Dr. Sissy Nikolaou


Dr. Nikolaou is an Associate of Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers which she joined in 1998. She is Director of the firm’s Geo-Seismic department and holds PhD and MS degrees from SUNY-Buffalo and a Diploma from National Technical University of Athens, all in Civil Engineering. Her areas of specialization are Seismic Hazard Analysis, Soil-Structure Interaction, and GIS Engineering Applications with more than 30 scientific papers and numerous research activities. Dr. Nikolaou is working on major projects involving long-span bridges, nuclear power plants, deep excavations, tanks, and high-rise buildings. She holds professional licenses in New York and Europe and she is FEMA-certified to conduct post-earthquake safety structural evaluations and provide strategies for urban search-rescue teams when responding to seismic hazards in emergency situations. She has served on many scientific committees, most recently for the upcoming NYC Building Code. In 2003 Dr. Nikolaou was honored with the Prakash Prize for Excellence in the Practice of Geotechnical Engineering and in 2006 she was named one of the 40-under-40 leaders in the Building Design and Construction industry. Recently she was selected as one of the eighty-three young engineers of all disciplines nationwide to take part in the National Academy of Engineering’s Frontiers of Engineering.

Notable Geo-Seismic Projects:
• Columbia University Manhattanville Development, New York, NY – Site-specific investigation and analysis, including probabilistic seismic hazard study, characterization of faults, soil-foundation and liquefaction analyses.
• Hillview Reservoir, Yonkers, NY – Geoseismic design to cover over half of this reservoir that provides water to NYC. Includes criteria position paper, 2-D nonlinear slope stability and soil-structure interaction analyses.
• Petroterminal de Panama – Chiriqui Grande, Panama – Seismic hazard study for the new tanks and pump stations. MRCE is designing a stone column remediation program to address liquefaction concerns.
• Beekman Tower, New York, NY – Site evaluation, seismic analysis, installation and monitoring of instrumentation for a 75-story tower and a NYCT subway tunnel.
• Woodrow Wilson Bridge, Washington DC – Geotechnical engineering, foundation design, soil-structure interaction effects for design of twin 6,000+ ft. long bridges, with 400 ft. spans and a 175-ft wide bascule span.
• Freedom Tower, New York, NY – Evaluation of existing slurry wall conditions and advice on necessary modifications, evaluation of seismic and static lateral pressures for the stages of construction for 1,776-ft-tall
tower located within the slurry wall bathtub at the World Trade Center.
• JFK Light Rail Transit System Design-Build, Queens, NY – Geotechnical, foundation engineering, liquefaction assessment and remediation, site-specific ground motion parameters, nonlinear pile-to-pile dynamic
• Brunsbuettel Nuclear Power Plant, Germany – Seismic soil-structure-interaction for a 230-pile group and embedded foundation of major nuclear facility supported in soft organic clay.
Selected Articles:
• “Site-Specific Seismic Studies for Optimal Structural Design: Part I,” Structure Magazine, 15-19, Feb 2008
• “GIS for Ground Motion Evaluation in Seismic Bridge Analysis,” Bridge Structures, 1(3):293-306, Sept 2005
• “Effect of Local Geology on Seismic Ground Motion in New York,” Invited Paper & Special Presentation, 5 th International Conference on Case Studies in Geotechnical Engineering, Apr 2004
• “Footings under Dynamic Loads: Analysis & Design Issues with Emphasis on Bridge Foundations,” Soil Dynamics & Earthquake Engineering, 26:824–853 (with G. Mylonakis and G. Gazetas), 2006
• “Kinematic Pile Bending During Earthquakes: Analysis and Field Measurements,” Geotechnique, 51(3):425-440, (with G. Gazetas et al.), 2001
• “Liquefaction Assessment Methodologies for Seismic Bridge Design and their Application to NYC Projects,” Recent Developments, Bridge Eng. Association, 111-122, (with P. Deming and P. Edinger), Oct 2003