Project Description

Lydia Bourouiba

Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Assistant Professor

Research Interests: fluid dynamics, pathogen-fluid interactions, contact and disease transmission, mathematical epidemiology


Room 1-363B
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

Telephone: 617.324.7745
Assistant: Phone: 617.715.2698 /
Research Website:


Ph.D. 2008, Theoretical and numerical study of homogeneous rotating turbulence, McGill University

Research Interests

Physical applied mathematician focusing 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.

With a doctoral research focused on the theoretical and numerical study of rotating homogeneous turbulence and a subsequent postdoctoral research focused on the mathematical modeling of infectious diseases and epidemiology, the focus of the Bourouiba Group is to elucidate the poorly understood fluid dynamics of disease transmission. Key topics include the following.

Pathogen-Fluid Interaction:

  • Interfacial flows: pathogen-fluid interactions in bubbles, drops and films
  • Fluid fragmentation and viscoelasticity
  • Turbulence and multiphase flows
  • Mixing, transport, and pathogen deposition and contamination
  • Hydrodynamic instabilities and waves

Health, Disease Transmission:

  • Contact dynamics  and pathogen transport
  • Nosocomial diseases, respiratory diseases, waterborne diseases, and foliar diseases
  • Disease transmission and contamination in confined environments

Teaching Interests


  • Fluid mechanics, turbulence, interfacial flows, multiphase flows
  • Mathematical epidemiology and biology


  • Mathematical modeling, differential equations, linear algebra, methods in applied mathematics, nonlinear dynamics, waves and stability
  • Flow visualization, high speed imaging techniques, image processing

Subjects taught:

  • Multivariable calculus (18.02 at MIT)
  • Differential equations (18.03 at MIT)
  • Nonlinear dynamics II: continuum systems (18.354J-12.207J at MIT)
  • Linear Algebra (equivalent of 18.06 at MIT)
  • Undergraduate seminars in physical applied mathematics (guest lecturer,  18.384 at MIT)
  • Nonlinear dynamics I (guest lecturer, 18.353J-2.050J-12.006J at MIT)