Guney Olgun photo
C. Guney Olgun

Assistant Professor

Geotechnical Engineering

Research Interests

  • Energy geotechnology
  • Geothermal foundations
  • Geotechnical earthquake engineering
  • Seismic hazard mapping
  • Liquefaction
  • Multi-scale characterization of geomaterials
  • Soil erosion
  • Deep foundations
  • Ground improvement and soil reinforcement
  • Soil-foundation-structure interaction
  • Advanced numerical modeling
  • Disaster resilience and risk management

Main Focus Areas

Energy Geotechnology and Sustainability: Physical and numerical/analytical modeling of ground-coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical processes associated with energy geotechnology. Typical research thrusts include; (1.) Ground-coupled heat exchangers and energy geostructures (energy piles, thermal tunnels etc.), (2.) Thermal and mechanical energy geostorage (underground thermal energy storage, compressed air energy storage etc.), (3.) Temperature and physicochemical effects on soil behavior, (4.) Carbon footprint of geotechnical construction, (5.) Carbon sequestration and underground storage, (6.) Nuclear waste storage, (7.) Waste recycling and use of by-products in earth structures. Several of these focus areas have yielded research projects while the others remain as ongoing efforts at various stages of development.

Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering: Dynamic response of soils and earth structures, mitigation of ground damage during earthquakes. Main focus areas are (1.) Performance of improved ground during earthquakes, (2.) Dynamic soil-foundation-structure interaction, physical and numerical/analytical modeling of earth structures and foundations, (3.) Dynamic response of fine grained soils, (4.) Dynamic behavior of carbonate sands, (5.) Seismic site amplification with specific emphasis on intraplate tectonic and geologic environments, (6.) Induced seismicity related to fluid injection for oil and gas recovery. Most of these focus areas have yielded research projects in addition to the others aligned with ongoing research efforts.

Disaster Resilience: Disaster risk management during natural disasters along interdisciplinary interfaces of engineering, economy and public policy to improve the resilience of physical infrastructure systems and communities. Main focus areas are (1.) Decision frameworks for infrastructure resilience in response to multi-hazards, (2.) Characterization of emerging vulnerabilities as a result of increased urbanization and societal interconnectedness, (3.) Quantitative decision making frameworks for multi-dimensional and multi-scale analysis of hazard impacts on physical infrastructure and communities. This is an emerging interdisciplinary research area with growing collaborative opportunities with researchers from geosciences, systems engineering, urban affairs and planning as well as other disciplines of civil engineering.

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology, (Aug. 2018 – Present)
  • Research Assistant Professor, Geotechnical Division, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, (Aug. 2009 – July 2018)
  • Co-Director, Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program on Disaster Resilience, Graduate School, Virginia Tech, (Aug. 2013 – July 2018)
  • Research Scientist, Geotechnical Division, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, (Aug. 2005 – August 2009)
  • Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Geotechnical Division, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, (Jan. 2004 – Aug. 2005)
  • Graduate Research Assistant / Graduate Student Instructor, Geotechnical Division, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, (Aug. 1998 – Jan. 2004)
  • Research and Teaching Assistant, Civil Engineering Department, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey, (Aug. 1994 – Aug. 1998)
  • Project Engineer, Zetas, Earth Technology Corporation, Istanbul, Turkey, (April 1993 – Aug. 1998)



Research Funding: Total $8.8 million

  • National Science Foundation: Geotechnical Engineering, National Research Traineeship (NRT), Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation Research (NEESR), Decision Frameworks for Multi-Hazard Resilient and Sustainable Buildings (RSB), Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE)
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • U.S. Agency of International Development
  • Private companies: Hayward Baker, DGI-Menard, Geopier, GeoInstruments, Layne GeoConstruction, Berkel Foundations, Schnabel Engineering, Mechanical Equipment Sales
  • Mid-Atlantic Universities Transportation Center (MAUTC)
  • Virginia Tech internal seed funding: Virginia Tech Graduate School, Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Science, Institute for Society, Culture and Environment / Global Issues Initiative, Center for Geotechnical Practice and Research
  • State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

Student Supervision

  • Ph.D. Student Advising: 6 completed, 3 ongoing
  • MS Student Advising: 21 completed, 1 ongoing
  • Undergraduate Student Advising: 8 completed including 2 who received NSF Graduate Research Fellowships


  • Journal Papers: 40 accepted/published, 13 in review
  • Peer Reviewed Conference Papers: 64


  • Invited Presentations: 26
  • Conference Presentations: 77



  • Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2004
  • M.S. Civil Engineering, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey, 1995
  • B.S. Civil Engineering, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey, 1993