Thrust leaders

Edward Kavazanjian Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CBBG Center DirectorEdward Kavazanjian returned to academia with an appointment at ASU in 2004 after 20 years in engineering practice. His industrial experience includes working for a large (over 2,000 employees) international firm specializing in civil infrastructure design; a small, entrepreneurial geotechnical specialty consulting firm; and 10 years with a geoenvironmental consulting firm that grew from 100 to over 400 people during his tenure. At the geoenvironmental consulting firm, he served on the Board of Directors, was discipline leader for geotechnical and landfill engineering, managed multi-disciplinary engineering services contracts of up to $8.4 million in value (for the City of Los Angles Department of Public Works), and managed geotechnical services on Superfund design/construct remediation projects with total value from $13 million to over $150 million. Professor Kavazanjian was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2013 for his work as a consulting engineer. He is widely recognized for his research on waste containment systems, seismic analysis and design of geotechnical features for transportation systems, and in the emerging field of biogeotechnical engineering.

Jason DeJong, Ph.D., Thrust leader for Hazard Mitigation (Thrust 1) Jason DeJong is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UCD. Through his Soil Interactions Laboratory, he directs research into bio-mediated soils processes, advanced site characterization, behavior of intermediate and gravelly soils, sustainable geotechnical practice, and deep foundation performance. Fundamental scientific advances in these research areas have been successfully upscaled to full-scale field deployment in practice, including MICP trials at a mining site, characterization of gravel in the foundation of several large dams in California, and development of standards on offshore site characterization. Professor DeJong has given several keynote lectures at national and international conferences and is the lead author of several pioneering publications on biogeotechnics. His work has been funded through more than $5M in industry, state and federal grants, which led to over 100 peer-reviewed publications and the training of more than 40 graduate students.  

Leon van Paassen, Ph.D., Thrust leader for Environmental Protection and Ecological Restoration (Thrust 2) Leon van Paassen is Associate Professor at Arizona State University (ASU) and Senior Investigator at the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centre for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG). He has more than 15 years research experience and expertise in the biological, chemical, and geotechnical characterization of soils and biochemical reactive transport and multiphase flow in porous media. Past and current research projects include, bio-based ground improvement through microbially induced carbonate precipitation, liquefaction mitigation through desaturation by stimulating nitrate-reducing bacteria to produce nitrogen gas, using bio mineralization for dust suppression, bio-mediated iron precipitation for permeability reduction and mangrove inspired scour protection for submerged foundation systems. His affiliation to CBBG and collaboration with industrial partners allowed him to develop and transfer several of these technologies from a proof-of-concept in the laboratory to field scale demonstration projects for a variety of geotechnical and geo-environmental engineering applications. He teaches courses on Geotechnical Engineering, Engineering Geology, Bio-based Geotechnical Engineering and Advanced Geotechnical Testing. Since May 2020 he acts as Co-Principal Investigator for CBBG at ASU and leads the research thrust on Environmental Protection and Restoration, which includes projects on restoring surface crusts of disturbed soil sites, groundwater remediation of chlorinated solvents or heavy metals, nutrient removal from surface water and the development of microbial enhanced permeable reactive barriers. His mission is to integrate the fields of environmental biotechnology and geotechnical engineering, aiming to develop sustainable solutions, which improve resource efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of civil and mining engineering industry.


Paola Bandini, Ph.D., P.E., Thrust leader for Infrastructure Construction (Thrust 3) Paola Bandini is the Wells-Hatch Professor of Civil Engineering at NMSU. Her current research interests include the development of bioinspired methods in geotechnical engineering (for ground improvement, deep foundations, soil erosion control), soil characterization (desert soils, diatomaceous soils, cemented sands), sustainable earthen construction, and social cognitive factors that affect academic and career persistence of engineering students. She is a licensed professional engineer and was awarded a U.S. patent (2021) resulting from her research. Her projects have been funded by federal and state grants and contracts for over $13.5 million ($8.3 million as principal investigator). She has graduated 38 students in the MS and PhD programs at NMSU. She served as the Chair of two standing committees of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) (2011‐2018) and has organized technical sessions, workshops, and meetings for the TRB Annual Meetings and other conferences. In the Geo‐Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Professor Bandini serves as the secretary of the Engineering Geology & Site Characterization Committee and member of the Student Participation Committee. In 2021, she was appointed Councilor of Geo-Institute’s Technical Coordination Council (TCC). Professor Bandini is the NMSU lead and one of the co-PIs of the grant that funds CBBG.


J. David Frost, Ph.D., P.E. , Thrust Leader for Subsurface Exploration and Excavation (Thrust 4) David Frost is a Professor of Civil Engineering at Georgia Tech. Prior to entering academia, he worked in industry in Ireland and Canada on infrastructure and natural resource related projects. A core focus throughout his career has been the study of natural and man-made systems and materials. His research is centered on the application and development of digital technologies for studying subsurface problems at multiple scales and he has received two U.S. patents for multi-sensor subsurface systems. He has graduated more than 30 PhD students, 40% of whom have gone on to academic positions. He has served on or led post-disaster study teams following disasters in the US, Turkey, India, China, Chile and Japan and is a founding member and co-chair of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association. He has organized numerous workshops and conferences on the applications of spatial analysis and image processing techniques to study the response of geomaterial systems under various loading conditions. He is a registered professional engineer in the US and Canada.