Mo Gabr

Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering and Construction

Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor
Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professor

Mohammed (Mo) Gabr is Professor of Civil Engineering at North Carolina State University specializing in Geotechnical/Geoenvironmental Engineering. His recent research interests include innovative soil improvement techniques including the use of geosyntehtics, limit states and condition assessment of flood defense earth structures under extreme storms, and offshore foundation systems supporting renewable energy devices.

Dr. Gabr earned his Ph.D. at North Carolina State University in December 1987. He was then awarded a postdoctoral fellowship by the Royal Norwegian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and spent 1988 at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI). Upon returning to the US, he worked as a Project Engineer for Woodward-Clyde Consultants until August 1991; at that time he joined West Virginia University (WVU). He has been Assistant and then Associate Professor(1995) at West Virginia University from 8/91 to 1/98 and Associate then Full Professor at North Carolina State University from 1/98 to present. Dr. Gabr spent the summers of 1992 and 1993 as a Research Faculty at the Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station  in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He spent the Fall 2012 semester at the Imperial College, London, as a Visiting Professorial Academic. Dr. Gabr served as the Acting Director of the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program (NCROEP) from July 2015-July 2019. The program is administrated through the University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute (CSI). In such capacity, he worked with colleagues from the CSI and several Universities across the state of North Carolina to plan and advance research and technology supporting the generation of renewable ocean energy in cost-competitive and environmentally benign manner. Over 27 years of his academic career so far, Dr. Gabr has served as chair, co-chair, and advisor of 37 Ph.D. and 70 Masters students. Supported by more than $12 million in grants and contracts, Gabr continues to work with his students and colleagues  on research areas that transcend Geotechnical, Environmental, Structural, and Coastal Engineering.

Dr. Gabr received the Edmund Friedman Professional Recognition award by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He was selected as the 1993 West Virginia Young Engineer of the Year by ASCE. He received the 1993-94 Outstanding College Researcher award and 1995-96 Outstanding College Teacher award from the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources (CEMR) at WVU. He received the 1994-95 J.C. Burnichal Teaching award and the 1994-95 Outstanding Advisor award from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at WVU. He 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 2008. He was named “Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor” in 2009, a title retained while appointed as a member of the NC State faculty, and is selected as Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professor in 2019. He is the College of Engineering Recipient of the 2011 Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Gabr also received the 2015 Outstanding Teaching Award from the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), Southeast Section.

Dr. Gabr is the former Chair of the Transportation Research Board national committee on Physicochemical Properties of Soils (1997-2003), and the ASCE Geo-Institute national committee on Geosynthetics (2000-2008.) Dr. Gabr served as an editorial board member (EBM) of the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering (2001-2006) and as Editor of the Environmental Geotechnics Section of Geotechnical News (1998-2004). He served as an EBM of ASTM Geotechnical Testing Journal (1999-2015) and as Editor of the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering (2007-2015). He served as the Editor-in-Chief of the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering (2015-2019) and is currently Editor-in-Chief Emeritus and Discussion Editor for the journal. Dr. Gabr was elected as a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2000, and was inducted as a Diplomate of the Geo-Institute Academy of Geo-Professionals in 2015. He is a registered professional engineer in five States.

Dr. Gabr considers teaching to be his passion. He endeavors to create a comfortable learning environment, clearly define learning objectives and expectations, and focus on teaching basics and innovations for lifelong learning. He regularly teaches CE 342,CE 435, CE 443, CE 584, CE 741,and CE 747. He pursues cutting-edge innovative concepts in response to emerging challenges in Civil Engineering education. To this end, he has secured funding with his colleagues from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for two projects on development of innovative teaching approaches. The first project aimed at adaptation of information technology for incorporation of internet-enabled Civil Engineering laboratory experiments in geotechnical courses. The second aims at incorporating sensors and instrumentation for monitoring engineering infrastructure in the civil engineering undergraduate curriculum. Dr. Gabr has been teaching since 1991 and has served on several committees and professional organizations where achieving excellence in education is a primary focus.


Ph.D. 1987

Civil Engineering

North Carolina State University

M.S. 1984

Civil Engineering

Clarkson University

B.S. 1980

Civil Engineering

Cairo University

Research Description

Dr. Gabr's research programs are the results of work by his colleagues and graduate students and experience accumulated through interaction and cooperation with colleagues in various places including North Carolina State University (NCSU), Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), Woodward-Clyde Consultants, West Virginia University (WVU), the Waterways Experiment Station (WES), and the UNC Coastal Studies Institute. Dr. Gabr's research is multifaceted in nature and encompasses the areas of in-situ soil flushing, waste characterization and properties, scour, limit states of protective earth structures, geosynthetics, and shallow and deep foundations. Details on some of the research activities are summarized as follows: 1. Base Support and Reinforcement: We have conducted research in the area of soil reinforcement focused on strain-based analysis in terms of defining the contribution of reinforcement to the soil modulus as well as characterizing the variation in strain within the soil mass with reinforcement. Our work branched out to include the effect of polymeric reinforcement on crater forming under explosions as a part of a project we conducted at US Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station. At present, on-going work is extending the soil reinforcement research to discern the behavior of a soil mass with various reinforcement types for the stabilization of soft subgrade soils under cyclic loading. The results of this work will be incorporated in a constitutive model for the design/analysis of reinforced soils under cyclic loading. 2. In Situ Assessment of Scour: We have developed an in situ erosion evaluation device called ISEEP to allow for rapid assessment of the scour potential of soil with depth around hydraulic structures throughout their designated lifetime, but especially prior to, and after, storm events. The ISEEP has been tested in coastal sands, coastal peat as well as in the Laboratory. The ISEEP development has been documented in ASTM Standard. 3. Levees Stability and Seepage Limit states (Strain-Based Approach): We have conducted research in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security and the Waterways Experiment Station (WES) related to the development of methods for analyzing and assessing the risk of failure of levees. We have introduced the concept of Strain-Based Limit States for protective earth structures investigated the consequences of repeated storm loading on the functionality for a given limit state. 4. Piles and Drilled Shafts: Our research in the area of deep foundation has developed methods for analysis of drilled shafts on slopes as well as the use of in situ tests for analysis of laterally loaded shafts. We have extended this work to investigate the buckling behavior of piles taking into account the presence of the soil to provide lateral support with variable lateral subgrade distribution, as well as the impact of various boundary conditions on piles behavior. We have performed research on the use of in situ measurement techniques for obtaining parameters used in pile/shaft design. We have conducted research to investigate the effect of embedment in soft weathered rock profiles on lateral shaft behavior as well as the influence of various degree of fixity on the measured P-y curves. We have introduced a simple model for estimating the point of fixity in laterally loaded piles for use in bridge design. We are currently conducting research on the use of micropiles for anchoring offshore renewable energy devices. 5. Well Injection Depth Extraction (WIDE) System for Enhanced Soil Flushing: An achievement in this research area is the pioneering use of prefabricated vertical wells (PVWs) for accelerated soil flushing. The technology termed Well Injection Depth Extraction (WIDE) aims at reducing the clean up time in soils with a large fines fraction. The research was proclaimed as a success story by the Department of Energy. The WIDE technology was subjected to a level II independent peer review process conducted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Institute for Regulatory Science. 6. Surfactant Flushing of PAH’s and DNAPLs in Clayey Soils: In conjunction with the development of an enhanced pump and treat system, we have conducted research in the area of surfactant flushing of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH’s) and Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPLs). The research was focused on soil clogging as a result of introducing surfactant and investigated the redistribution of the contaminant within the soil/liquid/air phases during flushing, the quantitative measurement of the contaminated soil’s hydraulic conductivity and its variation during the flushing process, and the effect of the clay content on flushing levels. 7. Recycle of Industrial By-Products and Waste Characterization: We have established a research program on the use and recycling of by-product industrial material for the development of grout and flowable fill materials as well the utilization of geosynthetics to facilitate such applications. Results of the research on grout development have been successfully implemented by the US Bureau of Mines at a site in Waynsburg, Pennsylvania, for the abatement of acid mine drainage. As fly ash differs from natural soils in aspects related to physical and chemical characteristics, we have developed design criteria for the long term assessment of filtration and clogging of nonwoven geotextiles retaining fly ash fill material as well as methods pertaining to sample preparation techniques and the impact of such techniques on filtration and drainage behavior.

Honors and Awards

  • Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professor, North Carolina State University, 2019
  • Outstanding Teacher Award, American Society of Engineering Education-Southeastern Region, 2016
  • Diplomate, Academy of Geo-Professionals, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) , 2015
  • College of Engineering Recipient- Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2011
  • Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor, 2009
  • Alumni Outstanding Teacher Award, North Carolina State University, 2008
  • Member, Academy of Outstanding Teachers, North Carolina State University , 2008
  • Outstanding Teacher Award, North Carolina State University, 2008
  • Kimely-Horn Faculty Award, 2005
  • Fellow, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 2000
  • Edmund Friedman Professional Recognition Award, American Society of Civil Engineers, 1996
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Dept. of Civil Engineering, West Virginia University, 1996
  • Outstanding Teacher Award, College of Engineering, West Virginia University , 1995
  • Outstanding Faculty Advisor, ASCE Student Chapter, West Virginia University, 1994
  • Outstanding Researcher Award, College of Engineering, West Virginia University , 1994
  • West Virginia Young Engineer of the Year , American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 1993
  • Eminent Engineer, Tau Beta PI - National Engineering Honor Society, 1992
  • First Place, Student Technical Paper Contest, 3rd US Conf. on Earthquake Engineering, 1986
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant, North Carolina State University, 1985


Assessment of Mitigation Measures against Benzene Breakthrough into Subsurface Concrete Pipe
Alhomair, S., Faeli, Z., Hosseini, P., Gabr, M., Pour-Ghaz, M., & Parker, C. (2021), JOURNAL OF PIPELINE SYSTEMS ENGINEERING AND PRACTICE, 2.
Distribution and Properties of Microbially Induced Carbonate Precipitation in Underwater Sand Bed
Quantifying probability of deceedance estimates of clear water local scour around bridge piers
Shahriar, A. R., Montoya, B. M., Ortiz, A. C., & Gabr, M. A. (2021), JOURNAL OF HYDROLOGY, 6.
Scour Mitigation and Erodibility Improvement Using Microbially Induced Carbonate Precipitation
Do, J., Montoya, B. M., & Gabr, M. A. (2021), GEOTECHNICAL TESTING JOURNAL, 9.
Degradation Model for the Tensile Strength of PVC and Rubber Gasket Materials Exposed to Benzene and PCE-Saturated Aqueous Solutions
Hosseini, P., Alhomair, S., Faeli, Z., Pour-Ghaz, M., Gabr, M., Knappe, D., & Parker, C. (2020), TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD.
Effect of repeated rise and fall of water level on seepage-induced deformation and related stability analysis of Princeville levee
Jadid, R., Montoya, B. M., Bennett, V., & Gabr, M. A. (2020), ENGINEERING GEOLOGY, 266.
Coupled analysis for response and instability of sloping seabed under wave action
Rafiei, A., Rahman, M. S., & Gabr, M. A. (2019), Applied Ocean Research, 88, 99–110.
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).
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), 04019018.

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Integration of Repair and Remediation Methods into Pipe Material Selection Approach
NC Department of Transportation(8/01/21 - 7/31/23)
Field Evaluation of Hardening Methods for Subsurface Utilities and Drainage Pipes
NC Department of Transportation(8/01/19 - 12/31/21)
Durability of Pipe Materials in Soils
NC Department of Transportation(8/01/19 - 12/31/21)
Compare NCDOT Bridge Scour Calculations to USGS SIR 2016-5121 South Carolina (SC) Scour Envelope Curves Results
NC Department of Transportation(8/01/19 - 5/15/22)
The effects of contaminated soil and groundwater on subsurface utilities, surface water and drainage
NC Department of Transportation(8/01/16 - 7/31/19)
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 - 6/30/21)
Reinforced Concrete Filled Pipe Piles in Soil
State of Alaska, Department of Transportation(8/15/13 - 12/31/16)
Retaining Wall Inventory and Assessment System
NC Department of Transportation(8/16/13 - 8/15/15)
Design of Temporary Slopes and Excavations in NC Residual Soils
NC Department of Transportation(8/16/12 - 6/30/16)
Performance of Cracking Mitigation Strategies on Cracked Flexible Pavements
NC Department of Transportation(8/16/11 - 8/15/14)