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Lydia Bourouiba

Contact Info


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

77 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139


  • 2008



Research Interests

Focusing on the interface of fluid dynamics and epidemiology, the Bourouiba Group aims to elucidate the fundamental physical mechanisms shaping the transmission dynamics of pathogens in human, animal, and plant populations where drops, bubbles, multiphase and complex flows are at the core.
Key topics of research in the Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory include:

Fluid Dynamics:

  • Interfacial flows: bubbles, drops and films
  • Fluid fragmentation and droplet formation
  • Turbulence and multiphase flows
  • Mixing, transport, and pathogen deposition and contamination
  • Hydrodynamic instabilities and waves
  • Viscoelastic and biological fluids 


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

We use 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.

Online Data

News Archive can be found here, and here.

Honors + Awards


  • 2023, G.K. Batchelor Lecturer at the University of Cambridge
  • 2023, Paul Gray Award for Public Service | For her impact on the field of public health, specifically her contributions in mitigating the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on society. 
  • 2022, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) Fellow: For groundbreaking contributions to our fundamental understanding of unsteady fluid fragmentation and its application to the spread of contagious diseases. 

  • 2021, American Physical Society (APS) Fellow: For fundamental work in quantitatively elucidating the mechanisms of droplet impact and fragmentation, and for pioneering a new field at the intersection of fluid dynamics and transmission of respiratory and foodborne pathogens, with clear and tangible contributions to public health.
  • 2019 Ole Madsen Mentoring Award, in recognition of conspicuous contributions to inspiring, mentoring, and educating students, MIT
  • 2018 Shimizu Professorship, Stanford University
  • 2018 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.
  • 2014 Tse Cheuk Ng Tai’s Prize for Innovative Research in Health Sciences
  • 2011 Sigma XI Full Membership award





  • American Physical Society
  • Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
  • American Mathematical Society
  • Society for Mathematical Biology
  • Sigma XI

Professional Service


MIT Service


  • 2015-2021 Founder and organizer of the MIT C.C. Mei Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS)
  • MIT Catalyst linQ Program, Faculty Advisor and Mentor: advising and mentoring of postdocs, graduate, and undergraduate researchers at various phases of project and translation development.


  • Fluids and diseases (2.250/1.063-1.631/HST.537)
  • Nonlinear dynamics and turbulence (1.068-1.686/18.358/2.033)
  • Evolution of an Epidemic (HST.434)
  • Multivariable calculus (18.02)
  • Differential equations (18.03) 
  • Nonlinear dynamics II: continuum systems (1.062/18.354/12.207)
  • Linear Algebra (equivalent of 18.06 at MIT)
  • Topics in Biophysics and Physical Biology (guest lecturer, 8.590/7.74/20.416)
  • Undergraduate seminars in physical applied mathematics (guest lecturer, 18.384)
  • Nonlinear dynamics I (guest lecturer, 18.353/2.050/12.006)
  • Engineering Solutions to Societal Challenges (guest lecturer, 1.008)

Online Courses:

MIT Open Course Ware Scholar VIDEO Lectures


More on other forums of teaching, outreach, and mentoring from K12 to the broader community - See HERE


Publications can be found here.

Video Gallery can be found here.

Image Gallery can be found here.


Bourouiba, L., Lee, S., and Heldt, T., (2020) Cerebrospinal fluid space draining catheters. US and International Patent Application PCT/US2020/060950.