Judy Q. Yang

Judy Q. Yang

Judy Q. Yang

Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering


Civil Engineering Building
Room 160
500 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455


Environmental Transport Lab (yang.cege.umn.edu)


  • Ph.D., 2018, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • M.S., 2015, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • B.S., 2013, Mechanical Engineering, Zhejiang University, China

Professional Background

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2018-2020, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University

Research Interests

Environmental Transport Lab

I am broadly interested in the transport of fluids, particles, bacteria, and chemicals in the environment. My current research is focused on designing multi-scale interdisciplinary experiments to mimic complex interactions in nature and developing physically-based models to predict natural processes. Here is a list of current projects:

  • Sediment transport and coastal landscape evolution: simulate a natural wetland in the lab and predict future landscape evolution/ coastal erosion.
  • Impacts of biofilm on sediment transport: predict how bacteria biofilm, which is ubiquitous in nature, affects sediment transport.
  • Soil-on-a-chip: using microfluidics to mimic the interactions between soils, organic matter, and bacteria, which will help predicting global carbon cycle.

There are several openings for graduate students and postdocs. Interested candidates are welcome to contact Dr. Yang directly via email: judyyang@umn.edu.

Teaching Subjects
Fluid Mechanics, CEGE 3502
Review of Introductory Fluid Mechanics, CEGE 4522
Analysis and Modeling of Aquatic Environments, CEGE 8561

Honors and Awards

  • Caltech Young Investigator Lecturer in Engineering and Applied Science, 2018
  • MIT Trond Kaalstad Fellowship (leadership award), 2017
  • MIT Graduate Woman of Excellence, 2017
  • MIT Graduate School Leadership Institute Fellowship, 2017
  • Martin Sustainable Fellowship, 2016
  • MIT Presidential Fellowship (2%), 2013
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Summer Student Fellowship, 2012
  • 1st Prize, 5th National Undergraduate Mechanical Innovational Design Competition, 2012
  • National Scholarship (1/87), 2011

Selected Publications

J. Q. Yang, J. Sanfilippo, N. Abbasi, Z. Gitai, B. Bassler, and H. Stone, “ Evidence for biosurfactant induced flow in corners and bacterial spreading in unsaturated porous media.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118, e2111060118. (2021)

J. Q. Yang, X. Zhang, I. C. Bourg, and H. A. Stone, “4D imaging reveals mechanisms of clay carbon protection and release." Nature Communications, 12, 622. (2021)

J. Yang and H. Nepf, “Impact of vegetation on bed load transport rate and bedform characteristics,” Water Resources Research 55, 6109-6124 (2019).

J. Yang and H. Nepf, “A turbulence–based bed–load transport model for bare and vegetated channels,” Geophysical Research Letters 45, 10,428–10, 436 (2018).
*AGU EOS Research Spotlight: New Study Shifts Paradigm of Coastal Sediment Modeling.

J. Yang, H. Chung, and H. Nepf, “The onset of sediment transport in vegetated channels predicted by turbulent kinetic energy,” Geophysical Research Letters 43,  11,261–11, 268 (2016).

J. Yang, F. Kerger, and H. Nepf, “Estimation of the bed shear stress in vegetated and bare channels,” Water Resources Research 51, 3647–3663 (2015).
*MIT News and Phys.org highlights: Predicting sediment flow in coastal vegetation