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Ingrid Tomac


  • Assistant professor

I am an Assistant Professor of geomechanics and geotechnical engineering at the Department of Structural Engineering, University of California San Diego. My research interests revolve around soil and rock mechanics, energy geotechnics, and hazards such as are devastating post-wildfire mudflows. I wish to dedicate my research efforts toward creating a better world through the exploration and development of civil engineering infrastructure for supporting renewable and sustainable energy resources. 

In my research, I use micromechanics, micro-scale imaging videography, fundamental theories, and numerical simulations involving coupling between the Discrete Element Method and computational fluid dynamics (DEM-CFD) to better understand coupled processes in geomechanics at the relevant constituent scale.


Ph.D. Civil Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO, USA 2014

Mr. Sc. Civil Engineering (Geotechnical), University of Zagreb, Croatia 2007

Diploma Eng. Civil Engineering (Structural), University of Zagreb, Croatia 2000

Academic Positions

Assistant Professor, University of California, San Diego, July 2017 - present

Assistant Research Scientist, University of California, San Diego, September 2014 -June 2017 (with breaks to work in Goettingen, Germany)

Visiting Research Scientist, University of Goettingen, Goettingen February - August 2015 and January - June 2017

Research Associate, Colorado University at Boulder May 2014 – August 2014

Post-doctoral Fellow, Colorado School of Mines January 2014 – May 2014

Research Assistant, Colorado School of Mines January 2011 - April 2014

Teaching Assistant, Colorado School of Mines August 2010 – April 2014

Teaching Associate, Polytechnics of Zagreb Sept. 2008 – July 2009

Honors and Awards 

ARMA Early Career Keynote Lecture (2022)

ASCE San Diego - Outstanding Civil Engineering Faculty Advisor (2022)

ARMA Distinguished Service Award - Junior Level (2021)

Deep Foundations Institute (DFI) Award for Women in Deep Foundations (2020)

American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA) Future Leader, (2016-2019)

GSA Fall 2013 Graduate Continuance Fellowship, Colorado School of Mines Graduate Student Association (GSA), (2013)

Graduate Students Association Fall 2013 Graduate Continuance Fellowship $9000, Colorado School of Mines, 2013

Graduate Students Association Presenter Travel Grant $500, Colorado School of Mines, 2013

Mentorees Awards 

Melissa Lepe

ABRCMS 2021 Presentation Award for Engineering, Physics and Mathematics (2021)

Mahta Movasat

CalGeo 2022-2023 Scholarship Recipient (2022)

USUCGER-GeoCongress Student Travel Grants (2022)

ASCE Orange County Geo-Institute Chapter 2019 Geotechnical Scholarship (2019)

Brian D. Yamashiro

1st Place in UCSD Lab Expo Poster Competition (2021)


Website listing

Google scholar listing

Invited Talks

ARMA Early Career Keynote (2022)

2nd EESD Symposium - Seismic Analysis and Design of Nonstructural Components (2021)

AGU Fall Meeting – Invited Presentation (2021)

USGS: USGS Landslide Hazards Program (LHP) Seminar (2021)

Invited Lecture: Stanford University, Energy Resources Engineering Seminar Series (2020)

Invited Lecture: UCSD Structural Engineering Department Showcase (2019)

Invited Lecture: “Energy Geotechnics”, XVI Pan-American Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Cancun, Mexico (2019)

USGS Menlo Park, CA (2018)

University of North Dakota: Seminar (2018)

EAGE Conference, Invited presentation (2018)

University of California Davis: Geotechnical Seminar Series (2017)

SCRIPPS: Seminar Series (2017)

University of California San Diego: Department Seminar Series (2015, 2016)

4th Annual Permian Horizontal Completions Optimization: Wolfcamp and Cline Focus (2015)

University of Goettingen: Seminar series (2015)

PUC-Rio, Brazil (2014)

Petrobras (2014)

UC Irvine (2014)

Polytechnic of Zagreb, Croatia (2014)

Croatian Geotechnical Society (2013)

CU Boulder Geotechnical Seminar (2010)

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Contributions

Panelist on a panel of female scientists “The Great Divide: Communicating Scholarly Research to Practitioners”, Society of Scholarly Publishers Conference, San Diego, CA, May 2019

Female students: Sijia Young (GSA), Lan Luo (M.S.), Mahta Movasat (Ph.D), Kasey Lee (undergraduate research), Ngyen Pham (GSA), Dellena Kinikles (GSA), Mellisa Lepe (STARS), Karen Velázquez Ibarra (2022) ENLACE high-school student, María Fernanda Suárez Navez (2022) ENLACE high-school student,

Latino students: Angel de la Cruz (undergraduate research), Jonathon Chaves de Rosas (M.S.), José Carlos Miranda Martíne (2022) ENLACE high-school student, Tristan Alejandro Rivera Meza(2022) ENLACE high-school student

Community for Engineering (ACES) Faculty Mentor (faculty mentor to highly motivated engineering students from economically and educationally under-served backgrounds - typically first-generation college students and/or underrepresented minorities)

California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) Cluster 4: “When Disaster Strikes: Earthquake Engineering”, where there was a large presence of women and underrepresented groups of students

Teaching and Mentoring

SE 249 Rock Mechanics (Graduate), University of California San Diego

SE 250 Stability of Earth Slopes and Retaining Walls, University of California San Diego

SE 142 Advanced Soil Mechanics (Graduate), University of California San Diego

SE 182 Foundation Engineering (Undergraduate) University of California San Diego

SE 242 Foundation Engineering (Graduate) University of California San Diego

Contemporary Methods in Geotechnical Engineering, Polytechnic of Zagreb, Croatia (2008, 2009)

E-Teaching Course on Enhanced Geothermal Systems, University of Miskolc, Hungary (2012)

Ph.D. Students

Brian Yamashiro (2018 - 2021) graduatedMultiphysics of proppant flow and transport.

Wenpei Ma (2021 – present) – Rheology of post-wildfire mudflows

Mahta Movasat (2018 - 2022) graduated Fundamental Across-scale Evaluation and Mitigation of Wildfire Affected Slopes.

Dejian Zhou (2018 - present) graduated from the University of Goettingen, Germany. Official co-adviser

M.S. Students 

Jonathon Chavez de Rosas (Thesis) graduated (2020 - 2022)

Sijia (Skye) Young (non-thesis) (2020 - 2021)

Wenpei Ma (2020) – graduated –  Experimental Investigation of Proppant Flow and Transport in Intersected Hydraulic Fractures

Shijun Wei (2020) – graduated –  Numerical Modeling of Fluid-driven Hydraulic Fracturing and J-integral Analysis

Lan Luo (2016) – graduated –  Experimental Study of Proppant Settling in a Narrow Fracture Analyzed with Particle Image Velocimetry

Daniel Fjaestad (NTNU) – co-advised

Undergraduate and High School Students

Karen Velázquez Ibarra (2022) ENLACE high-school student

María Fernanda Suárez Navez (2022) ENLACE high-school student

José Carlos Miranda Martíne (2022) ENLACE high-school student

Tristan Alejandro Rivera Meza(2022) ENLACE high-school student

Russel Chan (2022) REU student

Henry McKlin (2022) REU student

Melissa Lepe (2021) STARS student

Nguyen Pham (2021) GEER on Petrinja M6.4, Croatia Earthquake

Justin Wong (2021) GEER on Petrinja M6.4, Croatia Earthquake

Dellena Kinikles (2021) GEER on Petrinja M6.4, Croatia Earthquake

Yujian He (2021) Postwildfire Mudflows Remediation

Angel De La Cruz (2020) Postwildfire Mudflows Micromechanics

Justin Perng (2020) Proppang Flow and Transport in Georeservoirs (NSF REU)

Arthur Ferreira dos Santos Netto (2016), Development of a Fracture Simulation Setup for Proppant Flow Characterization.

Andre Niquini Lopez (2016), Development of a Fracture Simulation Setup for Proppant Flow Characterization.

Thomas Hum

Tobin Lee

Kasey Lee

Roberto Furlan

Visiting Scholars

Moorak Son, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Daegu University (2016-2017)

Yaliang Wang (2018-6 mo) – Ph.D. Student – visiting Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing,100084, P.R.China

Technical Editor for International Journals

Associate Editor (2020-Present), Computers and Geotechnics, Elsevier

Associate Editor (2020-Present), Geothermal Energy: Science-Society-Technology

Associate Editor (2018-Present), Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, ASCE

Editorial Board Member (2017-Present), Journal of Testing and Evaluation, ASTM

Editorial Board Member (2015-Present), Geotechnical Testing Journal, ASTM

Guest Editor (2015) IS-Cambridge Special Issue in Computers and Geotechnics

Service on National and International Committees

Chair (2022-2025): G-I ASCE Committee on Rock Mechanics

ASTM-ARMA Liaison (2021-present)

ARMA Ad-Hoc Strategic Committee Member on Journal Publication (2022)

ARMA Service Awards Committee Member (2022)

GTJ Awards Task Group Member: Professional Practice Paper Award and the Hogentogler Award (2020 – present)

ARMA FL and ASTM (2017-2019)

Committee Chair: for selection of ARMA FL class of 2019

Vice-Chair (2018-2021): G-I ASCE Committee on Rock Mechanics

Member (2019-present): Hydraulic Fracturing Committee (HFC) of ARMA

Member (2014-present): ASTM International Committee D18 on Soils and Rocks, Subcommittee D18.12, Rock Mechanics

Technical Lead: (1) D4645-08 Standard Test Method for Determination of In-Situ Stress in Rock Using Hydraulic Fracturing Method; (2) D4879-08 Standard Guide for Geotechnical Mapping of Large Underground Openings in Rock; (3) D5079-08 Standard Practices for Preserving and Transporting Rock Core Samples

Member (2013-present): GeoInstitute of the ASCE Rock Mechanics Committee

Member (2014-2019): GeoInstitute of the ASCE Earth Retaining Structures Committee

Member (2014-present): International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) Technical Committee 308 on Energy Geotechnics

Task Force Leader: Hydrocarbons (2017-present), International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) Technical

Member (2014-present): Committee 105 on Geo-Mechanics from Micro to Macro

Chair/Organizer for Sessions or Workshops at International Conferences

Technical Track Chair: Civil Track, ARMA 56th US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, 2022

Scientific Committee Member: CouFrac 2022 (Coupled Processes in Fractured Geological Media) Conference

Session Chair: Interdisciplinary Track: Microscale rock mechanics-numerical modeling and experiments, ARMA 56th US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, 2022

Co-Chair: 2nd International Conference on Energy Geotechnics, San Diego, CA, USA, 2020 (postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic to April, 2022)

Scientific Committee Member: 1st Croatian Conference on Earthquake Engineering, 1CroCEE 2021

Session Chair: Geothermal Track, EGS: Recent Experience and Opportunities, ARMA 55th US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, Houston, Texas, USA, 2021

Session Chair: Interdisciplinary Track: Hydraulic fracturing stress measurements - interdisciplinary aspects of theory, performance, and interpretation, ARMA 55th US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, Houston, Texas, USA, 2021

Session Chair: Civil Track, Numerical Modelling in Geomechanics: Civil Engineering Applications, ARMA 55th US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, Houston, Texas, USA, 2021

Track Leader: Damage, bifurcation and fracture, 2019 EMI/G-I Mini-Symposia

Session Chair: Civil Track 5 on Slope Stability, ARMA 52nd US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, Seattle, Washington, USA, 2018

Session Chair: Interdisciplinary Track 3 on Coupled Processes, ARMA 53rd US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, New York City, USA, 2019

Scientific Committee Member: VARAŽDIN 2016 – Geotechnical Aspects of Damages Caused by Natural Phenomena – the 7th conference of Croatian Geotechnical Society.

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

Session Chair: Thermal and Hydraulic Properties of Soils. Geotechnical Frontiers 2017. Orlando, FL.

Session Chair: Multiscale, Multiphysics Process in Fractured Rock and Modeling of Coupled Transport Phenomena in Fracture Networks II. AGU Fall Meeting 2016. San Francisco, CA.


International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) 

International Society of Rock Mechanics (ISRM)

International Geothermal Association (IGA)

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

ASTM International (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials)

Croatian Geotechnical Society (HGD)

Croatian Chamber of Civil Engineers (HKIG)

Research, Collaboration & Travel Grants

Deep Geothermal Heat Exchanger Demonstration Project at UCSD Campus – Feasibility study, UCSD, 04/22 – 01/23, $50,000

GEER Co-Lead - Geotechnical Reconnaissance and Engineering Effects of December 29, 2020, M6.4 Petrinja, Croatia Earthquake, and Associated Seismic Sequence

NSF CBET 2025643 Standard Grant: ISS: A new paradigm for explaining catastrophic post-wildfire mudflows: transport phenomena and gravity-driven aggregation dynamics of hydrophobic particle-air-water mixtures, PI: Ingrid Tomac, 10/01/2020 – 09/30/2024, $400,000

KEM-24/202003010: Effect of Pressure Maintenance by Fluid Injection on Seismic Risk, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (MEA), Netherlands, Foreign Partner

UC Institute of Transportation Studies (UC ITS) Research Grant: Assessment of Maintenance Strategies for Bio-stabilization of Mudslides on Wildfire-affected Slopes. 2020/2021, $74,688

Hellman Fellowship Research Grant, 2020/2021, $50,000

2020 DFI Educational Trust Women in Deep Foundations Professional Development Grant. $1750

NSF Travel Grant for NHERI@UTexas Stiffness-based Monitoring of Bio-mediated Ground Improvement Workshop, 2019, Portland OR, USA

Itasca Education Partnership – PFC3D software leasing award, 2017-2019.

NSF Travel Grant for NSF Workshop on Geotechnical Fundamentals in the Face of New World Challenges Application, 2016, Washington DC

NSF CMMI 1563614 Standard Grant: Multi-Physics Models for Proppant Placement in Energy Georeservoirs, PI: Ingrid Tomac, Co-PI: Daniel M. Tartakovsky, 07/15/16 - 06/31/20, $354,435

NSF REU supplement to CMMI 1563614, $8,000.00

NSF Travel Grant for International Workshop on Education of Future Geotechnical Engineers in Response to Emerging Multi-scale Soil-Environment Problems, 2014, Cambridge, UK

DFG, German Research Foundation: Gross-Triaxialpresse”., PI: Martin Sauter, Co-PI: Ingrid Tomac, 2016, Awarded to Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Wilhelmsplatz 1, 37073 Göttingen, Germany, 1,400,000.000 Euro

Office phone
Office address
SME Building, Room 445D 9500 Gilman Drive #0412 La Jolla, CA 92093-0412