461236 Bioinspired Separation Materials for Environmental and Energy Applications

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Continental 4 & 5 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Yuexiao Shen, Department of Chemical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Research Interests:

My research motivation in membrane science and technology is based on an acute awareness of current environmental issues and the potential of separations to address some of these issues. I have a strong interest in membrane technologies because they have been widely used to supply clean water and there is a growing interest in applications to clean energy and pollution prevention. My Ph.D. program has opened the door of a completely new membrane research field to me—biomimetic membranes and I have helped in bringing the new area of artificial water channels for separations into focus through my PhD work. Biomimetic membranes, utilizing biological elements or borrowing concepts from biological systems, can take advantage of processes evolved by nature over billions of years for improving transport efficiency and specificity.My Ph.D. study started with aquaporins (AQPs) based biomimetic desalination membranes. Aquaporins are biological water channel proteins that facilitate extremely fast water transport while rejecting all the other ions and solutes. The later part of my Ph.D. work conducted some of the initial work in the exciting area of bioinspired artificial channels. My work showed channels that mimic natural channel proteins self-assemble in lipid and block copolymer bilayers and can approach the performance of biological water and proton channels.

In my future academic career, I am devoted to developing bioinspired energy efficient functional separation materials that can be used in the field of separations important for environmental and energy applications.I want to use artificial channels to fabricate energy-efficient separation materials for liquid and gas separations, and develop environmental sensors for environmental applications. I am also interested in utilizing the bioinspired concepts to mitigate membrane fouling issues in water and wastewater treatment, with a combination of biomimetic topography, controlled surface chemistry and antifouling signals.

Teaching Interests:

During my Ph.D. program, I have volunteered to instruct different classes for 2 years to learn how to teach and develop my own teaching style. Because I have both chemical and environmental engineering backgrounds, I am qualified to teach undergraduate or graduate core courses (such as transport phenomenon, fluid mechanics and reaction engineering), specialized courses (membrane separations, water and wastewater treatment) and experimental courses (environmental or chemical engineering unit operations). My teaching will be focused on how to utilize the basic skills acquired in classroom to solve practical problems as this leads to the greatest retention of core concepts. All of the courses I will instruct will be designed to train the students in extending their learning abilities (how to find problems and where to get necessary resources to solve them), communication and collaboration, writing and presenting skills.

Representative publications:

  1. Shen, Y., et al. Highly permeable artificial water channels in block copolymer membranes. (in preparation)
  2. Licsandru, E., Kocsis, I., Shen, Y., at al. Salt excluding artificial water channels reveal enhanced dipolar water and proton translocation. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 138, 5403-5409, (2016). (co-first author)
  3. Shen, Y., et al. Highly permeable artificial water channels that can self-assemble into two-dimensional arrays. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 112, 9810-9815, (2015).
  4. Shen, Y., et al. Biomimetic membranes: A review. J. Membr. Sci. 454, 359-381 (2014).
  5. Sun, Y., Shen, Y., et al. Linkages between microbial functional potential and wastewater constituents in large-scale membrane bioreactors for municipal wastewater treatment. Water Res. 56, 162-171 (2014). (co-first author)
  6. Shen, Y., et al. Improvement on Modified Lowry Method against Interference by divalent cations for soluble protein measurement in wastewater systems. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 97, 4167-4178 (2013).
  7. Shen, Y., et al. Characterization of soluble microbial products in 10 large-scale membrane bioreactors for municipal wastewater treatment in China. J. Membr. Sci. 415–416, 336-345 (2012).
  8. Shen, Y., et al. A systematic insight into fouling propensity of soluble microbial products in membrane bioreactors based on hydrophobic interaction and size exclusion. J. Membr. Sci. 346, 187-193 (2010).

Contact Information

Yuexiao Shen, 162 Fenske Laboratory

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA, 16802

Phone: (814)777-8181 Email: yxs174@psu.edu

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