Bernard M. Gordon Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems (Gordon-CenSSIS) and ALERT (Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats)

The Bernard M. Gordon Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems (Gordon-CenSSIS) is dedicated to revolutionizing the detection of biomedical and environmental-civil objects or conditions that are underground, underwater, or embedded within cells or inside the human body.

The Bernard M. Gordon Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems (Gordon-CenSSIS) is a multi-university NSF ERC founded in 2000. Its mission is to revolutionize the existing technology for detecting and imaging biomedical, environmental, or geophysical objects or conditions that lie underground or underwater, or are embedded in the human body. The Center’s unified, multidisciplinary approach combines expertise in wave physics (photonics, ultrasonic, electromagnetic,…), sensor engineering, image processing, and inverse scattering to create new sensing modalities and prototypes that may be transitioned to industry partners for further development. A key element of the CenSSIS education mission is to immerse students in efforts to solve important real-world problems such as noninvasive breast cancer detection or underground pollution assessment.

Since 2008, the team has transitioned to focus on the ALERT (Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats) Center. The ALERT Center seeks to conduct transformational research, develop technology, and provide educational development to improve effective characterization, detection, mitigation and response to explosives-related threats facing the country and the world.

A multi-university, Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence (COE), the ALERT Center is a partnership made up of national and international academic, industrial and government entities. Researchers in this partnership bring strengths in advanced sensor design, standoff weak-target detection, signal processing, sensor integration, explosives characterization, improvised explosive device (IED) detonator signatures, shock physics, and material science. This expertise, combined with resources from national lab affiliates and other industrial and government partners, form a team capable of carrying out the daunting ALERT mission.

To learn more about ALERT, please visit ALERT’s website.

Associated Faculty & Staff


Michael B. Silevitch
Robert D. Black Professor, COE Distinguished Professor,  Electrical and Computer Engineering
Affiliated Faculty,  Civil and Environmental Engineering
Director,  CenSSIS
Director,  ALERT

Subsurface sensing and imaging systems, detection of explosives-related anomalies, engineered system development and engineering leadership


Carey Rappaport
COE Distinguished Professor,  Electrical and Computer Engineering
Affiliated Faculty,  Bioengineering
Associate Director,  CenSSIS
Deputy Director & Bulk Sensors and Sensor Systems Lead,  ALERT

Bioelectromagnetics, microwave tissue imaging, electromagnetic breast cancer detection and treatment, cardiac ablation therapy, microwave assisted balloon angioplasty, catheter-based sensing. Antennas, electromagnetic computation, subsurface sensing and imaging, explosives detection, security system conceptualization and design.


Claire Duggan
Director of Programs and Operations,  STEM


Kristin Hicks
Director of Operations,  CenSSIS
Partnership & Education Services Coordinator,  Gordon Engineering Leadership Program


Anne Magrath
Senior Director of Finance,  CenSSIS


Deanna Beirne
Senior Director of Research Computing and Technology Transfer,  Gordon-CenSSIS , ALERT & Gordon Institute of Engineering Leadership