Dr Ana Heitor

Dr Ana Heitor


Before joining the University of Leeds, Ana worked as a Senior Lecturer in the University of Wollongong (Australia), and previously in industry for a brief time for companies engaging in consultancy work and infrastruture construction, where she gained some experience in the design of earth dams and delivery of road construction projects.  

She is an early career researcher focused on the research of geotechnical engineering topics, with particular emphasis on the study of the stress strain behaviour of unsaturated compacted materials in the context of tranport infrastuture applications (e.g. roads, rail, ports and airports). 

Her research achivements have been recognised by a number of awards, including the Australian Geomechanics NSW Research Award and more recently University of Wollongong Women of Impact, IACMAG John Carter Award for young professionals and Churchill Fellowship. 

Academic service:

  • Associate Editor: Geomechanics and Geoengineering, Taylor and Francis (2020 – current)
  • Associate Editor: Ground Improvement, ICE (2022 – current)
  • Editor Board: Environmental Geotechnics, Institution of Civil Engineers, UK (2018 – 2020)
  • Editor Board: Soils and Foundations, Elsevier ( 2018-2020) 

Expert Pannel commitee membership:

  • PhD thesis examiner of Miss Parisa Rahimzadeh Oskooei (2021) of Swinburne University on the thesis titled: Multi-scale investigation of the performance of demolition wastes using numerical analysis and experimental methods.
  • PhD thesis examiner of Mr Huu Liem Hu (2016) of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) on the thesis titled: Analytical Solutions for Consolidation of Unsaturated Soils Subjected to Various Initial and Loading conditions.
  • Expert examiner in the PhD transfer panel at University of Leeds: Miss Hang Wu (2020), Mr Jiangwei Zhang (2020), Miss Maria Taccari (2021)


Research interests

I can divide my research into four distinct topics all contributing to the overarching theme of compacted materials behaviour:

  1.  Impact of climate change in geostrutures with particular reference to transport infrastructure This includes the study of the role of compaction state in the transport substruture materials behaviour and associated performance post-compaction drying and wetting cycles
  2.  Soil stabilization applied to transport infrastructure for enhancing performance/resiliency against climate change. This includes the use of waste materials such as lignosulfunate,  fly ash and calcium carbonate but also use of bio-mediation as low carbon alternatives to more established binders (e.g. lime and cement) and the use of alkali activated binders.
  3. Behaviour of compacted  waste materials to be used as synthetic fill materials. This includes but not limited to waste materials such as steel slag, coalwash, rubber, fly ash and waste incineration ash. 
  4. Geoenviromental applications This includes strategies for management of soil acidicity in lowland peats (e.g permeable reactive barriers) and opportunities for carbon sequestration in soils 
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • LicEng (MEng equivalent) from the New University of Lisbon (Portugal)
  • MSc in Geotechnical Engineering from Kyoto University (Japan)
  • PhD in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Wollongong (Australia)
  • FHEA, Higher Education Academy

Professional memberships

  • MIEAust (Australia)
  • Engineers Australia (Australia)
  • Australian Geomechanics Society
  • Ordem dos Engenheiros (Portugal)

Student education

I presently teach Modules on the Post-graduate taught program in Geotechnical Engineering: 

CIVE 5160M – Geotechnical Investigation and Characterisation (Module Leader)

CIVE 5162M – Constituitive Models and Numerical Analysis

CIVE 5164M – Transport Infrastructure Strategy (Module Leader)

CIVE 5000M – MSc Disseration (Module Leader)

CIVE2470  – Water Engineering and Geotechnics (2021-2022)

Research groups and institutes

  • Water, Public Health and Environmental Engineering
  • Cities, Infrastructure and Energy

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>