Lydia Bourouiba

Core Faculty
Phone: (617) 324-7745
Lab Phone: (617) 324-7745
MIT address: 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139
Administrative Assistant: Ana Paula Nascimento
assistant phone: (617) 324-7780
assistant email:

Lydia Bourouiba

Core Faculty


  • Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and the Institute for Medical Engineering & Science (IMES) at MIT


Lydia Bourouiba is a physical applied mathematician concentrating on geophysical problems of hydrodynamic turbulence and on the mathematical modeling of population dynamics and disease transmission. She joined the Department of Mathematics at MIT in January 2010 as an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer. She previously worked at the Centre for Disease Modelling in Toronto, Canada on the modeling of influenza. Dr. Bourouiba completed her doctorate from McGill University studying rotating homogeneous turbulence theoretically and numerically. She is now an Assistant Professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT where she continues to focus on problems at the interface of fluid dynamics and disease transmission with the aim of elucidating the fundamental physical mechanisms shaping the epidemiology and disease transmission dynamics in human, animal and plant populations.

Prof. Lydia Bourouiba is Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she founded and directs the Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory. Her research specializes in developing and joining advanced fluid dynamics experiments, biophysics, and applied mathematics to elucidate the fundamental multi-scale dynamics of fluid fragmentation, with particular interest in the resulting mixing,  transport, and persistence of particles and organisms relevant for contamination and health, where drops, multi-phase, and complex flows are at the core. More on her recent work can be found at


  • PhD, McGill University

selected awards/societies

  • Ole Madsen Mentoring Award in recognition of conspicuous contributions to inspiring, mentoring, and educating students
  • Smith Family Foundation Odyssey Award for creative and innovative junior investigators working on high impact ideas to generate breakthroughs and drive new directions in biomedical research.
  • Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Professorship Chair
  • Tse Cheuk Ng Tai’s Prize for Innovative Research in Health Sciences
  • Sigma Xi


The Bourouiba Research Group uses a combination of theoretical  (applied mathematics, including differential equations, linear algebra, nonlinear dynamics, waves and stability) and experimental approaches (flow visualization, high speed imaging techniques, microscopy, image processing) to elucidate the fundamental physical mechanisms of transmission of nosocomial diseases, respiratory diseases, waterborne diseases, and foliar diseases where fluids are ubiquitous and to design and formulate new control strategies.

Pathogen-Fluid Interaction

  • Interfacial flows: pathogen-fluid interactions in bubbles, drops and films
  • Fluid fragmentation and droplet formation leading to air contamination
  • Turbulence and multiphase flows
  • Mixing, transport, and pathogen deposition and contamination
  • Hydrodynamic instabilities and waves
  • Viscoelastic and biological fluids

Health, Disease Transmission

  • Contact dynamics and pathogen transport
  • Nosocomial diseases, respiratory diseases, waterborne diseases, and foliar diseases
  • Disease transmission and contamination in indoor environments, including hospitals.

selected publications

The list of Dr. Bourouiba’s publications can be found on her website.