Biomimetic and Bioinspired Membranes

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-24-2019


Membranes are the fastest growing platform for water purification, wastewater reuse, and desalination. They are also emerging in importance for carbon capture, hydrocarbon separations, and are candidates for catalysis and sensing. Synthetic membranes trade off selectivity and permeability: a higher-permeability membrane has a lower ability to separate solutes from solution or from each other. A strategy to produce high permeability membranes with high selectivity is to copy nature. We will discuss bioinspired ideas for synthesizing an ideal membrane based on biological protein channels and artificial channels that mimic their structure.

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Manish Kumar is Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering and Water Resources Engineering at the University of Texas, Austin. His research interests encompass membranes for water and waste-water treatment, desalination, and biometric and bioinspired membranes for numerous applications. He has a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from India, and an MS and PhD in environmental engineering from the University of Illinois. He has worked in industry on arsenic treatment, membrane technologies, bioreactors, had a post doc at the Harvard Medical School, and started his faculty career at Penn State.