You cannot teach a person anything; you can only help them find it within themselves.
– Galileo Galilei –

Graduate students

Omar Alamoudi

Omar Alamoudi

Omar Alamoudi working on building his experimental apparatus (X-RETTA) while working from home as a COVID-19 measure.

Omar Alamoudi is a Ph.D. student and a father of two beautiful children. His research is about investigating the hydraulic permeability of tight sedimentary rocks. The investigation is experimental in nature, and utilizes micro-CT imaging and triaxial testing of cylindrical rock samples. Omar has been developing his experimental apparatus with  Nicola Tisato. On his leisure time, Omar enjoys photography, good coffee, and hiking.

Say hello to Omar!





Ethan Conrad (co-supervised with Profs. T. Becker, D. Stockli and C. Faccenna)

Ethan Conrad

Ethan working in the Rock Deformation Laboratory

I am a Ph.D. aspirant advised by Claudio Faccenna and co-advised by Nicola Tisato and Thorsten Becker. I study structural geology, tectonics, and geomorphology through fieldwork, thermochronology, and laboratory experiments. To better understand tectonic and fault behavior, I work with the RDL group to study static and dynamic friction during rock deformation using a unique rotary shear apparatus. From these experiments, we can draw insight on the evolution of fault slip surfaces. We use experimental results to 1) study both the precursory and co-seismic events that resemble natural earthquakes and 2) characterize materials that can be considered crustal analogs in tectonic sandbox experiments.

Say hello to Ethan!


Undergraduate students

Sarah Al Nasser (Honor student, co-advised with Prof. C. Kerans)

Sarah studies the formation of caves in Texas.

Say hello to Sarah!


Dr. Nicola Tisato (PI)


Nicola Tisato

Art Gallery of Ontario – Toronto (Canada)

Former Collaborators

M.Sc. Carolyn Bland

Carolyn Bland

I completed my undergraduate degree at the Jackson School in general geology, with a special interest in soil carbonates and paleo-reconstructions. During my time as an undergraduate, I fell in love with the research-focused atmosphere and supportive community I found here at UT. My interests also expanded to geophysics, structural geology, and tectonics. I am now a graduate student working under Nicola Tisato and Harm Avendonk on their ongoing project concerning the Hikarungi Subduction Zone in New Zealand. Specifically, I will be working in the lab to determine the properties of site-specific rock samples, which will assist interpretation of seismic data from the field. This research aims to improve our understanding of seismic hazards in New Zealand. In my free time, I enjoy playing tennis, painting, and spending time with friends.

Say hello to Carolyn!

Ken Ikeda

Ken excited about purchasing the 3rd edition of the Rock Physics Handbook

Dr. Ken Ikeda

Sustainable energy resources are crucial for driving civilizations and technologies. Nowadays, the need for energy keeps increasing while new discoveries of conventional reservoirs become more challenging and might not be able to supply the demand. My research interest is to mitigate the uncertainty of reservoir mapping and reduce exploration costs by integrating state-of-the-art rock physics experiments and simulations with seismic explorations. With that, I got my bachelor degree in geology at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. Then, I have become one of the Ph. D. student in geophysics at The University of Texas at Austin.

Say hello to Ken!


Dr. Eric Goldfarb


In August, 2016, I moved from Toronto, Canada to Austin. While far from home, it is hard to think of a better place to do research. I like learning why the world looks the way it does, both natural and manmade. Geology has been there for me to explain the natural world, and engineering and applied science has been there for the constructed. The rock deformation lab here is a great mix of these two disciplines with experimental geophysics.
My undergraduate is in geological engineering, and my Master’s is in mining engineering, both from Queen’s University in Canada.
In the past, I have been a ski instructor living in the mountains, a bike courier dodging cars in rush hour, and a member of a national sailing team competing in several countries. In fact, one day before retirement, I plan to captain a boat across the Atlantic (before it closes again).

Say hello to Eric!

M.Sc. Micheal McCann

Michael has studied the attenuation of seismic waves in viscous fluids. Michael designed and built a state-of-the-art low-frequency apparatus and used it to measure 0.1-5 Hz attenuation and bulk modulus in guar-water mixtures.

Dr. Ziqi Jin

Ziqi has been a visiting student in 2018-2019 from Northeast Petroleum University – China. Ziqi studied the wave-induced-exsolution-dissolution model for attenuation of seismic waves. Ziqi designed and built a new apparatus to observe the deformation of bubbly liquids that are subjected to a seismic wave.

B.Sc. Carole Lakrout

Carole Lakrout

I am an undergraduate student at the Jackson School of Geosciences. I started doing research with Nicola during my first year when I approached him with my interest in caves. He offered me the project that I have been working on ever since. My research is on biologically mediated speleothem structures, so how microbial life impacts carbonate structures in caves. I analyze samples from a cave in Colorado called Breezeway. I use CT and SEM imaging to search for evidence of life on the speleothems. Understanding how life can impact speleothem structure could open more doors to looking for life in the geological rock record in caves and the study of unconventional energy sources of the extremophiles living in this environment.

Say hello to Carole!


B.Sc. Mason Currin

Howdy! My name is Mason Currin, I am a junior studying Geophysics at the JSG. I am currently working with Dr. Tisato to study seismic waves generated by anthropogenic activity. I use seismometers like the  BerryQuake, which is a Rasberry Pi connected to a Geophone. During the UT Football games for the 2019-2020 season, I attended the games in person to record events that generated a proportionally loud noise, such as a cannon, or the crowd. We could then go into the data collected from the game from the Berryquake and create timestamps by correlating noise on the seismogram to our recorded events. I personally believe that this project is important in that it uses popular media in order to show off the actual viability and application methods of cheap open source seismometers.

Say hello to Mason!