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Dr Tao Zhao
Senior Lecturer in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Howell Building 210


Dr. Tao Zhao is a senior Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Brunel University London. Prior to joining Brunel University, he was an Assistant Professor in Geotechnical Engineering at Sichuan University, China during 2015-2018. Tao was a visiting scholar in The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2016. Dr Zhao is a Chartered Civil Engineer (CEng) and a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (MICE). 

Tao received his DPhil (PhD) degree in Engineering Science from University of Oxford in 2014. His DPhil research project was “Investigation of Landslide-Induced Debris Flows by the DEM and CFD”, supervised by Prof. Guy Houlsby and Prof. Stefano Utili. Tao holds a BEng degree in Civil Engineering awarded in 2010 by Tongji University, China. Tao’s research interest spans a broad range of computational analysis of geotechnics and geohazards. Over the past 10 years, he has been working on the computer modelling of landslides, debris flows, and rock avalanches using the discrete element method (DEM) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). His research focuses on progressive slope failure, coastal erosion and submarine landlsides. Tao has been dedicated to understanding the underlying physics of these geohazards and establish predictive models. Tao has published more than 60 high-quality peer-reviewed scientific papers on leading research journals with an H-index of 28 from the Google Scholar

Dr Zhao is a scientific editorial board member of the journals:

Deep Underground Science and Engineering ( (Associate Director of the Early Career Editorial Board)

Landslides (

Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (


  • 12. 2022          Chartered Civil Engineer (CEng)
  • 06. 2019          Fellow of The Higher Education Academy (FHEA)      
  • 2010—2014    DPhil (PhD) in Engineering Science, University of Oxford, Oxford, U.K.
  • 2006—2010    B.Eng. in Civil Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai, China


  • Leader of the Geotechnical & Environmental Engineering Research Group
  • Department International Partnership Officer
  • Member of Brunel University International Working Group (China region)
  • Transnational Education (TNE) Programme Coordinator
  • Digital Education Champion

Newest selected publications

Zhao, T., Crosta, G. and Liu, Y. (2022) 'Analysis of slope fracturing under transient earthquake loading by random discrete element method'. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, 157. pp. 1 - 13. ISSN: 0148-9062 Open Access Link

Journal article

Zhao, T., Zhou, GGD., Sun, Q., Crosta, GB. and Song, D. (2022) 'Slope erosion induced by surges of debris flow: insights from field experiments'. Landslides, 0 (in press). pp. 2367 - 2377. ISSN: 1612-510X Open Access Link

Journal article

Yan, K., Zhao, T. and Liu, Y. (2022) 'Experimental Investigations on the Spillway Section Shape of the Breaching Process of Landslide Dams'. International Journal of Geomechanics, 22 (5). ISSN: 1532-3641

Journal article

Gong, B., Wang, Y., Zhao, T., Tang, C., Yang, X. and Chen, T. (2022) 'AE energy evolution during CJB fracture affected by rock heterogeneity and column irregularity under lateral pressure'. Geomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk, 13 (1). pp. 877 - 907. ISSN: 1947-5705 Open Access Link

Journal article

Shen, W., Zhao, T., Crosta, GB., Dai, F. and Dattola, G. (2022) 'Influence of Inter-Particle Friction and Damping on the Dynamics of Spherical Projectile Impacting Onto a Soil Bed'. Frontiers in Earth Science, 10.Open Access Link

Journal article
More publications(61)