ChBE Seminar Series–Dr. Georges Belfort

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In addition to its annual lectures, ChBE hosts a weekly seminar throughout the year with invited lecturers who are prominent in their fields. Unless otherwise noted, all seminars are held on Wednesdays in the Molecular Science and Engineering Building ("M" Building) in G011 (Cherry Logan Emerson Lecture Theater) at 4:00 p.m. Refreshments are served at 3:30 p.m. in the Emerson-Lewis Reception Salon.

February 15
Dr. Georges Belfort
Institute Professor
The Howard P. Isermann Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Combining Science and Engineering for Molecular Separations: Thoughts from a Career

In this lecture, I will attempt to integrate several aspects of my research with selected recent grand challenges announced by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering1. In addition, I hope to demonstrate that collaboration with physicists, chemists, surface scientists and biologists allow us to address difficult engineering problems with new cross-disciplinary approaches. A seminal overall goal is to improve energy efficiency through process improvements. This includes using secondary flows2 (with physicists at the General Electric Global Research Laboratories using magnetic resonance imaging), protein-resistant surface chemistries3 (with surface scientists and engineers at MIT using high throughput combinatorial synthesis) and recombinant DNA technology4 (with a biologist at The State University of New York at Albany, using protein with unusual self-splicing properties called inteins) to substantially increase bio-separation performance. In addition, inspired by Nature, we investigate the mechanism of transport through the nuclear pore complex from the cytoplasm to the nucleus, and then successfully mimic its separating behavior5 (with Scientists from Rockefeller University). Collaborating with engineers is fast becoming an important aspect of fundamental discovery in biology. Examples include DNA sequencing machines and analysis of large amounts of data using bioinformatics. This presentation offers an inverse process of a chemical engineer who collaborates with a range of scientists.

1. http://www.grandchallengescholars.org/
2. Mallubhotla, H, Edelstein, W. A., Earley, T. A. and Belfort, G., (2001) Magnetic resonance flow imaging and numerical analysis of curved tube flow: 16. Effect of curvature and flow rate on Dean vortex stability and bifurcation, AIChE J., 47 (5) 1126-1140.
3. Zhou, M., Liu, H., Venkiteshwaran, A., Kilduff, J. C., Anderson, D. G., Langer, R. and Belfort G. (2011) High throughput discovery of new fouling-resistant surfaces, J. Mater. Chem., 21, 693-704.
4. Wood, D., Derbyshire V. Wu, W., Chartrain, M, Belfort, M., and Belfort G. (2000) Optimized Single-Step Affinity Purification with a Self-Cleaving Intein Applied to a Human Fibroblast Growth Factor, Biotechnology Progress 16, 1055-1063.
5. Nurse, P., (2008) Life, logic and information, Nature 454 (24) 424-426.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Josie Giles
  • Created:01/09/2012
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016