Georges Belfort, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Thoughts from a Career in Membrane Science and Technology
What do fundamental fluid mechanics, interfacial science, optical interference patterns and protein engineering have in common? They are topics investigated by the Belfort Group that are either intimately connected with the membrane recovery of biological products, offer opportunities to reduce membrane fouling and understand membrane transport or provide prospects for new types of separations by mimicking nature. Examples demonstrating novel approaches to the separation of biological molecules, such as using secondary flow for a self-cleaning module design and high throughput synthesis and screening of new surfaces for anti-protein fouling membranes, will be presented. Direct measurement of concentration polarization and modeling of reverse osmosis transport confirmed that the solution diffusion model holds. Copying nature is the quintessential complement to evolution. So, together with others, we have embarked on a detailed effort to understand and then mimic the transport and exquisite selectivity of biological molecules passing through the nuclear pore complex (NPC). Implicit here is collaboration with colleagues, many of whom have different backgrounds to that of the Belfort Group and have made seminal contributions to the work described here. Mention will be made of Alan S. Michaels' influence on and his personal support of Georges Belfort's academic and research career.
Georges Belfort holds the endowed "Institute Chair" of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute since 2011 (highest level professorship, only one other person holds an Institute Chair at RPI). He was educated in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, for his BS degree in chemical engineering and the University of California at Irvine, CA for his MS and PhD degrees in engineering. He has held faculty positions at the Hebrew University (1973-1977) and RPI (1978-date). He also worked as a research chemical engineer on the first water reuse system for space-crafts, on fuel cells and on reverse osmosis at Astropower Laboratory, McDonnell Douglas Corp., Newport Beach, CA (1964-70). He was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering in 2003 and chosen as one of the "100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era" as part of the AIChE Centennial Celebration. In 2012, he was elected as a foreign member of the Bologna Academy of Sciences, Italy. He is on the advisory board for the Max Planck Institute for Complex Systems, Magdeburg, Germany and the managing board of the Society of Biological Engineers (AIChE), New York. He is a past President and co-founder (with Elias Klein and others) of NAMS and was part of the EuRO workshop that helped establish the European Membrane Society. Dr. Belfort's research has covered many aspects of biotechnology including bioseparations and fundamental aspects of protein aggregation and surface interactions. His group has published extensively on synthetic membrane filtration of proteins, transport, fluid mechanics of colloid membrane fouling, membrane modification, particle- and bio-fouling, modeling of cake build-up and in vitro biofuels production.
Larry Costa, General Electric Power and Water
Innovative Membrane Technologies for Tough-To-Treat Waters
Human activity relentlessly consumes water. The needs to conserve and reuse current water sources, and to develop less-conventional water sources, are clear and compelling. Membrane technologies play an increasingly significant role in treating impaired waters so that they may be reused economically, and discharged compliantly. We shall present three examples of innovative membrane technologies for tough-to-treat waters developed by GE.
Larry Costa was born in Taunton, Massachusetts. He earned a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Chemistry from Brown University, and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with George M. Whitesides. He is currently a Principal Technologist with GE Power and Water, where he collaborates across several teams working in the areas of membrane R&D, membrane manufacturing development, and membrane applications for water treatment. Prior to joining GE Larry held a series of project execution and technical management roles at the Halcon SD Group, Kendall Company, and Ionics.
Andrew L. Zydney, The Pennsylvania State University
Membrane Filtration of Viruses - New Challenges in Bioprocessing
Virus filtration can provide a robust, size-based method for virus removal in both bioprocessing applications and water purification. Virus filters for use in bioprocessing must provide at least a 4-log (10,000-fold) reduction in the concentration of viruses as small as 20 nm, which is only a few times larger than the size of most therapeutic proteins. This talk will review the current state-of-the-art on virus filtration, with a particular focus on recent studies of virus capture phenomena using confocal scanning laser microscopy with fluorescently labeled bacteriophage. Confocal images show that virus capture is highly dependent on the pore structure / morphology of the virus filter. A simple mathematical model for virus retention was developed based on the accumulation of retained virus within the more open pore structure at the entrance of the filter. This internal polarization causes a reduction in the observed virus retention at high throughputs and can also lead to a transient increase in virus transmission after a short disruption in the filtration process. These results provide important insights into the factors controlling the performance of virus filtration membranes as well as a framework for the development of improved virus filtration processes.
Dr. Andrew L. Zydney is currently Department Head and Walter L. Robb Family Endowed Chair in the Department of Chemical Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. Professor Zydney received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from M.I.T. in 1985, and he was a faculty member in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Delaware from 1985 - 2001. Professor Zydney's research is focused on applications of membrane science and technology for the purification of high value biological products, including work on ultrafiltration, microfiltration, and virus filtration. He has published more than 170 articles on these topics, including invited contributions to the Encyclopedia of Bioprocess Technology and the Handbook of Biomedical Engineering. Professor Zydney is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Membrane Science, and he serves on the Editorial Boards for Separation and Purification Reviews, Separation Science and Technology, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, and Biotechnology and Bioengineering. He served as President of the North American Membrane Society in 2002 - 2003 and was on the Board of Directors for 8 years. Dr. Zydney was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers in 1998 and of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2011. He received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Delaware in 1994, and he is a past recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award (1999) and the Outstanding Young Faculty Award (1990) from the American Society of Engineering Education.