Home » About TYC » Equality, diversity and inclusion » Women at the TYC » Professor Catherine O’Sullivan

I am Irish.  I graduated with a BEng degree from University College Cork, Ireland (UCC).  Following graduation I started a masters in Soil Mechanics (by research) at UCC and was awarded a scholarship to go to UC Berkeley for a year.  During this year I followed the curriculum of the UC Berkeley MSc in geotechnical engineering.  Discussions with the staff teaching me during this period led to an opportunity to start a PhD there.  

Before starting my PhD I completed my research degree in Ireland and also spent 6 months working in a geotechnical engineering consultancy. I chose to do a PhD in the area of Discrete Element Modelling as I was attracted to the fundamental nature of the research proposed and the opportunity to work at the boundaries between disciplines.  

Following completion of my PhD I worked in University College Dublin for 2 years and then came to Imperial College in 2004.  I am based in the Geotechnics Section of the Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Notable collaborations include Marcos Arroyo, UPC, Giovanna Biscontin, Cambridge, Lis Bowman, Sheffield and Erdin Ibraim, Bristol. Former students / post-docs (Kevin Hanley, Tom Shire, Xin Huang, Masahide Otsubo)

Catherine’s career highlight to date has been her invitation to give the Géotechnique lecture in 2015. She most enjoys seeing students develop their confidence and technical expertise.

– Who has been an inspiration to you?

Key people in my research field are Dr. Colin Thornton, Prof. Stefan Luding and Prof. David Muir Wood