The Team

The Zentrum am Berg is managed by the University of Leoben as an independent department and is under the direction of Prof. Dr. Robert Galler. Altogether, the Zentrum am Berg offers not only infrastructure but also an experienced team in the fields of geotechnics, tunnelling and training and continuing education in underground infrastructure.

Prof. Dr. Robert Galler

Head of Department

From 1997 to 2007 he worked with GEOCONSULT, an international consultant in the field of underground constructions. He has experience in numerous national and international research and consulting projects. Since the year of 2000 Robert Galler is Member of the management board of ÖGG – Austrian Society for Geomechanics; since 2005 he is the Austrian representative of the ITA – International Tunnelling Association. Since 2013 Robert Galler is Chairman of ITA-CET, the committee on education and training within the ITA.

Ing. Bernhard Reinwald

Safety officer

Bernhard Reinwald completed his Matura in the raw material technology department at the HTL Leoben in 2018. After completing his basic military service at Jägerbatallion 18 in St. Michael i.O. he is responsible for safety and the operation at the Zentrum am Berg at the Montanuniversität Leoben.

Dipl.-Ing. Robert Wenighofer


DI Robert Wenighofer has been a research assistant at the Chair of Subsurface Engineering since 2014 and has had a professional background of surveying and mining surveying since 1989 (DI Umlauf, ZT OG Loschnigg-Dachsberger). His professional and scientific areas are near field photogrammetry, laser scanning, CAD and mining projects. He contributes to numerous scientific projects of the Chair of Subsurface Engineering.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Marlene Villeneuve


Marlène Villeneuve completed her PhD in 2008 at Queen’s University, in Canada, after which she spent two years working as a tunnel engineer for McMillan Jacobs Associates in the USA and Australia. From 2010-2020 she was a lecturer, senior lecturer and finally an Associate Professor in rock mechanics at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. She joined the Chair of Subsurface Engineering in 2020 and focuses on teaching and research in the fields of rock mechanics and numerical modelling.

Michael Mrazek


After completing his mechanical engineering apprenticeship and many years of professional experience in this field, Michael supports the team at the Zentrum am Berg in all technical matters.

Inz.-Mech. Ktn Aliaksei Patsekha


Obtained his educational background in Technology, Equipment and Automation of Mechanical Engineering and Prevention and Elimination of Emergencies at the universities of Belarus. In 2017 completed a doctoral degree (degree of a Candidate of Technical Sciences) in Fire and Industrial Safety at the University of Civil Protection of the Ministry for Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus. Since June 2020 Aliaksei Patsekha works as a research associate at the Chair of Subsurface Engineering. His research interests lie in the field of Fire Dynamics and Tunnel Fire Safety.

Ing. Jörg Krainz


From 1993 to 1997, Jörg Krainz worked as a skilled worker (paper technician) at Brigl & Bergmeister in Niklasdorf. From 1998 to 2009, Jörg Krainz was employed at RHI Magnesita in the Technology Center Leoben, in the physics department. His tasks were; Investigations on refractory products, further development of test procedures and participation in R&D projects. After attending the evening school for mechanical engineering and industrial engineering, Jörg Krainz is employed as a laboratory manager at the University of Leoben at the Department of Subsurface Engineering.

Dipl.-Ing. Erik Schuller


Erik Schuller is a graduate of mining engineering at the Montanuniversitaet Leoben. He has been a research associate since 2004 and Senior Lecturer at the Chair of Subsurface Engineering since 2010. In addition to working on numerous projects, Erik Schuller is primarily involved in teaching with a focus on soil mechanics and numerical simulations of geotechnical problems.

Ing. Peter Schwab

Expert advisor

With his many years of civil engineering experience, Peter Schwab supported the team during the entire construction phase of the ZaB and is now at the side of the entire staff as a consultant and trainer in all subject-related issues.

Patrizia Gäbler


Patrizia Gäbler has been working as a project assistant at the Chair of Subsurface Engineering since 1.12.2022. Her task is to support the project managers and the team in projects.





Aurora Camacho


Aurora Camacho, a Bachelors student at Montan University Leoben, has been assisting the team at the Department of Subsurface Engineering as a student assistant since the summer semester of 2022, supporting ongoing projects and other pending tasks.

Aliaa Hammoud


Aliaa Hammoud holds a BSc in Geology from the American University of Beirut, in Lebanon and MSc in Petroleum Production Engineering from the University of Leeds, in UK. In 2022, She joined the chair of subsurface engineering as a University Assistant working towards her PhD. Her research interest lie in the field of Drilling Engineering, Well Logging, Geothermal energy and Machine Learning.

Arsham Karsh A. Moayedi Far


Arsham is employed as a Research Assistant (RA) in the Chair of Subsurface Engineering. His primary focus is on studying the geo-mechanical, environmental, and economic aspects of H2 geo-storages. Arsham holds a B.Sc. degree in mining engineering. Additionally, he obtained an M.Sc. degree from TMU in tunnel and underground spaces and possesses extensive expertise in numerical modelling and skilles in performance-based assessment of structures, as well as AI and ML techniques. Furthermore, Arsham has hands-on experience conducting laboratory tests on various types of FRC samples.

Samira Tourey


Samira Tourey is a bachelor student at the Montanuniversität Leoben in the field of raw materials engineering and has been at the Chair of Subsurface Engineering since fall 2023. As a student assistant, she is involved in various projects and also assists with other activities at the chair.

Daniel Schneider


As a graduate of a technical college for mechanical and mineral resource engineering and subsequent training as a paramedic, Daniel Schneider started his Master's degree in Geotechnics & Tunneling in 2022 and has been supporting the team at the Subsurface Engineering Institute and the Zentrum am Berg as a student assistant ever since. He gained practical experience in the site supervision of the Semmering Base Tunnel in Gloggnitz and is currently working on topics related to digitization in tunnelling as well as excavation material management.


Dipl.-Ing. Alexandros Evangelatos


As a research assistant at the Chair of Subsurface Engineering, Alexandros Evangelatos has been engaged in teaching and research since November 2022. After completing his master's degree in Geotechnical Engineering and Tunnel Construction at the Montan University Leoben, he is focusing on alternative reinforcement forms for tunnel construction in his dissertation, particularly steel and plastic fiber-reinforced concrete linings.

Dipl.-Ing. Elisabeth Hauzinger


Elisabeth Hauzinger graduated in 2021 with a degree in Applied Geosciences from the Montanuniversität Leoben and has since been supporting the team at the Chair of Subsurface Engineering as a research assistant in the field of sustainability in underground construction. For her dissertation, she is primarily investigating new and sustainable applications for excavated materials.

DI Dr. Gerhard Pittino


Engineering education at the Higher Technical Education Institute Villach, studies in civil engineering and graduation at the Technical University of Graz (TUG). Since 1993 at the Montanuniversität Leoben (MUL) as a research assistant and lecturer. Lecturer in “Foundation Engineering and Soil Mechanics” at the Kärnten University of Applied Sciences in 1997/98. Promotion in mining sciences at the MUL (Load-bearing behavior of the overall system: Alpine salt rock – cavern system – leaching residue) Research focus: long-term material behavior of geomaterials; experiments, parameter identification and numerical calculations.

Christoph Mörtinger


Christoph Mörtinger is a student assistant at the Chair of Subsurface Engineering. He graduated from the HTL Krems in Civil Engineering in 2018 and began studying Mineral Resources Engineering at the Montanuniversität Leoben in 2019. Since April 2023, he has been supporting the entire team in various research projects.

Dr.mont. Mario Weitzer


Mario Weitzer comes from St. Peter Freienstein (next to Leoben) and he studied mathematics at the University of Graz. He completed his PhD in mathematics in 2015 within the FWF doctoral program "Discrete Mathematics" at the University of Leoben. Before he joined the Chair of Subsurface Engineering in March 2024, he conducted research within his FWF stand-alone project "Arithmetic Dynamical Systems, Polynomials, and Polytopes" on the eponymous subjects at the Graz University of Technology and the University of Leoben. Today he works in the fields of 3d-simulation, virtual reality, and machine learning.

Marco Huymajer


Marco Huymajer completed his Master's in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at TU Wien and worked in software development. As a research assistant at the Chair of Subsurface Engineering, he works on several projects in the digitalization of tunneling. His research interests lie in applying data modeling and data science to problems in civil engineering and tunneling.

Ranzhu Wei


Ranzhu Wei has a bachelor degree of Safety engineering in China University of Geoscience and a master degree of environmental health and safety in National University of Singapore. She is now a PhD candidate at Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria. Her research focuses on reducing respirable dust concentration during tunnel construction using forced ventilation.

Sophie Neuhold


Sophie Neuhold, Bachelor student at the University of Leoben, has been supporting the Chair of Subsurface Engineering and the team in various projects and tasks as a student assistant since summer 2022.