Reginald DesRoches is the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering at the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University. In this position, he provides leadership to a top ranked engineering school with 9 departments, 137 faculty, and 2500 students. He previously served as chair of the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His primary research interests are in design of resilient infrastructure systems under extreme loads and the application of smart materials. His research is highly interdisciplinary and spans micro- to macro-scales. He has published approximately 300 articles and delivered more than 100 presentations in over 30 different countries.
A fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the society's Structural Engineering Institute, Dr. DesRoches served as the key technical leader in the United States’ response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, taking a team of 28 engineers, architects, city planners and social scientists to study the impact of the earthquake. He also has participated in numerous congressional briefings to underscore the critical role that university research must play in addressing the country’s failing infrastructure and enhancing the nation’s resilience to natural hazards.
Dr. DesRoches serves on the National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee (NCST), National Academies Resilient America Roundtable (RAR) and chairs the advisory board for the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) Simulation Center. In recent years, Dr. DesRoches has testified before U.S. House and Senate subcommittees on earthquake resilience and the state of the science, and he has participated in Washington D.C. roundtables for media and congressional staffers on topics ranging from disaster preparedness to challenges for African-American men in STEM fields.
Dr. DesRoches received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2002 — the highest honor bestowed upon scientists and engineers in the early stages of their careers. Most recently, he was a recipient of the Distinguished Arnold Kerr Lecturer Award in 2019, the John A. Blume Distinguished Lecturer in 2018, as well as the 2018 Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Distinguished Lecturer Award – one the highest honors in the earthquake engineering field. He is a recipient of the 2015 ASCE Charles Martin Duke Lifeline Earthquake Engineering Award, the Georgia Tech Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Advisor Award (2010), the 2007 ASCE Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, and the Georgia Tech ANAK Award (2008). The ANAK award is the highest honor the undergraduate student body can bestow on a Georgia Tech faculty member.
DesRoches was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and grew up in Queens, New York. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Master of Science in Civil Engineering, and Ph.D. in Structural Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was elected to the department’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni.