Lopez-Anido named 2023 Distinguished Maine Professor

An internationally recognized University of Maine civil engineering researcher known for his excellence in teaching and innovation in the use of composite materials for infrastructure applications has been named the 2023 Distinguished Maine Professor, the Alumni Association’s most prestigious faculty award.

Roberto Lopez-Anido, the Malcolm G. Long ’32 Professor of Civil Engineering, will be honored at an Alumni Achievement Awards and Recognition Ceremony on Friday, April 28 at Wells Conference Center.

The annual Distinguished Maine Professor Award honors a UMaine professor who exemplifies the highest qualities of teaching, research and public service. It is sponsored by the UMaine classes of 1942 and 2002, and administered by the University of Maine Alumni Association.

Lopez-Anido, a member of the UMaine community since 1998, has helped prepare and mentor a generation of Maine structural engineers while producing an impressive portfolio of scholarship and service. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on subjects ranging from basic structural mechanics to advanced composite materials modeling and design. Undergraduate students have three times voted him Professor of the Year in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He also teaches a sequence of graduate courses in composite materials that supports the research of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC).

As a structural engineer, Lopez-Anido has a nearly 30-year career in design, mechanics modeling, material testing and durability assessment of fiber-reinforced polymer composites for construction. He is a research leader in manufacturing thermoplastic composites, and in modeling, design and testing large-scale 3D-printed structures — work that has led to millions of dollars in external research funding, including a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, seven patents, and nearly 200 journal articles and conference publications.

His current research focuses on automated manufacturing for structural thermoplastics; design of large-scale extrusion-based additive manufacturing applications; use of renewable and recyclable materials in construction; experimental methods for characterizing composites; durability of fiber-reinforced polymer composites for infrastructure; and structural health monitoring systems. His work has been cited more than 3,100 times in the literature.

As a faculty lead and member of the ASCC management team, Lopez-Anido has contributed to the research and development of advanced composite materials in civil infrastructure, energy, marine and defense applications. That includes participation in research that led to such internationally recognized innovations as Bridge-in-a-Backpack, and spinoff companies such as Advanced Infrastructure Technologies, Inc.

He serves on the management team of the Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center, leading the research on new materials for longevity and use in construction. In addition, Lopez-Anido is lead faculty in the Alfond Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory for Structural Thermoplastics, focused on digital, additive and robotics manufacturing.

Internationally, he has served on science and technology delegations to Chile and Puerto Rico. In 2006, he received the prestigious Fulbright Scholar award as visiting professor at the University of Chile. 

In Maine, he collaborates with state agencies, including the Maine Department of Transportation. On campus, Lopez-Anido’s service includes membership on the University Research Council, and both the Graduate School Board and Executive Committee. Furthermore, he has been active in the community, including K–12 educational outreach.

Lopez-Anido received the College of Engineering’s 2012 Ashley S. Campbell Award and, through his career, he has beena four-time recipient of the ASCC Director’s Award for Outstanding Faculty Member.

Most recently, Lopez-Anido’s research team received the Best Paper Award for large-scale 3D printing for highway culvert rehabilitation by the Society of Plastics Engineers.