Samaneh Balali

Samaneh Balali
Research Affiliate

Ph.D. University of Strathclyde
M.S. University of Tehran

Dr. Balali joined the institute as a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in May 2015. She has led and contributed to the development and implementation of Bayesian risk assessment methodologies and computational algorithms, in collaboration with major international power generation and utilities sectors. She specializes in developing data-driven diagnostics, prognostics, and decision optimization methodologies in health management of complex engineering systems. She received her Ph.D. in Management Science from University of Strathclyde, and M.Sc. in Industrial Engineering from University of Tehran.

Chandrasekhar Putcha

Chandrasekhar Putcha
Research Affiliate

Ph.D. Indian Institute of Technology
M.S. Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India
B.S. Banaras Hindu Universty

Since 1981, Dr. Chandrasekhar Putcha has been a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at California State University, Fullerton. Before that, he was on the research faculty at West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV and a Post-Doctoral Fellow at University of Sherbrooke in Canada. His research areas of interest are –Reliability, Risk Analysis, Optimization and Mathematical Modeling. Because of his interdisciplinary areas of research, Dr. Putcha has published more than 175 research papers in various disciplines, such as Engineering, Business, Economics, Medicine, Kinesiology, Political Science and Sociology. He has done consulting work for several leading companies and received research grants from companies such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC), and from federal agencies, such as – NASA, Navy, Air Force, US Army Corps of Engineers. In 2007, Dr. Putcha received the campus-wide Outstanding Professor Award at California State University, Fullerton. He is the first recipient of this award from College of Engineering in 44 years, since this award was instituted in 1963. Also, Dr. Putcha is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and he was the Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) from 1996-2002.

Myron Hecht

Myron Hecht
Senior Project Leader at The Aerospace Corporation

J.D. University of California, Los Angeles
M.B.A. University of California, Los Angeles
M.S. University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Hecht has a M.S. (Engineering), M.B.A, and J.D. degrees from UCLA, and has worked as a Sr Project Leader at The Aerospace Corporation. His areas of expertise include flight control, air traffic control, communications, and nuclear safety. 

Dongfeng Zhu

Dongfeng Zhu
Director of Research and Development at ITEM Software

Ph.D. University of Maryland


Dr. Dongfeng Zhu received his Ph.D. from University of Maryland in Reliability Engineering in 2005 and continued as a Post Doctoral Researcher at the Center for Risk and Reliability until 2008. He currently serves as Director of Research and Development at ITEM Software. He has over 15 years of research, training, consulting, and software development experience in reliability engineering and risk analysis. Dr. Zhu’s research interests lie in the area of Probabilistic Risk Assessment, Bayesian Methods for Data Analysis, Software Reliability, and Human Reliability.

Clayton Smith

Clayton Smith
Principle Professional Staff at JHU/APL

Ph.D. University of Maryland
M.S. University of Maryland
B.S. University of Maryland

Dr. Smith is a member of the Principle Professional Staff at JHU/APL with over 30 years of experience analyzing systems from risk, reliability, and safety perspectives. These systems included: NASA and DoD missions, payloads, ground communication systems, air traffic control systems, and missile systems. He is developing approaches to assess intentional threats against space assets using PRA and Game Theory techniques. He created and managed NASA’s International Space Station Program Probabilistic Risk Assessment specifically geared toward quantifying the safety risk during operations. Dr. Smith is currently the reliability engineering lead for APL’s Solar Probe Plus mission. He received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, M.S. in Engineering Management, and Ph.D. in Reliability Engineering all from the University of Maryland.

Masoud Pourali

Masoud Pourali
President of KimiaPower PLLC

Ph.D. University of Maryland


Dr. Masoud Pourali received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in Reliability Engineering. His research interests are: System Health Monitoring, Prognostics and Health Management (PHM), Bayesian Sensor Placement Optimization, Common Cause Failure (CCF) Analysis, and Application of Bayesian Techniques such as Bayesian Belief Networks in Risk and Reliability Analysis.

Enrique López Droguett

Enrique López Droguett
Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Chile

Ph.D. University of Maryland, College Park


Enrique López Droguett is Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Chile, and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, USA, and is Associate Editor for the Journal of Risk and Reliability. Dr. López Droguett conducts research on computational methods for risk, reliability, and prognostics and system health management based on deep learning for big machinery data. He has led many major studies on these topics in the oil & gas sector, nuclear energy, defense, and energy distribution networks. Dr. López Droguett has over 170 papers in archival journals and proceedings of conferences and 2 books in various areas of reliability, maintenance, and physical asset management.

Mardy Kazarians

Mardy Kazarians
Principal Consultant at Kazarians & Associates, Inc.

Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles


Mardy Kazarians is an independent consultant and owner of Kazarians & Associates, Inc. specializing in risk assessment and risk management program development and implementation of highly hazardous operations. As part of his Ph.D. dissertation at UCLA, he developed a methodology for the fire risk in nuclear power plants. He has since worked on a large number of risk assessment projects for nuclear plants in the U.S. and abroad. He has extended his knowledge of risk assessment to other industries such as petroleum refining, chemicals manufacturing as well as systems and operations handling highly hazardous materials.

David Johnson

David Johnson
Research Affiliate




Dr. Johnson has more than 35 years of experience in risk-based analysis for industry and government applications. His extensive experience and knowledge in all facets of nuclear reactor probabilistic risk assessments (PRA) and expertise include probabilistic modeling and investigation of impacts of industrial endeavors, the development of quantitative risk assessment methods and the practical application of these methods to support risk management.

Karl Fleming

Karl Fleming
Independent Consultant


M.S. Carnegie Mellon University
B.S. Penn State University

Karl Fleming received his B.S. in Physics from Penn State University, Cum Laude in 1969 and his M.S. in Nuclear Science and Engineering at Carnegie-Mellon University in 1974. He has devoted his entire professional career of 45 years to the advancement and application of PRA technology in the nuclear, chemical, process, and aerospace industries. Following professional and executive level assignments at General Atomics, and Pickard Lowe and Garrick, and ERIN Engineering and Research he established an independent consulting firm in 2001 and continues to be active as an independent consultant.