Pietro Milillo
Dr. Pietro Milillo, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Office Location: UH NCALM, 5000 Gulf Freeway, Bldg. 4, Rm 216, Houston, TX 77204-5059
Phone: 713-743-7792 | Fax: 713-743-4260
Email: pmilillo [at] central.uh.edu


PhD in Environmental Engineering, University of Basilicata, Potenza (Italy), 2016
Master degree in Physics University of Bari, Bari (Italy), 2012
Bachelor degree in Physics University of Bari, Bari (Italy), 2010

Professional Experience: 

09/2021 – present: Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Houston
05/2020 – present: Guest Scientist: Microwaves and Radar institute, German Aerospace Center
04/2020 – 08/2021: Associate Project Scientist: Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine
03/2018 – 03/2020: Scientist, Radar Science & Engineering, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
03/2016 – 03/2018: NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology


Applied Geospatial Computations (CIVE 7397)

Previous Courses: 

2019 Graduate course entitled – “Fundamentals of Remote Sensing: Imaging Radar and Applications”. Visiting Professor University of Bath, United Kingdom.
2018 Graduate Course entitled: “Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) interferometry: processing, geophysical and engineering applications”. Visiting Professor University of Cagliari, Italy

Awards & Honors: 

2021 Italian Professorship Habilitation as Full Professor in Earth Science Physics (02/C1)
2020 Geophysical Research Letters: Top Downloaded paper
2020 Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth top 10% most cited articles published in 2020 in Geosciences.
2020 Remote Sensing Young Investigator Award
2019 ISSNAF Anna Maria Molteni young investigator award for Mathematics and Physics
2019 Science Advances: top 0.10% most cited articles published in 2019 in Geosciences.
2019 Remote Sensing: top 1% most cited articles published in 2019 in Geosciences.
2019 Structural Control and Health Monitoring: top 1% most cited, and top downloaded articles published in 2019
2019 Invited Talk: International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics Montreal, Canada
2019 Italian Professorship Habilitation as Associate Professor in Earth Science Physics (02/C1)
2019 Italian Professorship Habilitation as Full Professor in Geosciences (04/A4
2018 Italian Professorship Habilitation as Associate Professor in Geosciences (04/A4)
2018 Remote Sensing: top 1% most cited articles published in 2018 in Geosciences.
2017 Geophysical Research Letters: top 10% most cited articles published in 2017 in Geosciences.
2016 Scientific Reports: top 10% most cited articles published in 2016 in Geosciences.
2016 Geophysical Research Letters : top 10% most cited articles published in 2016 in Geosciences.
2016 NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Award.
2015 IGARSS Student Travel Grant: “COSMO - SkyMed very short repeat pass SAR interferometry over rural areas: the Val d'Agri and Potenza test cases in Basilicata, Italy “.
2015 Geophysical Journal International, top 10% most cited articles published in 2015 in Geosciences.
2015 Remote Sensing: top 10% most cited articles published in 2015 in Geosciences.
2015 Seismological Research Letters: top 10% most cited articles published in 2015 in Geosciences.
2014 NASA Group Achievement Award: Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA)Team.
2012 European Geosciences Union Outstanding Student Poster Award

Research Interests: 

My research focuses on the synergistic use of remote sensing data exploitation and innovative approaches for computational analyses in Earth and Cryosphere Science and Natural/Anthropogenic Hazard Response. I am particularly interested in analyzing how the new generation of remote sensing instruments are leading to a more effective, near real-time disaster monitoring, assessment and response. These instruments provide greater ability to constrain dynamically changing physical processes, improving our understanding of the Earth’s Environment. My multidisciplinary research, funded by NASA and international space agencies as the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) has been applied to Earth science, cryosphere and disaster response. I have published over thirty-two research articles in leading international journals in the field, and several of my research projects have been featured in the popular international press, television and radio, including the New York Times, Fox News, NBC News, PBS, The Guardian, The Independent (UK), Vice, Der Spiegel (Germany), La Repubblica (Italy), Il Sole 24 Ore (Italy), RAI (Italy).


  • 2017 – 2021   USA Coordinator of an international team of stakeholders (Italian and German Space Agencies) in a >€2 MM/year international satellite measurement campaign to deliver high-resolution coverage of Antarctica and Greenland.
  • 2020 – 2021   Member of the UC-Irvine Inclusive Excellence Committee promoting UCI collaborative efforts to make the Earth System Science (ESS) department an anti-racist, diverse, and inclusive department.
  • 2019– 2020    Member of the NASA Surface Deformation and Change committee in charge of defining an observing system that would meet the recommendations of the 2017 US National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Decadal Survey for developing an affordable synthetic aperture radar-based system.


Invited Presentations / Lectures: 

2019 - Invited Lecture entitled: “The Role of Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry in Science and Applications: From Cryosphere to Infrastructure Monitoring” at the Architecture and Civil Engineering Department of the University of Bath.

2018 - Distinguished Lecture in Remote Sensing entitled: “Heterogeneous retreat and ice melt of Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica”, Department of Earth System Science - University of California, Irvine.

2017 - Distinguished Lecture On the synergistic use of SAR constellations’ data exploitation for Earth Science, Cryosphere and infrastructure monitoring, the lecture has been held at the University of Texas, Austin – Center for Space Research.

2017 - Distinguished Lecture in Earth Sciences, Università di Napoli Federico II, DISTAR (Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell’Ambiente e delle Risorse), Naples, Italy.

2015 - Distinguished lecture in Earth Science entitled: "On the synergistic use of SAR constellations data exploitation for Earth Science", GFZ Potsdam - Germany, September 9, 2015


  • 2021    Ka band and broadband communications conference. Technical Committee of the Earth observation session
  • 2021    Chairman of the IGARSS 2021 invited session: 'GIS integration of remote sensing data for damage and risk assessment of the built environment' ~5k online participants
  • 2017    Chairman of the session Atmosphere/Ionosphere at Fringe, Helsinki ~ 1k participants.
  • 2017    Chairman of the IGARSS 2017 session SAR and InSAR methods, Austin, Texas, USA ~5k participants



  • 2018 – present   Review panel member for several NASA grants.
  • 2020                  Judge for the AGU Outstanding Student Poster competition
  • 2018 – 2020       Editorial Board Special Sessions MDPI Remote Sensing
  • 2018 – 2019       Review Board, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation)
  • 2016 – 2021       Reviewer for Nature Geosciences, Scientific Reports, Geophysical Research Letters, IEEE JSTARS/GRSL/TGRIS, Remote Sensing of the Environment, Cryosphere, Landslides, International Journal of Remote Sensing.

Selected Publications: 

Valentina Macchiarulo, Pietro Milillo, Matthew J. DeJong, Javier Gonzalez Martí, Jordi Sanchez, | Giorgia Giardina; Integrated InSAR monitoring and structural assessment of tunnelling-induced building deformations, Structural Control Health Monitoring, DOI: 10.1002/stc.2781, 2021; ISSP e2781, ISSN - 1545-2255; https://doi.org/10.1002/stc.2781, 22 May 2021

Pietro Milillo, Giorgia Giardina, Daniele Perissin, Giovanni Milillo, Alessandro Coletta, Carlo Terranova, Pre-collapse Space Geodetic Observations of Critical Infrastructures: the Morandi Bridge, Genoa, Italy, Remote Sens. 2019, 11(12), 1403; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11121403 (https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/11/12/1403),Published: 12 June 2019

P. Milillo, E. Rignot, P. Rizzoli, B. Scheuchl, J. Mouginot, J. Bueso-Bello and P. Prats-Iraola, Heterogeneous retreat and ice melt of Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica, Science Advances: Vol. 5, no. 1, eaau3433, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau3433, https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aau3433, ISSN:2375-2548, 30 Jan 2019

Giardina G, Milillo P, DeJong MJ, Perissin D, Milillo G. Evaluation of InSAR monitoring data for post‐tunnelling settlement damage assessment. Struct Control Health Monit. 2018;e2285.; 1545-2255 https://doi.org/10.1002/stc.2285; doi:10.1002/stc.2285; 07 December 2018

Milillo, Pietro & Rignot, E & Mouginot, Jeremie & Scheuchl, Bernd & Morlighem, Mathieu & Li, Xin & T. Salzer, Jacqueline. (2017). On the short-term grounding zone dynamics of Pine Island glacier, West Antarctica observed with COSMO-SkyMed interferometric data: PIG grounding line dynamics. Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1002/2017GL074320. August 31, 2017

Milillo P, Bürgmann R, Lundgren P, Salzer J, Perissin D, Fielding E, Biondi F, Milillo G; Space geodetic monitoring of engineered structures: e ongoing destabilization of the Mosul dam, Iraq; Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group), vol.6, 37408; doi: 10.1038/srep37408, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep37408, December 6, 2016.

Milillo, P., Perissin, D., Salzer, J. T., Lundgren, P., Lacava, G., Milillo, G., & Serio, C., Monitoring dam structural health from space: Insights from novel InSAR techniques and multi-parametric modeling applied to the Pertusillo dam Basilicata, Italy. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, Vol.52, Pag. 221-229. issn: 1569-8432 Doi: 10.1016/j.jag.2016.06.013, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jag.2016.06.013 , October 2016

Milillo, P., Riel, B.; Minchew, B.; Yun, S.-H.; Simons, M.; Lundgren, p., "On the Synergistic Use of SAR Constellations’ Data Exploitation for Earth Science and Natural Hazard Response," Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, IEEE Journal of , vol.PP, no.9 issue 3, pp.1095-1100, DOI: 10.1109/JSTARS.2015.2465166, August 26, 2015

Riel, B., Milillo, P., Simons, M., Lundgren, P., Kanamori, H., & Samsonov, S. (2015). The collapse of Bárdarbunga caldera, Iceland. Geophysical Journal International, 202 (1): 446-453. doi: 10.1093/gji/ggv157, July, 2015

Milillo, P., Fielding, E. J., Shulz, W. H., Delbridge, B., & Burgmann, R. (2014). COSMO-SkyMed spotlight interferometry over rural areas: The Slumgullion landslide in Colorado, USA. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, vol.7 issue:7), 2919-2926, DOI: 10.1109/JSTARS.2014.2345664, August 21, 2014

Please refer to my Google Scholar page for an updated list of publications.