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Mark D. Abkowitz, Ph.D.


Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Director, Vanderbilt Center for Environmental Management Studies

Office: Room 292, Jacobs Hall
Address: Vanderbilt University
VU Station B-35 1831
Nashville, TN 37235-1831
Phone: (615)343-3436
Fax: (615)322-3365

Dr. Abkowitz specializes in managing the risks associated with accidents, intentional acts, and natural disasters. He has a specific interest in hazardous materials transportation safety and security, and in risk mitigation using advanced information technologies. Dr. Abkowitz has appeared on National Public Radio, Fox National News, and CNBC, discussing various risk management topics. He is also the author of Operational Risk Management – A Case Study Approach to Effective Planning and Response, recently published by John Wiley & Sons.

Dr. Abkowitz is currently a member of the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, having been appointed to this position by President George W. Bush in June 2002. He previously served on several other national and international committees, including as Chairman of the National Academy of Sciences, Transportation Research Board Committee on Hazardous Materials Transport and as a member of the National Research Council, Committee on Disposal of Transuranic Waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Dr. Abkowitz is also the recipient of the 1996 Distinguished Service Award from the National Academy of Sciences for his leadership role with the Transportation Research Board.

Honors, Awards and Leadership

Inducted into the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists by Eminence for leadership and excellence in Environmental Sustainability, 2015

Presidential (White House) Appointee, Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, 2002-2011

Chairman, Committee on Hazardous Materials Transport, Transportation Research Board, National Academy of Sciences, 1990-1996.  Member, 2002-2012

Best Oral Paper, The Potential Impact of Using TAD Canisters on Yucca Mountain Preclosure Operations, Waste Management 2008

Reviewer of National Research Council report on Setting the Stage for International Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facilities: International Workshop Proceedings, 2007

Chairman, Visual Risk Technologies, Inc., 1999-2007

Recipient of Team Award of Excellence, Tennessee Department of Transportation, 2006

Reviewer, Transportation Research Board special report on Cooperative Research for Hazardous Materials Transportation, 2005

Reviewer, National Research Council special report on Going the Distance: The Safe Transport of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste in the United States, 2005

Member, Committee on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), National Academy of Sciences, 1998-2001


Ph.D. – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Civil Engineering —Transportation, 1980

M.S. – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Civil Engineering, 1976

B.S. – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Civil Engineering, 1974