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UK to Host Notable North American Membrane Society Conference

The University of Kentucky and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology will host the 27th Annual Meeting of the North American Membrane Society (NAMS) at the Hilton Lexington June 9-13.

NAMS, which was founded in Kentucky, promotes further development and understanding of membranes and the membrane process. It is the only professional society in North America that promotes all aspects of membrane science and technology. This ranges from fundamental studies of membrane material science to process application and development.

What exactly is a membrane? By definition, a membrane is a selective barrier; it allows some things, such as molecules, ions or other small particles to pass through, and stops others.

Membrane technology has become a dignified separation tool. Today, membranes play a very important role in society with wide-ranging applications that include water, energy, food, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. For example, in water treatment, membranes and hybrid technologies are needed for selective separations for high volume processing and water detoxification.

It is essential to examine the challenges and opportunities of the technology. Therefore, the NAMS organization holds an annual national meeting featuring seminars by prominent membrane scientists, engineers and industry professionals. This is the third time Dibakar Bhattacharyya and Isabel Escobar, professors of chemicals and materials engineering at the University of Kentucky, are organizing the notable conference.

"We are celebrating the past while looking ahead into the future. Membranes have now been in existence for over 40 years and are becoming an established technology in many fields. However, they are plagued by issues with any new technology," Bhattacharyya and Escobar said. "Therefore, we will be discussing and presenting innovation in membranes through bio-inspired research, the use of 2-D materials and the investigation of sustainable methods to make and operate membranes."

The NAMS annual conference is considered the premier meeting in the membrane field. More than 400 participants from industry, academia and government, from across the globe, are expected to attend. They will have opportunities to meet, learn and network.

The impressive weeklong itinerary includes a total of 30 oral sessions, including a special presentation offered this year titled, "Large-Scale Membrane Applications (User and Manufacturer Interactions)."

Rebecca Liebert, president and chief executive officer of Honeywell UOP, will be one of the plenary speakers. UOP is a leading international supplier of process technology, catalysts, engineered systems, and technical and engineering services to the petroleum refining, petrochemical and gas processing industries. The company has offices around the globe, serving customers in more than 150 countries. Liebert holds a degree in chemical engineering from UK. She was also inducted into the UK College of Engineering Hall of Distinction in 2014.

The UK Center of Membrane Sciences, a sponsor of the conference, will bring together university faculty and students from a wide variety of academic specialties in collaborative, multidisciplinary research to find solutions for advanced membrane development.

The conference will provide a forum to share membrane-related activities that should broaden influence and make a difference in research, teaching and technology.

"Coming from industry, there is no better place for me to meet the best and brightest membrane scientists and join in the discussion of groundbreaking membrane research. This year’s meeting in Lexington promises to continue a rich tradition of high quality technical programming combined with a collaborative atmosphere that’s second to none," Caleb Funk, president of NAMS, said.

For more information about NAMS and the full conference itinerary, visit their website.

Dibakar Bhattacharyya
Dibakar Bhattacharyya
Isabel Escobar
Isabel Escobar