Dr. Datla's research analyzes; experimental marine hydrodynamics, vessel wakes, computational fluid dynamic (CFD) aspects of marine hydrodynamics, and ocean waves and turbulence.

His involvement with the Center for Maritime Systems has included overseeing several key expansions such as the new towing tank Tank #3, which was completely renovated in 2006. Everything from the design of the tank to the installation of the wave maker and beach structures were redone, making it the most advanced tank of its kind in the United States.

He was recently appointed by the The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) as its Chair of its Planning Craft Committee. The committee conducts reviews of state-of-the-art technology, advises the larger design community as to future research needs and awards research funding to universities.

Dr. Datla is a member of Sigma Xi, the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, and the American Geophysical Union. He has also been the recipient of research awards such as the 1996 John P. Breslin Award for outstanding research in Ocean Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology.