisotropy of mudrocks.

gaoBaiyuan Gao
Graduate Student seeking PhD, 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. Her research interests are pore pressure prediction, basin modeling and petroleum system. Baiyuan is currently working on pore pressure prediction within dipping reservoirs. She will systematically study the effects of reservoir relief, shale properties, and 3D geometry on reservoir pressure. She will also develop simple approaches to predict the in-situ reservoir pressure.

GeChunwei Ge
Graduate Student seeking SM, MIT

Chunwei is a graduate student seeking SM at MIT. He graduated from University of Minnesota - Twin Cities with a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering December 2012. While at UMN, Chunwei, did UROP research on damage detection in sandstone by acoustic emission with Prof. Labuz.

After graduating from UMN, Chunwei worked for a central A/C install company in China. Chunwei joined the UT GeoFluids group in 2013 and will be doing some basic material characterization testing and researching on the possibility of resedimentation and semectite/illite transformation.

jessica parkerJessica Parker
Undergraduate Student, MIT

Jessica is an undergraduate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT. She is pursuing a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering and plans to continue with Geotechnical Engineering in graduate school. She joined the UT GeoFluids group in 2014 as an undergraduate researcher in the MIT Soils Lab under Dr. Germaine. Using Jana's Bender Element technique, she is studying the acoustic wave transmission rates of sand specimens.

marjanovicJana Marjanovic
Graduate Student seeking PhD, MIT

Jana is a Masters student majoring in Geotechnical Engineering. She graduated from MIT in 2010 with a B.S. degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering. She first became acquainted with the geotech field doing research in the soils lab under Dr. Germaine as an undergraduate. After deciding to continue her studies at MIT, she joined the UT GeoFluids group and is conducting her 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

Dylan MeyerDylan Meyer
Graduate Student seeking PhD, UT Austin

Dylan joined the UT GeoFluids consortium in the fall of 2012 after graduating with high honors from Eckerd College with a B.S. degree in Marine Science (geophysics concentration) and a B.S. degree in Computer Science in May of that same year. His interest in geophysical research has been cultivated through numerous undergraduate internships including the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institute (Summer 2009), US Geological Survey (Summer 2010 and Summer 2012), and Incorporate Research Institutes for Seismology/Center for Earthquake Research and Information (Summer 2011).

Taylor NordquistTaylor Nordquist
Graduate Student seeking SM, MIT

Taylor is a Masters student studying Geotechnical Engineering at MIT. While earning a BS degree in Civil Engineering from Brigham Young University, he spent summers doing lab & quality assurance testing for a small consulting firm in Utah, Applied Geotechnical Engineering Consultants. He joined the UT Geofluids group in 2013, and plans to work with permeability & resistivity anisotropy in resedimented clays.

Jason SanfordJason Sanford
Graduate Student seeking MS, UT Austin

Jason is an M.S. candidate in the Jackson School of Geosciences. To date, his research has focused on the geologic record of the Chicxulub asteroid impact in the Gulf of Mexico basin and its implications for catastrophic impacts and associated geologic processes. With the Geofluids group, Jason will investigate geopressure evolution and its role in natural hydraulic fracturing in the Panoche Giant Injection Complex, Panoche Hills, California.

A native of Dallas, Texas, Jason received his Bachelor's degree in Geology and Spanish from Middlebury College, in Middlebury, Vermont. Before joining the UT community, he worked for a year as an associate geologist at a small, independent petroleum exploration company in Midland, Texas.



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, B.S. Auburn Univ.; M. Eng. Univ. of Michigan

Donnie provided engineering support in the UT GeoFluids lab from 2011 to 2013. He is currently managing the Rock Mechanics Laboratory in the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas.

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 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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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