Dr. Mohammad Al-Hamdan
Dr. Mohammad Al-HamdanDirector and Research Professor | Office: (662) 915-3783
Dr. Al-Hamdan joined the National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering (NCCHE) as Director and Research Professor in late 2020. Before that, he was a Principal Research Scientist with the Universities Space Research Association at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, where he worked for 16 years. Dr. Al-Hamdan has led and worked on several research projects funded by NASA, EPA, NIH, NSF, NOAA, DOD, USGS, USDA, USDHS, FEMA and/or USDOT with total grants of over $23 million, which resulted in numerous peer-reviewed journal, conference and technical report publications, and several national and international scientific achievement awards. Dr. Al-Hamdan’s research expertise includes remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) applications to water resources modeling; applying remote sensing and GIS and related spatial techniques to environmental modeling and assessment for water, air, coastal, ecological and public health applications; impacts of land cover land use and climate changes on water quantity and quality, public health and aquatic ecosystems sustainability; developing decision support tools for different water, coastal, ecological, air quality and public health applications to improve decision-making and environmental sustainability; water flow resistance characterization using spatial analysis of remotely sensed data and GIS; use of remote sensing in estimating soil moisture; as well as water resources planning and management. Dr. Al-Hamdan has led the development of spatial algorithms and the spatial linkage and integration of remotely-sensed environmental datasets into several national decision support systems, models and online data systems, such as the USGS SPARROW water quality system, NOAA Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas, and CDC WONDER and EPHT environmental health systems. Dr. Al-Hamdan holds Ph.D. and M.S. Degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Dr. Yavuz Ozeren
Dr. Yavuz OzerenResearch Assistant Professor | Office: (662) 915-8781
Dr. Yavuz Ozeren is currently a Research Assistant Professor at the National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering (NCCHE) of the University of Mississippi where he has been affiliated since 2008. Dr. Ozeren received his Ph.D. (2009) in Civil Engineering from the University of Mississippi and, M.S. (2002) and B.S. (1999) in Civil Engineering from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. His research interests lie in fluvial hydraulics, environmental fluid mechanics and coastal engineering, and his experience includes field, laboratory and numerical model studies. He has been collaborating with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS) National Sedimentation Laboratory in several research projects involving laboratory and field experiments since 2004. He has designed two fully-automated laboratory wave flumes and carried out a large number of laboratory experiments. He also organized several field trips for collecting, samples, data and conducting full-scale experiments. He also designed a multipurpose experimental facility for dam-break flow and developed tools for data acquisition and software for data analysis.

Dr. Ozeren has numerous publications on journals and conferences. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), International Association of Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR), and AGU (American Geophysical Union) and serves as an officer for the ASCE Hydraulic Measurements Committee.

Emeritus Faculty

Dr. Sam S. Y. Wang
Dr. Sam S. Y. WangF.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor, Emeritus Director and Founder of NCCHE
Dr. Sam S. Y. Wang, the founding director of NCCHE, earned his Ph.D. in Computational Hydrodynamics (1967) and M.S. in Fluid Mechanics (1965) from the University of Rochester, NY. He received his B.S. (1959) in Mechanical Engineering, from National Cheng Kung University,Taiwan. Dr. Wang is one of the first four Frederick A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professors – the highest honorary position of The University of Mississippi. He was renominated and reselected for a second term in 1993, and was awarded this title for life by the University of Mississippi in 1998. Dr. Wang has been with Ole Miss for 43 years, since 1967, when he was employed as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering right after the completion of his Ph.D. degree. Dr. Wang’s contribution in computational modeling of hydroscience and engineering systems has been recognized internationally, which led to the establishment of the NCCHE with financial support from the U.S. Congress and several federal agencies . His publications include nine books, two invited chapters, more than 200 journal articles, proceeding papers, and conference presentations. He has been invited to deliver opening and keynote addresses, special lectures, short courses and workshops at numerous international conferences as well as leading research institutes in more than 30 countries on 6 continents. Most of these were supported by the UNDP, private foundations and foreign governments. Dr. Wang retired in June 2010, after 43 years of service to the University of Mississippi. He holds the title of F.A.P Barnard Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Director Emeritus, officially.

Dr. Mustafa Altinakar
Dr. Mustafa AltinakarEmeritus Director of NCCHE
Dr. Mustafa S. Altinakar served as the Director and Research Professor at the National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering (NCCHE) of the University of Mississippi from 2002-2019. Dr. Altinakar obtained his Ph.D in Hydraulics at the Laboratoire de Recherches Hydrauliques (LRH), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland in 1988, and his M.S (1980) and B.S. (1978) degrees in Civil Engineering from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. Before joining the NCCHE in December 2002, he was the Acting Director of LRH, EPFL, Switzerland (2001-2002). From 1997 to 2001, he was the Head of the Fluvial Hydraulics Section of LRH-EPFL. During the period 1989-1997, Dr. Altinakar worked as a Senior Design Engineer and Project Manager for a large Swiss Consulting Company, Bonnard and Gardel Consulting Engineers Ltd and took part in various large-scale engineering projects in Europe and Africa. In this period, he continued to work as a part time Research Associate at LRH-EPFL and taught courses. His fields of specialization and research interests include fluvial hydraulics and its environmental aspects, sediment transport and local scour, flood simulation and management, diffusion and dispersion in waterways, transport and fate of contaminants, stratified flows, computational fluid dynamics, integrated watershed management, optimization and decision support systems, and design of hydraulic structures. His publications include 2 books, more than 70 journal and conference papers, several articles for online encyclopedias. He has been invited to deliver keynote lectures, short courses at various universities and leading research institutes around the world. He is a member of the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers), IAHR (International Association of Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research), AGU (American Geophysical Union), ASFPM (Association of State Flood Plain Managers) and ASDSO (Association of State Dam Safety Officials). He serves as the Chair of the Standing Committee on Global Water Issues of the International Flood Initiative (IFI) of UNESCO/IAHR, Vice Chair of the IAHR Task Committee on Fluvial Hydraulics, member of the Fluids Committee of the ASCE. He was the PI for two projects for developing 2D flood simulation models and GIS-based decision support systems for flood mitigation, management. The numerical models developed in these projects are currently being used by various federal and state agencies.
Dr. Yafei Jia
Dr. Yafei JiaResearch Professor and Assistant Director of Basic Research
Dr. Yafei Jia received his B.S and M.S. in Physical Geography at Beijing University in 1982, and the Institute of Geography, Chinese Academy of Science in 1985. He received his Ph.D. in the Department of Geography, University of Manchester, UK, in 1990. He was the first to propose the “minimum Froude number theory” to interpret the stream channel adjustment process.

Dr. Jia joined the National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering, the University of Mississippi, in 1990 as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate. He was promoted to Research Assistant Professor (1994), Associate Professor (2000) and Professor in 2006. In the past twenty years at NCCHE, he has been the major developer of the two and three dimensional computational models: CCHE2D and CCHE3D. These two free surface turbulent flow models have been developed, verified, validated, and refined using many sets of analytical solution, physical model data and widely applied to research and engineering projects. With these models, detailed 3D turbulent flow structures and general flow patterns in channels, lakes, reservoirs, estuaries and around hydraulic structures can be modeled successfully. In addition to free surface flow hydrodynamics, capabilities such as sediment transport, bank erosion, water quality and pollutant transport, etc., are developed in these models. To enhance the efficiency of applications, these capabilities are integrated and operated with a user friendly Graphic User Interface. Dr. Jia has published over 100 technical papers in the areas of computational model development, verification, validation and applications, as well as numerous technical reports of engineering projects. Recently, his research group has extended the capabilities of numerical models to simulate flood associated phenomena, including dam break flows, dam break/levee breaching processes, pollutant transport due to floods, etc. A levee closure simulator has been developed to simulate an engineering practice in an attempt to close a breached levee with sandbags and/or rocks. Dr. Jia retired from NCCHE in June of 2021.

Research Scientists

Dr. Xiaobo Chao
Dr. Xiaobo ChaoSenior Research Scientist | Office: (662) 915-8964
Dr. Xiaobo Chao obtained his Ph.D, M.S. and B.S. from Sichuan University, Hohai University and Chongqing Jiao Tong University in 1995, 1992 and 1989, respectively. After receiving his Ph.D., he worked at the State Key Laboratory of Coastal & Offshore Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, as a postdoctoral fellow for two years. Subsequently, he joined the National University of Singapore as a NSTB Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Fellow. He joined NCCHE in Aug. 2001, and he is currently a Senior Research Scientist at NCCHE. Dr. Chao’s research interests are focused on the field of Environmental Hydraulics and Computational Hydraulics, with special emphasis on modeling of hydrodynamics, water quality, chemical and oil spills, sediment transport and environmental risk analysis for lakes, rivers, and coastal waters. He has developed several numerical models, such as the CCHE3D water quality module, pollutant transport module, 3D multi-level turbulence tidal model, oil spill model, etc. As a PI, Co-PI and Co-I, he has participated in various research projects sponsored by NSF, USGS, DHS, ARS, and other federal and local agencies. He has published over 80 journal and conference papers. He is a member of ASCE, IAHR, ASCE EWRI Eco-hydraulic Engineering Committee, and a reviewer for various international journals including Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Journal of Environmental Engineering, Journal of Hydraulic Research, Advances in Water Resources, Ecological Modeling, Journal of Environmental Management, etc.
Dr. Yaoxin Zhang
Dr. Yaoxin ZhangSenior Research Scientist | Office: (662) 915-8972
Dr. Yaoxin Zhang earned his Bachelor of Science in Harbors, Channel, and Coastal Engineering in 1997, Master of Science in Hydraulic and River Dynamics in 2000 from Wuhan University of Hydraulic and Electric Engineering, and Doctor of Philosophy in Computational Hydroscience in 2004 from the National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering (NCCHE) of The University of Mississppi. Currently he is working as a Research Scientist at NCCHE in the University of Mississippi. His study areas include mesh generation (Structured and Unstructured), Graphical Users Interface (GUI) development, hydrodynamic modeling, flow simulation, sediment transport, and parallel computing, etc. He has more than 70 publications including peer-reviewed journal papers, conference papers, book and book chapter, and technical reports. He has developed two software applications – CCHE-GUI and CCHE-MESH (2D Mesh Generator), which are two important modules of a leading state-of-art, two-dimensional numerical simulation system (CCHE2D Modeling system). These applications have been widely used by many people/institutes/agencies around the world, such as the USDA-ARS, US National Sedimentation Laboratory (NSL), US Army Corps of Engineering, Laboratoire de constructions hydrauliques of Switzerland, etc.

Research Associates


Visiting Research Associates


Post-Doctoral Research Associates

Dr. Nuttita Pophet
Dr. Nuttita PophetPost-Doctoral Research Associate
Nuttita Pophet is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at NCCHE. Her past research experiences involve the numerical modeling of tsunami wave propagation, wind-generated random sea, wave breaking in ocean deep water, and dam-break flow of grain-water mixtures. She is currently working on the integration of the Annualized Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollutant Model (AnnAGNPS) into the Web-Based Agricultural Integrated Management System (AIMS) for watershed management. The responsibilities include automating input data preparation, incorporating the AnnAGNPS model into the AIMS system, verifying and validating the AIMS-AnnAGNPS model, and preparing simulation results for AIMS users. Apart from this, she is working on the backend part of the Decision Support System for Water Infrastructural Security (DSS-WISE) system. Her research interests include hydraulic and hydrologic modeling, ocean and coastal engineering, parallel computing, machine learning, and big data.

Research Staff

Marcus McGrath
Marcus McGrathSenior Research and Development Engineer
Marcus earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Mississippi in 2007 and went on to earn his M.S. in Engineering Science with an emphasis in Computational Hydroscience at NCCHE in 2013. Throughout his time at NCCHE, he has worked on numerous projects in the field of dam and flood safety, resilience, hazard mitigation, and numerical flood model development. He is the primary developer of the simulation engine at the core of DSS-WISE (Decision Support System for Water Infrastructural Security), specializing in rapid numerical simulation of dam-break and flood inundation scenarios. He is also the technical administrator and one of the principal designers and developers of DSS-WISE Lite, a web-based, automated, GIS-compatible dam-break flood inundation mapping system supported by FEMA and DHS S&T. His research interests include numerical model development, parallel computing, complex system design and operation, automated data preparation, cloud computing, and web development.
Paul Smith
Paul Smith Coordinator of Computing Facility Operations
Mr. Paul Smith earned his B.Sc. in Computer Science at The University of Mississippi in 1998. He joined NCCHE in May 1999 as a Computing Facilities Specialist and was appointed to Coordinator of Computing Facility Operations in January 2001. His current research interests include parallel hardware systems (GPGPU), SMP and load-balancing systems, Linux networking and network penetration testing.

Throughout his time at NCCHE, Mr. Smith has also worked on various projects as DevOps engineer and systems programmer. These projects include the DSS-WISE (Decision Support System for Water Infrastructural Security) Web system, as well as the AIMS (Agricultural Integrated Management System) project.

Hazem Shatnawi
Hazem ShatnawiProgrammer and Ph.D. Student
Hazem Shatnawi is currently a Programmer and Ph.D. student majoring in Computer Science.

Administrative Staff

LaToya Harris
LaToya HarrisProject Coordinator | Office: (662) 915-7788
LaToya Harris earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration 2009 and her Master’s Degree in Business Management in 2012 from The University of Phoenix. She joined NCCHE in April of 2021. Prior to her employment with NCCHE, she worked a total of 15 years within the state of Mississippi through two state agencies: 12 years with The North MS Regional Center as an Accountant/Auditor and The University of Mississippi. While being employed with the University she has worked in the National Sea Grant Law School as Administrative Coordinator and worked in the Office of Procurement Services as a Procurement Assistant processing purchase orders.

Graduate Students

Luc Rébillout
Luc RébilloutResearch Assistant and Ph.D. Student
Luc Rébillout is currently a Ph.D. candidate at NCCHE. He completed the “Classes Préparatoires aux Grandes Écoles” in Bordeaux and completed a three-year engineering degree at ISAE-ENSMA in Mechanics and Aerotechnics engineering graduating in 2015. He joined NCCHE on December 2015, although he had a first experience there during the summer 2014 where he completed an internship.

His research interests concern the experimental and numerical study of granular-liquid dam-break flows.

Published Journal Paper as first author:

Rébillout, Luc, Yavuz Ozeren, and Mustafa Altinakar. “Dam-Break Flow Measurements of Liquid–Granular Mixtures in a Channelized Reservoir.” Journal of Hydraulic Engineering 146, no. 12 (2020): 04020080.

Jiayu Fang
Jiayu FangResearch Assistant and Ph.D. Student
Jiayu Fang is currently a Ph.D. student at NCCHE. He was born and brought up in China. He joined NCCHE in January 2016. Since then, he has been participating in a pilot project concerning the groundwater and surface water interactions in the Mississippi River alluvial plain. His main work is to incorporate the time-varying stream bed conductivity into the numerical groundwater model, which was traditionally regarded as steady-parameter but in reality changed with time, which is influenced by multiple processes such as erosion and deposition of fine sediments, biofilm growth and chemical precipitation.
Nazim Sahin
Nazim SahinGraduate Research Assistant, Ph.D. Student
Nazim Sahin is currently a Ph.D. student at NCCHE. He was born and did his undergraduate studies in Turkey. His motivation for pursuing research related to hydraulic and software modeling derives from learning about the challenges of projects during his research assistantship at NCCHE and teaching assistantship at the Hydromechanics Laboratory of Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara. He received his Master’s degree in Hydromechanics Laboratory at the same University in September of 2016. His areas of interest include hydraulics, flood modeling, dam breach analysis, hydro-systems and water resources engineering.

His research and teaching assistantship over 6 years helped him to become familiar with computational solvers and other software, as well as laboratory experimental equipment setup and operation. He has participated in many physical experiments on spillways, bottom outlets and stilling basins of dams to investigate the flow conditions and related problems that may occur. He also has professional experience with flood inundation analysis.

In 2014, he participated in a project that received Grand Prize from the United Nations Development Programme. For the past 4 years, he has been vice president and instructor in the Turkish Chamber of Civil Engineers (TCCE) Ankara Office Vocational Training Commission.

William Rossell
William RossellGraduate Research Assistant, M.S. Student
William Rossell graduated from the University of Mississippi in May 2018 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering (Emphasis in Geotechnical Engineering). He was certified as an Engineering Intern in August 2018. He is currently pursuing his M.S. in Engineering Sciences under the advisement of Dr. Yavuz Ozeren, Dr. Yafei Jia and Dr. Mustafa Altinakar. His research interests include dam-break flow, levee erosion and sediment transport.

Student Assistants


Summer Interns