Personal profile

Research Interests


  • Sustainable hydro-power generation with low-head, run-of-the-river dams and hydro-kinetic turbines
  • Urban Flooding in Large Metropolitan Areas like Chicago, Illinois, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Florence, Italy.
  • CFD Computational fluid dynamics Modeling of rivers and hydraulic structures
  • River mechanics: Meandering streams, bank erosion, bedform dynamics, nonlinear dune development in large rivers, channel restoration, unsteady flows, movable-bed hydraulic modeling.
  • Open-channel flows: Near-bed turbulence, flow structure and turbulence in vegetated channels, flows in channels with large roughness elements, transport and dispersion of contaminants, flood hydraulics and control.
  • Oceanic stratified flows: Turbidity currents, mixing and transport, submarine debris and mud flows, CO2 disposal with gravity currents.
  • Transport and fate of oil spills in rivers and coastal areas-Mechanics of oil-sediment aggregation-role of turbulenceControl methods to reduce impact of oil pills
  • Sediment transport: Particle-turbulence interaction, turbulent resuspension, saltation and suspension mechanics, gravel and colloids transport.
  • Environmental hydrodynamics: Boundary-layer problems involving turbulence-driven mass transfer at air-water and sediment-water interfaces, turbulence measurements and modeling, turbulence effects on biota, bubble plumes, water quality modeling


  • Water Resources Engineering and Science


Personal profile

Marcelo H. García holds the M.T. Geoffrey Yeh Endowed Chair of Civil Engineering and serves as Director of the Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory. He joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an assistant professor in January 1990, received tenure in 1996 and was promoted to professor in 2000. In 2001, he was invested as the first Chester and Helen Siess Endowed Professor of Civil Engineering and as an Honorary Professor at his alma mater, Universidad Nacional del Litoral (UNL). Dr. García teaches an undergraduate course on Water Resources Engineering and Engineering. At the graduate level he teaches Environmental Hydrodynamics, Sediment Transport, River Mechanics, and Open-Channel Hydraulics. His teaching has been recognized with his name appearing numerous times in the List of Professors Ranked as Excellent by Their Students. Dr. García is also the Founding Director of the Centro Internacional de Grandes Rios (CIEGRi) at UNL, Santa Fe, Argentina. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Hydraulic Research (IAHR) from 2001 to 2006. He was also Editor-in-Chief of the Manual of Engineering Practice 110 "Sedimentation Engineering," published by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 2008. In 2005, he was elected Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Engineering of Argentina. His honors and awards include: the Alvin G. Anderson Award from the University of Minnesota, the University Scholar Award from the University of Illinois, Honorary Member of Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Society, the Karl Emil Hilgard Hydraulic Prize for best publication in Journal of Hydraulic Engineering (1996, 1999), the Walter Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize (1998), the Hans Albert Einstein Award (2006), the Wesley Horner Award (2012) and the Hunter Rouse Hydraulic Engineering Award, all from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Dr. Garcia was also recognized with the Arthur Thomas Ippen Award (2001) and the M. Selim Yalin Lifetime Achievement Award (2017), both from the International Association of Hydro-Environmental Engineering and Research (IAHR). He also received the IAGLR Chandler-Misener Award for most notable paper published in Journal of Great Lakes Research in 2011.The Panama Canal Authority recognized Dr. Garcia with the National Award for Scientific Contributions to Science and Technology from SENCYT, Government of Panama (2012). The International L.G. Straub Award for Best Ph.D. Thesis in Hydraulics and Water Resources Engineering has been awarded to four of his advisees: Dr. Yarko Nino (1995), Dr. Jeffrey Parsons (1998), Dr. Mariano Cantero (2007) and Dr. Jorge Abad (2008). Dr. García has supervised and supported the completion of 35 Ph.D. dissertations and 50 M.S. students. He has delivered the Distinguished Inaugural Lecture at Instituto Mexicano de Tecnologia del Agua, Cuernavaca, Mexico (2006), the Borland Distinguished Lecture in Hydraulics at Colorado State University (2008), the Enrico Marchi Distinguished Lecture, Italian Association of Hydraulics, Florence, Italy (2012), and the Donald Harleman Distinguished Lecture in Water Resources Engineering at Penn State University (2016). He has been an invited professor at the University of Genoa, Italy (1993), the California Institute of Technology (1997), the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland (1999) and the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Spain (2000). He was honored as a Distinguished Member of ASCE (2013) as well as Inaugural Fellow of ASCE's Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI).Related to water problems in the State of Illinois, Dr. García has developed physical models of the Boneyard Creek, Urbana, to help in the solution of flooding problems. He re-designed low-head dams on the Chicago, Fox and Vermillion Rivers to reduce the number of drowning accidents, and designed canoe chutes for the same dams in order to increase the safe recreational use of Illinois Streams. He has also worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to mitigate navigation problems caused by sedimentation and vegetation in the Upper Mississippi River Basin as well as with the Chicago River Control Structures, controlling the diversion of water from Lake Michigan in Chicago.  He also served in the expert review board for the US Army Corps of Engineers Fargo-Moorhead flood protection scheme. Since 2003, he has led a major effort to develop hydrologic and hydraulic models of the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) being built the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC). Together with his students he developed the first 3D hydrodynamic and water quality model of the Chicago River and associated waterways and unveiled the presence of density currents in the Chicago River during the winter months. Dr. García has also served as Co-Leader for the Sedimentation Studies Task Working Group for the St. Clair River, 2007-2010, International Great Lakes Commission (Canada-USA). He has also served in numerous international panels, including the Florence 2016 Scientific Committee to assess the hydrologic risk of flooding of Florence, Italy, the River Care Program in The Netherlands, and the Smart Water City Committee in Hong Kong. He has also served in expert review panels for the modeling of the Lower Mississippi River by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Louisiana, as well as in an expert panel for "River Science at the US Geological Survey," National Research Council, The National Academies, Washington, D.C.

Honors & Awards


  • Named Distinguished Visiting Professor, Facultad de Ingenieria y Ciencias Exactas, Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Argentina (2017)
  • Honorary Member, Chi Epsilon National Civil Engineering Honor Society (2004)
  • Recognized for Excellence in Advising, College of Engineering, UIUC (1997, 2001)
  • Included in Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students at UIUC: CE 459 “Sediment Transport” for spring 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005; 2004, 2012, 2015; CE 498 EH “Environmental Hydrodynamics” for Spring 1994, 1996, 1998, 2003 CE 255 “Introduction to Hydrosystems Engineering” for Fall 1995, 1996, 1998, CEE 353 “Analysis and Design of Hydraulic Systems,” for Spring 1999, 2004, 2006,2018. CEE551 "Open Channel Hydraulics" fall 2009, 2011, 2013. CEE555 Mixing in Environmental Flows, 2014 (1992-2019)


  • 6th M. Selim Yalin Lifetime Achievement Award, International Association of Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR). 37th IAHR World Congress, August 2017, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (2017)
  • Donald Harleman Memorial Lecture in Water Resources Engineering, Penn State University, Oct. 2015 (2015)
  • Elected Distinguished Member, American Society of Civil Engineers (2013)
  • Elected Inaugural Fellow Environmental Water Resources Institute, American Society of Civil Engineers (2013)
  • National Award for Scientific Contributions to Science and Technology from SENCYT, Government of Panama, Panama Canal Authority (2012)
  • Hunter Rouse Hydraulic Engineering Lecture Award, EWRI/ASCE. (2012)
  • IAGLR Chandler-Misener Award for most notable paper published in Journal of Great Lakes Research in 2011, International Great Lakes Association (2012)
  • Enrico Marchi Distinguished Lecture, Italian Association of Hydraulics, University of Florence, Italy (2012)
  • Wesley Horner Award, best paper in Journal of Environmental Engineering, EWRI/ASCE (2012)
  • Borland Distinguished Lecture in Hydraulics, AGE-Hydrology Days, Colorado State University (2009)
  • Elected Corresponding Member in the USA of the National Academy of Engineering of Argentina (2005)
  • 2006 Hans Albert Einstein Award, ASCE/EWRI/COPRI
  • Listed in Who’s Who in the World (2003)
  • Honorary Professorship, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina (2001)
  • 12th Arthur Thomas Ippen Award, International Association for Hydraulic Engineering and Research, International Association of Hydro-Environmental Engineering, IAHR (2001)
  • Inaugural Chester and Helen Siess Endowed Professorship in Civil Engineering, UIUC (2001-2014)
  • Invited Professorship, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Spain (2000)
  • Karl Emil Hilgard Hydraulic Prize, ASCE, 1999 (best paper in Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, ASCE)
  • Walter Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, ASCE (1998)
  • Karl Emil Hilgard Hydraulic Prize, ASCE, 1996 (best paper in Journal of Hydraulic Engineering) (1996)
  • Listed in American Men and Women of Science (1994)


  • Research on Transport and Fate of Asian Carp Eggs showcased in Discovery Channel of Canada (2014)
  • International Scientific Committee Member, Firenze 2016: Progetto Firenze, l'alluvione (2013-2016)
  • Expert Panel Member, Mississippi River Delta Hydrodynamic and Sediment Transport Model, Batelle & US Army Corps of Engineers (2013-2017)
  • Chair External Review Panel, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Geological Engineering, University of Notre Dame (2013)
  • Invited Speaker, Hydraulics in the Time of Cholera,Chicago Ideas Week, Chicago, Illinois (2012)
  • Expert Panel Member, Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Flood Risk Management Feasibility Study, North Dakota and Minnesota, Batelle & US Army Corps of Engineers. (2009-2011)
  • Co-Team Leader, Sedimentation Studies, St Clair River Study, International Great Lakes Commission. (2007-2009)
  • Member, National Research Council Panel on “River Science at the US Geological Survey.” (2005-2007)
  • Member, Peer Review Panel on “Modeling Study of Contaminated Sediments in the Housatonic River,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and General Electric. (200-2007)
  • Provided assistance to the Government of Paraguay on flood management through the U.S. Office of International Development (USAID) (1998)


  • Ph.D. Civil Engineering University of Minnesota 1989
  • M.Sc. Civil Engineering University of Minnesota 1985
  • Ing. Dipl. Water Resources Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina 1982

Office Address

3122 Digital Computer Lab MC 250
1304 W. Springfield
Urbana Illinois 61801

Office Phone

(217) 244-4484


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