Staff Directory


Arindam Chowdhury, PhD
Director and PI of NHERI WOW EF
Leads scientific and operational vision; facilitates education/outreach; serves on Council
(305) 348-0518

Arindam is an expert in wind and structural engineering and has co-authored more than 30 peer-reviewed journal publications. As a principal investigator, he has received more than $3.5 million in research funding from the National Science Foundation, NOAA, Florida Department of Emergency Management, Sea Grant Programs, Department of Energy, and the industry. Recipient of the National Science Foundation’s prestigious “Faculty Early Career Development Program Award (CAREER),” Florida Sea Grant’s “Research to Application Award,” and FIU President’s Council “Worlds Ahead Faculty Award.”


Peter Irwin, PhD
Professor of Practice
Addresses research challenges in Science Plan; helps achieve operational goals
(305) 348-2824

Peter is a renowned wind-engineering expert who comes to FIU with over 20 years of experience as a highly sought-after wind-engineering consultant. He spent 6 years with the National Research Council of Canada before moving into private engineering consulting with RWDI, Inc. He has done wind consulting for some of the most ambitious building projects on record, including the Petronas Towers (Malaysia), Taipei 101 (Taiwan) and Burj Khalifai (Dubai).


Ioannis Zisis, PhD
Oversees EF’s key deliverables/milestones; leads performance assessment
(305) 348-4869

Ioannis has been studying wind effects on the built environment for the past 8 years. His research focus is structural and environmental wind engineering. He has been using advanced experimental methods, including wind tunnel and full-scale monitoring techniques, to examine how residential and other structures react to extreme wind events. The outcomes of his research efforts are aiming at the development and improvement of national and international wind standards and building codes of practice.


Amal Elawady, PhD
Assistant Professor
Implements and pursues cooperation with EF collaborators to fulfill the plans
(305) 348-0256

Amal’s academic background is in the field of structural and wind engineering. Her studies involve large-scale wind tunnel testing, wind effects analysis to examine structural response, and design of structures against extreme wind events. During the last few years, Amal was active in studying the response of power transmission infrastructure during downburst wind events. Her research aims at advancing the field of civil engineering for bettering structures' resiliency and sustainability against wind hazards


Seung Jae Lee, PhD
Associate Professor
Building capacity for wider use of wind experiment data in computational modeling and simulations
(305) 348-1086

Seung Jae’s research interest is in computational engineering mechanics, and he works at the interface of multiple disciplines including structural, wind, geotechnical engineering, and scientific computing. His research aims to better understand the underlying mechanisms behind complex engineering scale phenomena through enhanced computational modeling and simulation capability. During the last few years, he has been active in studying the wind-induced dynamic effects on the façade performance.



Dejiang Chen, PhD
Research Specialist
Implements test protocols; facilitates experiments; ensures data quality; performs data processing
(305) 348-0397

Dejiang holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Texas Tech University. His background is in the field of structural and wind engineering. He worked at an wind engineering company for over 10 years prior to joining the Wall of Wind Experimental Facility. He has extensive experience in meteorological data analysis, structural dynamic analysis, cladding pressure, pedestrian comfort, etc. He has been involved in wind engineering studies for many well-known projects worldwide.


Walter Conklin
Management Laboratory and EH&S Manager
Performs EF maintenance; ensures EH&S compliance; provides user safety training
(305) 348-7499

Walter joined the team during the development of the 6-fan Wall of Wind in 2006. The knowledge he acquired while working on numerous research projects and project management at the Applied Research Center at FIU proved invaluable in getting the Wall of Wind off the ground. His work has given continuity to the project and has managed the construction and commissioning of the 12-fan WOW.


Steven W. Diaz, PhD
Site Operations Manager
Manages EF project planning and staff efforts; coordinates with NCO/Users; broadens EF user base
(305) 348-0546

Steven holds a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology. His background includes extensive research experience the fields of fluid mechanics and Computational Fluid Dynamics. He has had broad experience in both the private and public sectors. Prior to joining the Wall of Wind Experimental Facility, his most recent position was as a hurricane researcher for NOAA. He is also Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Florida.


James Erwin
Research Specialist
Facilitates EF experiments; manages EF cyberinfrastructure and telepresence; assists with ECO activities

James has been involved with the Wall of Wind program in various capacities since 2005, when he first began as an undergraduate research assistant. His subsequent M.S. research project focused on determining full-scale rooftop equipment wind loads with the 6-fan system. Since that time, he has continued to gain unique wind engineering experience at the Wall of Wind facility through his efforts as a full-time researcher, and later as a project consultant. Additionally, he has many years of experience teaching courses in physics and mathematics at the high school level.


Manuel A. Matus M.Sc.
Research Specialist
International Hurricane Research Center
(305) 348-0676

Manuel joined the Wall of Wind program in 2016 as an undergraduate research assistant. As he progressed in his career, he was involved as a graduate research assistant in various projects while pursuing his Master's degree which was focused on the assessment of span-wire traffic signals, and ongoing Doctoral degree. During that time, Manuel has gained broad experience in the design, construction, instrumentation and analysis of wind engineering-related projects. He was the lead in the design, construction and calibration of the new small-scale ABL wind tunnel in the Laboratory for Wind Engineering Research.