Brina Montoya

Associate Professor

Dr. Brina Mortensen Montoya is interested in developing bio-mediated soil processes and improvement, and assessing how material characterization affects levee performance within the limit state framework. Dr. Montoya was selected as a North Carolina State University Outstanding Teacher, received an Alumni Outstanding Teacher award, and was elected to the Academy of Outstanding Teachers at the University in 2019.

She received her doctoral degree from the University of California, Davis in 2012. Before beginning her graduate studies, she worked as a geotechnical consulting engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she performed field and laboratory investigations and developed foundation designs and construction recommendations for residential, commercial, and governmental development projects. Brina Montoya is a licensed engineer in the state of California.


Ph.D. 2012

Civil Engineering

University of California, Davis

M.S. 2008

Civil Engineering

University of California, Davis

B.S. 2003

Civil Engineering

California Polytechnic State University

Research Description

Dr. Montoya's research interests involve developing bio-mediated stabilization approaches to improve the sustainability and resiliency of infrastructure. Applications of microbial induced carbonate precipitation (MICP) on which she has focused include infrastructure subjected to natural hazards, such as earthquake-induced liquefaction and coastal/offshore erosion, and mitigating storage-related hazards of energy-related wastes. Specifically, her research program has focused on elucidating the performance of MICP cemented geomaterials, including: 1) shear response and volumetric behavior, 2) erosion behavior, and 3) physico-chemical influences of MICP.

Honors and Awards

  • Outstanding Teacher Award, North Carolina State University, 2019
  • Outstanding Reviewer, ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 2017
  • Arthur Casagrande Professional Development Award, ASCE, 2016
  • Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER), NSF, 2016
  • Kimley-Horn Faculty Award, NCSU CCEE, 2015
  • T. K. Hsieh Award, Institution of Civil Engineers, 2014


Debonding of microbially induced carbonate precipitation-stabilized sand by shearing and erosion
Do, J., Montoya, B. M., & Gabr, M. A. (2019), GEOMECHANICS AND ENGINEERING, 17(5), 429–438.
Enhancement of Coal Ash Compressibility Parameters Using Microbial-Induced Carbonate Precipitation
Montoya, B. M., Safavizadeh, S., & Gabr, M. A. (2019), JOURNAL OF GEOTECHNICAL AND GEOENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING, 145(5).
Influence of Microbe and Enzyme-Induced Treatments on Cemented Sand Shear Response
Nafisi, A., Safavizadeh, S., & Montoya, B. M. (2019), JOURNAL OF GEOTECHNICAL AND GEOENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING, 145(9).
Investigating challenges of in situ delivery of microbial-induced calcium carbonate precipitation (MICP) in fine-grain sands and silty sand
Zamani, A., Montoya, B. M., & Gabr, M. A. (2019), CANADIAN GEOTECHNICAL JOURNAL, 56(12), 1889–1900.
Microbial induced calcium carbonate precipitation in coal ash
Safavizadeh, S., Montoya, B. M., & Gabr, M. A. (2019), GEOTECHNIQUE, 69(8), 727–740.
Undrained cyclic response of silty sands improved by microbial induced calcium carbonate precipitation
Zamani, A., & Montoya, B. M. (2019), SOIL DYNAMICS AND EARTHQUAKE ENGINEERING, 120, 436–448.
A new framework for identifying cementation level of MICP-treated sands
Nafisi, A., & Montoya, B. M. (2018), Ifcee 2018: innovations in ground improvement for soils, pavements, and subgrades, (296), 37–47.
Montoya, B. M. (2018), Environmental Geotechnics, 5(2), 67–68.
Effect of microbial induced calcium carbonate precipitation on compressibility and hydraulic conductivity of fly ash
Safavizadeh, S., Montoya, B. M., & Gabr, M. A. (2018), Ifcee 2018: innovations in ground improvement for soils, pavements, and subgrades, (296), 69–79.
Effect of microbial induced carbonate precipitation on the stability of mine tailings
Zamani, A., Liu, Q. W., & Montoya, B. M. (2018), Ifcee 2018: case histories and lessons learned, (298), 291–300.

View all publications via NC State Libraries


TSA: Grain Size Testing
Crane Engineering(10/21/19 - 12/31/19)
GCR: Microbial response to a changing planet: The role of microbes in mineral precipitation resulting in exceptional fossil preservation and CO2 sequestration
National Science Foundation (NSF)(10/01/19 - 9/30/24)
Compare NCDOT Bridge Scour Calculations to USGS SIR 2016-5121 South Carolina (SC) Scour Envelope Curves Results
NC Department of Transportation(8/01/19 - 7/31/21)
Collaborative Research: Implementation Strategies and Performance of Unsaturated Bio-Cemented Dune Sand
National Science Foundation (NSF)(8/15/19 - 7/31/21)
NSF REU Site: Basic and Environmental Soil Science Training (BESST)
National Science Foundation (NSF)(5/15/18 - 4/30/21)
Reducing Erosion Susceptibility of Coastal Highways using Biologically-Based Methods
NC Department of Transportation(8/01/17 - 7/31/20)
Establishment of Remote-Sensing Based Monitoring Program for Performance Limit State Assessment of the Sacramento Delta Levees
US Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS)(1/01/16 - 6/30/20)
CAREER: Stabilization of Mining and Energy Related Byproducts using Bio-Mediated Soil Improvement
National Science Foundation (NSF)(5/15/16 - 4/30/21)
Collaborative Research: Development and Calibration of Particulate Models for the Robust Forward Prediction of Bio-Cemented Soil Behavior
National Science Foundation (NSF)(7/15/15 - 6/30/20)
The Use of Bio-Cementation to Provide Coal Fly Ash Pond Stability
Electric Power Research Institute, Inc.(4/17/15 - 6/30/17)