Area of Expertise:

Preventative measures for the protection of the built environment from man-made ground movements, vibrations, and direct attacks; Damage prediction and monitoring of structural response due to adjacent excavation and tunnelling; Stabilisation, repair, restoration, and seismic retrofit of unreinforced masonry and archaeological ruins; Soil improvement and reinforcement techniques to preclude and arrest ground movements; Infrastructure renewal, focusing on new applications of grout and synthetics for structural and geotechnical enhancement


She has an extensive background in laser scanning and currently holds a European Research Council (ERC) grant related to laser scanning. She currently heads the Urban Modelling Group at the University College Dublin where she supervises a group of 10 doctoral students and three post-doctoral researchers, as well as a research manager and a part-time technician. She is the associate editor of four journals and a Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, as well as a Fulbright Fellow. She has been an invited speaker at a wide range of prestigious institutions including the Brookings Institute, the Technical University of Munich, the University of Kyoto, and Cambridge.

At the time of start of the TRUSS project, Prof. Laefer had obtained €5.6 million euros in funding for her research group and according to ISI statistics she had 16 publications in the top 20% of all cited items in Engineering (with 5 of them within the top 10%, and 1 within the top 1%), as well as 4 patents. Prof. Debra F. Laefer had supervised 3 PhDs to completion and published 43 journal papers, 58 conference papers and co-edit 5 books.

Selected Research Outputs:

  • Laefer, D., Truong-Hong, L., Cording, E., Long, J., and Erkal, A. (2011), “Manufacturing, assembly, and testing of scaled, historic masonry for one-gravity, pseudo-static, soil-structure experiments”, Construction and Building Materials, 25 (12):4362-4373. [DOI] Link to full text
  • Laefer, D., Hinks, T., Carr, H., and Truong-Hong, L. (2011), “New Advances in Automated Urban Model Population through Aerial Laser Scanning”, Recent Patents on Engineering, 5 (3):196-208. [DOI] Link to full text
  • Laefer, D., Erkal, A., Cording, E.J., Long, J.H. and Hong, L.T. (2010), “Theoretical Solutions for Strength-Scaled Unreinforced Masonry for Scaled Soil-Structure Experimentation”, Journal of Testing and Evaluation, 38 :449-457. [DOI] Link to full text