Professor Parra’s main research interests include the behavior and design of reinforced concrete, fiber reinforced concrete, and hybrid steel-concrete structures. In the past few years, Prof. Parra’s research has focused on structural applications of fiber reinforced concrete, with particular emphasis on earthquake-resistant construction as a means to simplify reinforcement detailing and increase deformation capacity. Applications investigated include structural walls, coupling beams, and beam-column and slab-column connections. Prof. Parra has also conducted research on shear behavior of reinforced concrete and fiber reinforced concrete members, as well as on bond between fiber reinforced concrete and either prestressing strands or reinforcing bars. Prof. Parra also led the effort that resulted in the incorporation, for the first time, of fiber reinforcement as minimum shear reinforcement in the 2008 ACI Building Code.
Professor Parra has received several professional awards, including the Charles S. Whitney Medal, the Wason Medal for Most Meritorious Paper and the Chester Paul Siess Award for Excellence in Structural Research from the American Concrete Institute (ACI); the Walter L. Huber Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); the Shah Family Innovation Prize from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI); and the ACI Young Member Award for Professional Achievement. Professor Parra is also a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute.
Professor Parra is member of several committees of the American Concrete Institute (ACI), including the ACI Building Code Committee 318 and ACI-ASCE Committee 352 on Joints in Monolithic Reinforced Concrete Structures. He is also Chair of the ACI Building Code Sub-Committee 318-J (Joints and Connections). In addition, he is past Chair of ACI Committee 335 on Composite and Hybrid Structures. Prof. Parra is also member of fib Task Group 8.3 on Fibre Reinforced Concrete.