Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics


In 2015 the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a national Engineering Research Center to launch the Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics. UCD researchers are part of a four university team comprised of Arizona State University (lead institution), Georgia Institute of Technology, and New Mexico State University.  This webpage highlights CBBG activities and related work at UCD, while provides information on the center as a whole.

What’s the vision?

CBBG’s vision is to develop new generation of biogeotechnical engineering processes and solutions, inspired by nature, to transform the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of resilient and sustainable civil infrastructure and resource development systems.  This will be accomplished through the development of innovative bio-mediated and bio-inspired solutions, inspiring a new generation of diverse, entrepreneurial biogeotechnical professionals, and integrating biogeotechnics into practice.

What is biogeotechnics?

Biogeotechnics, in the context of CBBG, is a rapidly developing subfield of geotechnical engineering that is focused on developing bio-mediated technologies – which harness existing natural biogeochemical processes – or bio-inspired technologies – which emulate aspects of nature’s efficient solutions – for engineering applications.  The development of these technologies is an interdisciplinary endeavor that involves geotechnical engineers, civil engineers, microbiologists, ecologists, plant scientists, and more.  Research activities span a diverse range of numerical, analytical, and experimental approaches that range from full scale geotechnical in situ characterization, to genetic sequencing of microbes, to imaging and 3D printing of model tree root systems.

What are the broad research themes?

The CBBG activities are broadly organized into the application thrusts of Hazard Mitigation, Environmental Protection & Restoration, Infrastructure Construction, and Resource Development.  Several applications/methods that cut across these theme areas include life cycle sustainability assessment, bio-inspired sensors, and computational modeling. UCD is the lead for the Hazard Mitigation thrust, which is primarily focused on earthquake mitigation.

What is are UCD’s focus areas?

The UCD team is actively engaged in:

  • advancing the development of microbially induced precipitation through modeling, geotechnical experimentation, and microbiologic analysis,
  • defining how a bio-inspired design approach may be applicable to geotechnical engineering and foundation/anchorage systems in particular,
  • developing a life-cycle sustainability framework for evaluating existing geotechnical technologies as well as new biogeotechnical technologies,
  • and attracting the next generation of biogeotechnical engineers through education and outreach activities.

Interested in getting engaged?

With goals of developing new technologies, a new workforce, and bring biogeotechnics into mainstream geotechnical practice we are looking for exceptional applicants for graduate school, international collaborators to work with, and industry partners to help advance the technology.  Let us know if you are interested!


Please contact any of the faculty or students if you have additional questions…


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