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Birendra Jha

Associate Professor of Petroleum Engineering


  • 2014, Doctoral Degree, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 2010, Master's Degree, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 2005, Master's Degree, Petroleum Engineering, Stanford University


I am a geoscientist. I received MS in Petroleum Engineering from Stanford University and SM and PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT. Applications of my research are in the modeling of groundwater flows, contaminant transport, induced seismicity, subsidence, hydraulic fracturing, enhanced oil recovery, and reservoir characterization. Prior to a career in academia, I worked in the petroleum industry in the geomodeling, reservoir engineering, and well logging aspects of the subsurface energy business.

Research Summary

I am interested in coupled multi-physics processes of flow, transport, and mechanical deformation in porous media. I emphasize a mathematical and computational approach in studying geophysical systems to identify the dominant coupling mechanisms and expressing them in the form of reduced-order models that are computationally efficient and physically insightful.
My research group at USC, the GEM Lab, studies the physics and mathematics of geophysical fluid flows and rock deformation. We create theoretical and computational tools, including machine learning and artificial intelligence tools, to investigate these multi-physics processes and address engineering challenges related to energy and the environment. Our work is at the intersection of environmental engineering, geophysics, hydrogeology, and computational mechanics.


  • 2023 National Science Foundation, Hydrologic Sciences Program NSF CAREER
  • 2023 University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering Chevron Research Innovation Award
  • 2022 American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, New Direction
  • 2021 Society of Petroleum Engineers Regional Formation Evaluation Award
  • 2021 American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund Certificate of Recognition
  • 2020 Society of Petroleum Engineers Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty
  • 2020 Orange County Engineering Council Outstanding Educator Award
  • 2017 American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, Doctoral New Investigation
  • 2017 The Rose Hills Foundation Rose Hills Research Fellowship
  • 2014 Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT Best Doctoral Thesis Award
  • 2010 Hydrology American Geophysical Union Outstanding Student Paper Award, Fall Meeting
  • 2009 Hydrology American Geophysical Union Outstanding Student Paper Award, Fall Meeting
  • 2008 Occidental Petroleum Corporation Performance award for leading with an original development strategy
  • 2003 Schlumberger Top Contributor award for Knowledge-In-Action
  • 2002 Mining, Geological and Metallurgical Institute of India Oil India Medal
  • 2001 Indian Institute of Technology (ISM) Gold Medal in Petroleum Engineering, Srinivasan Gold Medal, and SBM Gold Medal in Offshore Drilling Design and Production
  • Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • HED 306
  • Hedco Pertroleum and Chemical Engineering Building
  • 925 Bloom Walk, Los Angeles, CA 90089
  • USC Mail Code: 1211
Contact Information
  • (213) 740-9578