Kil-Wan Ko

Postdoctoral Researcher

Kil-Wan Ko is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Southern California and concurrently a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. He completed his M.S. (2017) and Ph.D. (2020) programs at KAIST. He has always been productive and self-motivated, and these traits have allowed him to succeed in any challenging environment through positive thinking and creative solutions. The nineteen journal papers that he has published since 2018 demonstrate this attitude. In recognition of his research, he was awarded the Bright Spark Lecture Award for outstanding and promising young geotechnical researchers under 36 from the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) in September 2022.


His interests, excellent skills, and experience in areas of geotechnical earthquake engineering and soil dynamics were mainly shaped by his Ph.D. and postdoc research experiences. His research primarily focuses on dynamic soil-foundation-structure interaction (SFSI), rocking shallow foundations, and soil liquefaction. His multidisciplinary experiences cover a broad array of fields and geotechnical skill sets, including geotechnical earthquake engineering, foundation engineering, and structural dynamics using experimental (geo-centrifuge), numerical, and analytical modeling. Based on the insights gleaned from his Ph.D. and postdoc research, he aspires to further assess hazards and risks faced by urban areas against earthquakes; specifically, (1) structure-soil-structure interaction and (2) soil liquefaction as well as its impact on the seismic responses of structures.


His current research topic with Dr. Nweke is focused on energy-based soil liquefaction.


(1) Energy-Based and Strain-Based Methods for Estimation of Pore Water Pressure within Liquefied Soil Layers

(2) Energy-Based Liquefaction Evaluation: A Case Study at the Port of Kushiro, Hokkaido, 2003 Tokachi-Oki Earthquake

(3) Estimation of Timing of Liquefaction using Spectral Energy Ratio


The final goal of these topics is to develop triggering curves with energy-relevant intensity measures such as CAV, Arias intensity.



Ph.D., (2020) KAIST

M.S., (2017) KAIST

B.S., (2015) KAIST