Amanda L. Cox, Ph.D., P.E.

Hydraulic Engineering Research

Welcome to my website! I am an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at Saint Louis University and I am working on several exciting research projects. I have always loved water and the subject of fluid mechanics is fascinating and challenging. As an engineer, I get to help solve important problems related to water resources.

I'm also the Director of Saint Louis University's new Water Access, Technology, Environment, and Resources (WATER) Institute. Check out all the exciting WATER Institute activities at

Research Interests

  • Surface-water hydraulics

  • Sediment transport

  • Hydraulic structures

  • River engineering and stream restoration

  • Urban drainage

  • Stormwater erosion

Current Research Efforts

  • Future River Analysis and Management Evaluation Tool (FRAME) (Co-PI): next-generation modeling tool to forecast long-term changes in channel morphology. Collaborative project with the US Army Corps of Engineers, University of Portsmouth, University of Nottingham, and Mendrop Engineering.

  • NSF RIMORPHIS Collaborative Project (Co-PI): user-friendly, scalable, data and information system for river morphology research ( Collaborative project with Purdue University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Colorado.

  • RSI Collaborative Project (PI): application of machine learning methods to detect data anomalies and estimate sediment yield using the US Army Corps of Engineers' Reservoir Sedimentation Information (RSI) Database. Collaborative project with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the University of Iowa.

  • MoDOT Bridge Scour Study (PI): 1-D and 2-D hydro-dynamic modeling to evaluating scour at select bridge sites for the Missouri Department of Transportation.

  • Sediment and Nutrient Interactions (Co-PI): evaluating how river sediments sequester and transport nutrient pollution. A pilot study on river nutrient and sediment dynamics to support collaborative research.


I use numerical modeling, machine learning, geospatial analysis, remote sensing, and field data for my research. I am constantly learning new technologies to advance my research efforts. Within the past five years, I started using Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) to study sediment transport for laboratory flows, and using remote sensing to estimate suspended sediment concentrations in rivers.

Summary of Research Experience

Dr. Cox has been conducting hydraulic engineering research for more than twenty years and has completed over 75 research projects. Her recent and ongoing research activities focus on addressing water resources analysis and engineering using cutting edge technologies such as machine learning, image processing, innovative remote sensing applications, and next generation modeling of river morphological processes. She has multiple ongoing collaborative research projects focused on leveraging the potential of hydroinformatics, geospatial analysis, and cloud computing to inform water resources engineering and management decisions related to hydraulic and sediment transport processes.

Dr. Cox also has a breadth of experience conducting numerical hydraulic modeling studies using HEC-RAS (one-dimensional modeling software), SRH-2D (two-dimensional modeling software), and STAR-CCM+ and FLOW-3D, which are both three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software programs. She evaluated flow velocity fields around spur dikes and bendway weirs in a sinuous channel using FLOW-3D, quantified the distribution of Shields parameters along a section of the Mississippi River using STAR-CCM+, and is currently using HEC-RAS and SRH-2D to model flow and evaluate scour at five bridge locations in Missouri. In addition to using existing hydraulic and sediment transport modeling tools, Dr. Cox developed a computer application (PotaMod) that uses output from the Sediment Impact Analysis Methods (SIAM) program within HEC-RAS to enable one-dimensional mobile-bed hydraulic and sediment transport modeling over large timescales. She is also part of an ongoing collaborative research project focused on developing a software tool that can forecast long-term river morphological response with initial test applications along the lower Mississippi River.

Dr. Cox’s previous research activities include physical hydraulic modeling of river systems, channel rehabilitation structures, bridge pier scour, and outlet works. For her Ph.D. dissertation, she developed a factor of safety method for evaluating stability of articulated concrete block revetment systems in channelized and overtopping flow conditions. Her Master’s thesis evaluated hydraulics of in-stream rehabilitation structures (i.e., cross-vanes, w-weirs, and bendway weirs) including energy losses, scour, and structural stability in a mobile-bed channel. Additional river engineering studies of interest include two physical modeling studies that evaluated artificial substrate for White Sturgeon spawning habitat in the Kootenai River, a large-scale physical model study of sloped-rock weirs to evaluate rock sizing for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, and two physical model studies to evaluate sedimentation near a pump intake on the Sacramento River.

Lake Carlyle Sedimentation Assessment

Cross-vane structures in Canada

MoDOT Erosion Control Study

Confluence of the Mississippi and Yazoo River near Vicksburg Mississippi

Rock weir grade control structure site in rural Illinois