A good lecture is one where you witness the twinkling eyes of a student as he or she recognizes a connection between mathematics and their field of studies. It is very gratifying!

Education and early career

Alexandra started teaching 20 years ago as a Teaching Assistant, in her first year as a Master student in Mechanical Engineering, fresh out of an undergraduate course in Physics Engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal. Her teaching continued throughout her Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering, at Instituto Superior Técnico, after spending three semesters at UC Berkeley. Alexandra's doctoral work focused on the multidisciplinary and topology optimization of morphing aircraft wings. In 2005, Alexandra joined Instituto Superior Técnico as an Assistant Professor, and, in early 2013, she joined KAUST as a consultant for the Geometric Modeling and Scientific Visualization Center. In August 2014, she started teaching at KAUST as a Visiting Assistant Professor in both the CEMSE and PSE divisions. Alexandra joined KAUST faculty as a Lecturer in July 2018.

Areas of expertise and current scientific interests

Alexandra's area of expertise is structural topology optimization. She is currently studying the inference of structural anomalies given the system structural response.

Career recognitions

Gomes is the recipient of the Award for Educational Excellence from the Instituto Superior Tecnico, Lisbon Technical University, Portugal.

Why teaching?

I love to explain why it makes sense for the students to learn a particular topic. I first survey my audience to learn about their diverse backgrounds. Then I use their previous experience to come up with simplified real-life problems showing how the use of the right math tool simplifies the path to the solution. I try never to forget to be very explicit about motivation.


My reason for being at KAUST is two-folded: on the one hand, I'm convinced my teaching is making a difference in helping each student solidifying and expanding their mathematical skills. On the other hand, I really enjoy living in a small village where everyone works towards the same goal: it fosters a profound and comfortable sense of community.

Areas of Expertise and Research Interests

  • Partial Equations
  • Bayesian

Education Profile

  • PhD,  Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal, 2005  
  • MSc,  Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal, 1997
  • BSc,  Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal, 1995