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Professor McGrath receives Dean's Office PumpPrimer II Grant

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Professor Jim McGrath recently received a Dean's Office PumpPrimer II Grant for his research project titled, "Desalinization with Ultrathin Nafion Membranes.”

Project description: The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report has consistently ranked access to water as one of the most critical issues facing the planet. Arid and drought-strikes regions with ready access to sea water in California, Israel, India, Australia, and elsewhere are investing billions in the production of inefficient reverse osmosis (RO)-based desalinization plants to produce drinkable water. Increasingly, technologists are turning to nanotechnology as a means of reducing costs by fundamental changing the fundamental principles at work. This project will test a prediction that ultrathin (100 nm thick) Nafion® membranes have the potential for desalinization with orders-of-magnitude greater efficiency than conventional reverse-osmosis (RO). This prediction is based on unexpected findings of a rate of osmotic flux of pure water across ultrathin Nafion® membranes used as electroosmotic pumps.

Karl Smith places third in University’s Falling Walls Competition

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Karl Smith, a PhD student in Biophysics and a member of the lab of James McGrath, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, won third place in the University of Rochester's Falling Walls Competition for describing his use of physics to make water behind a filter form a mixer vortex, reducing the difficulty of normal stirring when fluids stick to surfaces. A total of 19 presenters competed.

The competition is associated with the Falling Walls foundation, a non-profit organization that fosters discussions on research and innovation and promotes the latest scientific findings to society. The Rochester winner's idea will compete with others from around the world at the Falling Walls Lab Finale in November in Berlin. This event selects the participants for the annual Falling Walls Conference the following day: an international forum for science and innovation to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall. Speakers at the conference have included Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany; Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse; and young inventors from around the world. BBC London said it was where the "brightest minds on the planet" meet.

Last year's Falling Walls Lab Rochester winner, Ryan Trombetta, a BME PhD student in Dr. Awad's lab, finished 12th (out off a 100 finalists worldwide) in the Berlin competition for his description of using 3D printed bone grafts to treat osteomyelitis. See his presentation here.

Solomon Abiola, Sara Nowacki and Karl Smith, the top three finishers at the Falling Walls Competition.

From left to right, Solomon Abiola, Sara Nowacki and Karl Smith, the top three finishers at the Falling Walls Competition.