Who we are

SERPA group has its origin in the innovative spirit of the Professor Alfonso Álvarez, a pioneer in the applied research on dam engineering. Following his path, Professor Miguel Á. Toledo has put together a group of researchers with a formation in different fields, mainly engineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists. Some of them have expertise in hydraulic engineering which allows the applied approach of the research goals can be reached.


Miguel Ángel Toledo

Professor Toledo has been teaching Dam Engineering at the Technical University of Madrid for more than 20 years, since 1991. Has been involved in plenty of designs and studies of dams and is the coordinator of the SERPA group. So, he is a rare mix of teacher, practitioner, and researcher. He has devoted and still does, much of his research activity to rockfill dam failure due to overtopping and how to avoid it. He is also interested in the application of machine learning techniques for analyzing data from dam monitoring.

Eduardo Salete

IMG_6988 - copia - editadaPh.D. in Civil Engineer and Bachelor of Science degree in pure mathematics. Was a professor in mathematical methods and nowadays is a professor of hydraulic infrastructures. Throughout his professional career has managed research projects and doctoral thesis and has been involved in many projects for dams and other important infrastructures. Today directs his professional activity on the mathematical modeling of structural and CFD problems.


Carlos Castro

IMG_6973 - copia - editadaFull professor in Applied Mathematics at the Technical University of Madrid. He obtained his PhD. in Applied Mathematics at the Complutense University. His research includes Control and numerical approximation of Partial Differential Equations, optimal design, homogenization, and inverse problems.



Rafael Morán

Rafael Morán, Ph.D. works as Lecturer of Hydraulic Engineering at the Technical University of Madrid (TUM) since 2009. His main teaching activities are courses of Dam Engineering and Hydraulic Infrastructures. Before taking his first academic job in the Department of Civil Engineering: Hydraulics, Energy, and Environment at TUM, he worked as a civil engineer for different consultant companies during 10 years performing technical studies, project designs, and technical project management in hydraulic engineering, most of them related to dam construction. His doctoral thesis deals with protections of rockfill dams against extreme through-flows using rockfill downstream berms. His current research lines are focused on dam safety, dam protections and analysis of monitoring data.

Francisco Javier Caballero

MSc Civil Engineer (specialty on Hydraulics and Energetics, the year 1999) and graduate in Environmental Sciences (the year 2002), both of the Technical University of Madrid (UPM). His professional career is developed in the Hydraulic Infrastructures area, working in engineering companies with special profusion in the small dams and irrigation pools engineering sector, and river flood zones studies. Furthermore, since 2010, in collaboration with the UPM and the International Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering (CIMNE), he strengthens the Research and Development (R+D) works on dams engineering of his company, focused on increasing the discharge capacity of both existing and new dams by means of non-conventional spillways. From May 2013 on, he is a member of the Dam Safety Research Group (SERPA) in the UPM, where, among other tasks, he is developing his Ph.D. on dams and agricultural impoundments protections against overtopping. He additionally practices the profession in the environmental engineering sector (dams and agricultural impoundments engineering, fluvial hydraulics area and incorporation of renewable energies into these sectors especially photovoltaic solar energy) and teaches Hydraulics and Hydrology and Water Planning and Management in the Civil Engineering School at the UPM.

Miguel Ángel Fernández

His professional activity was focused, almost entirely, in the field of hydraulic works. He started his career in the company PROMOCIÓN Y PROYECTOS, S.L. (PYPSA), subsequently absorbed by the ALATEC Group, where his work was carried out for 8 years in which he became head of the Department of Hydraulic Works. In 2007 a new stage began in IDOM INGENIERÍA Y CONSULTORÍA, SA as Head of Dams and Hydroelectric Power Plants at the global level of the firm and the Hydraulic Works in the Infrastructure Technical Area of the Madrid Office. This stage lasts another 8 years after which, he is hired by the North American firm SUNEDISON for the development of the hydroelectric generation product within the firm. After two years in this company, he changes the direction towards the research in Dams Safety. He is part of the Research Group in Dams and Spillways Safety (Seguridad de Presas y Aliviaderos – SERPA) of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) since January of 2017, being the director of the data analysis research line. In addition, since 2004 he combines professional activity with teaching as Associate Professor at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM).

Ricardo Alves

IMG_7045 - editadaRicardo Alves obtained in 2011 the master degree in Civil Engineering from the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the New University of Lisbon and performed the internship in the National Laboratory of Civil Engineering of Portugal (LNEC) to do the master dissertation in geotechnics. Since 2012 works with the Dam Safety Research Group (SERPA) as a researcher at the Technical University of Madrid where in 2016 joined the Ph.D. program. His doctoral thesis focuses on the failure of rockfill dams.


Cristian Ponce

IMG_7061 - editadaTechnical Engineer in Public Works specializing in Hydrology by the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) in 2007. Civil Engineer specializing in Hydraulic and Energetic by the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) in 2014. He started his professional activity in the Hydraulic Engineering field in 2006 in the Company ALATEC.In 2007, he worked in the Department of Water and Environment of the Company Clothos S.L. until 2009. He worked in Wastewater and Water Supply Master Plans for the Canal Isabel II. In 2009, he started as a research engineer in the Hydraulic Laboratory of the School of Civil Engineering in the UPM. Part of his activities included: Water Supply, Sewer line inter alia. In 2014, he joined the Dam Safety Research (SERPA). Since then, he has worked in different activities and participating in I+D projects within the research group. He is currently working in the Heat Generation of the Dam Concrete in the project ACOMBO.

Raffaella Pellegrino

IMG_6977 - copia - editadaCivil Engineer specialized in Hydraulic by the Technical University of Bari (Politecnico di Bari, Italy) in 2005. Since 2006 to 2016 her professional career is developed about prevention and management of the inundation in the Region Puglia (Italy). In 2012, with the beginning of the Ph.D. at the Technical University of Madrid, she started to work as a researcher. Her investigation issue is about the prediction of the scour hole parameters downstream of spillways using ski jump bucket type. Knowing a priori the erosion due to the sky jump lets control the same erosion, assuring dam safety. Currently, she works with the Dam Safety Research Group (SERPA) as a researcher in the projects CALA and DIABLO.

Javier Peraita

IMG_6986 - copia - editadaCivil Engineer by the Technical University of Madrid (TUM), specialty on Hydraulics and Energy, since 1987. His professional career has been developed for 30 years in the field of hydraulic works as a Project Engineer, starting at IBERINSA and continuing in EPYPSA until his entry into EUROESTUDIOS, consulting in which for 24 years acquires great experience in the Engineering Water and Environment Department. In 2016 is established as a free professional. His works include pipeline projects (water supplies, pumping, irrigation and hydroelectric projects), hydraulic studies of modeling and design of works in natural and artificial channels, and his participation in the development of works directly related to dams: hydrological studies, regulation and lamination, drainage organ calculations, safety reviews, auscultation reports, XYZT documents, operational standards, emergency plans and reduced physical models. Currently, since 2017, he is a member of the Dam Safety Research Group (SERPA), at the TUM, where he works as coordinator of the CALA project. He also supports the execution of the physical models that the SERPA group carries out in the TUM laboratory as well as in numerical modeling.

Eduardo Conde

Throughout his professional career, he has participated in all stages of the management of a hydraulic project/civil work, from the design phase, through hydraulic calculations and modeling to be responsible for the Technical Management in the company IBERHIDRA. He is a specialist in the field of hydrological planning, both in terms of Hydrological Plans and in relation to Special Drought Plans. Another of its areas of specialization is the safety of dams, having participated in the drafting of Emergency Plans and Dam operating rules of more than 30 dams and in about 100 reports of the review and analysis of security dams. Recently, he has advanced more in his training by entering the field of BIG DATA, knowing the vast majority of techniques and applications used in the treatment and analysis of large amounts of data, as for example programming languages for data processing such as Python or R, to data storage and query with Hadoop and its ecosystem tools (Hive, Pig, Sqoop, Impala, …) with special emphasis on Spark and Elasticsearch; going through another type of analysis tools such as SAS, non-relational database processing with MongoDB and Cassandra or visualization of data with Tableau, CartoDB, etc. At the beginning of 2017, he joined the Research Group on Dams and Spillways Safety (Seguridad de Presas y Aliviaderos – SERPA) of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), where he develops his activity in the line of projects of data analysis and creation of predictive models in the field of Hydraulics and energy.

Gloria Cachaza

Gloria Cachaza was formed as a secretary by the School of Administrative Training of the City of Madrid. Her professional activity began as an administrative secretary in the company EMART, of the commercial information sector, also dedicated to the edition of a weekly bulletin on economic information. Later, in April 2007, he joined the MGO Group, S.A., in the occupational risk prevention sector, as an administrative officer, editing and monitoring the preventive medical examinations of the workers of the Community of Madrid. Since September 2011 she has been an administrative secretary in the Research Group on Security of Dams and Spillways (SERPA) of the Civil Engineering School of the Technical University of Madrid (TUM).