Zahra Mohaghegh is the Principal Investigator of a three-year Department of Energy (DOE) grant for Enterprise Risk Management and a five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for Big Data Analytics in risk assessment. She is the recipient of the 2016 American Nuclear Society Mary Jane Oestmann Professional Women’s Achievement Award, the 2016 Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising, the 2015 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research from the College of Engineering, the George Apostolakis early-career award in risk assessment, and the Zonta International Award for her contribution to modeling large-scale complex systems.
She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering (NPRE) and an affiliate of the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, School of Information Science, Computational Science and Engineering, and the Illinois Informatics Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).
She is interested in promoting research and education in risk and reliability analysis. Since coming to UIUC, Mohaghegh has focused on two key areas of scientific innovation: (a) “spatio-temporal” causal modeling of underlying social and physical failure mechanisms in PRA and (b) the incorporation of big data analytics into PRA.
Since 2012, Dr. Mohaghegh and her research team have been involved in the risk-informed resolution of Generic Safety Issue 191, a long-standing issue for commercial nuclear power plants and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The ongoing research applications in her laboratory include: modeling fire risk in nuclear power plants; location-specific Loss of Coolant Accidents (LOCA) leading to Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS) failure; modeling the effects of human and organizational factors on technical system failure; and socio-technical risk-informed emergency preparedness, planning and response modeling for severe accidents.
Dr. Mohaghegh has developed and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in PRA across engineering disciplines and to non-engineering students at UIUC. She served as the technical chair for the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Risk Management topical meeting in November 2013. In March 2015, she developed and presented the U.S.-China Probabilistic Safety Assessment Workshop on “Risk-Informed Regulation and Safety Culture” in China, as part of the DOE’s Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Technology (PUNT) program. She is a member of the Society for Risk Analysis, American Nuclear Society, Society of Women Engineers, and American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She holds Master’s and Ph.D. in Reliability Engineering from the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Maryland and a B.S. from Sharif University of Technology in Iran.