Villarini to Serve as IIHR Director

IIHR Director Gabriele Villarini.

Professional headshot of Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Gabriele Villarini, who was recently appointed director of IIHR.

Originally Posted on: September 18th, 2017

Dear IIHR Alumni and Friends,

Please allow me to introduce myself: my name is Gabriele Villarini, and I am the director of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering. While this is a relatively new position for me, I am far from new to the institute.

I am a native of Rome, Italy, where I originally planned on a career as a civil engineer in my family’s construction company. However, when I was working on my master’s thesis, I became fascinated by remote sensing and hydrology. So, of course, I came to IIHR!

In July 2008, in the immediate aftermath of the devastating floods that struck Iowa City that year, I finished my PhD in civil and environmental engineering at the University of Iowa under the supervision of Prof. Witold Krajewski. My firsthand experience with this catastrophic event only piqued my interest in extreme weather and significantly shaped my research interests.

After graduation, I worked as a researcher in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University with Prof. James Smith. I was also a Willis Research Fellow as part of the Willis Research Network. In this role, I developed a growing interest in climate change and extreme events — in particular, flooding and hurricanes.

IIHR has been a significant part of my life, and I chose to return to Iowa and the institute in 2012. My family (wife Amie and two daughters, Eleonora and Camilla) and I are firmly rooted in Iowa City. I am an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Iowa and director of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering. I also recently completed the Executive MBA Program in the Tippie School of Business at the University of Iowa. My research group broadly focuses on flood hydrology, extreme events, hydroclimatology, climate predictions and projections, and the economic impacts of natural hazards.

I am also a member of the Iowa Flood Center, which is the only university-based center devoted solely to flood-related research and education

I am deeply committed to IIHR’s mission and honored to be the new director.  Please contact me at any time if you have questions or comments at gabriele-villarini at or 319-384-0596.

Best regards,

Signature of Gabriele Villarini.

Gabriele Villarini