Within the last few decades, it has become known that toxic chemicals discharged by humans now circulate throughout the various water sources on our planet. These anthropogenic chemicals, termed micropollutants, pose a health risk to people and animals even at small concentrations. Unfortunately, none of the technical approaches aimed at removing micropollutants from water have been fully successful.
Membranes are physical barriers that block certain chemicals while allowing others to go through. In Professor Ayse Asatekin’s Smart Polymers, Membranes and Separations Lab, we develop new polymeric materials to make membranes with new and exciting properties. The aim of this project is to develop the first synthetic membrane that can block a wide range of micropollutants while allowing clean water to go through. This could be an effective way to remove micropollutants from water. We will do this using a self-assembling zwitterionic copolymer membrane with a cross-linkable hydrophobic phase.
Sam is a PhD candidate at the Graduate School of Engineering in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department. He expects to complete his studies in May 2022. Sam earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maine. He worked as a co-op at the Sappi Technology Center and conducted undergraduate research at the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute. Sam received the University of Maine Pulp and Paper Foundation Scholarship.
Current Studies and Future Goals
When asked what he found most meaningful about his field of study, Sam responded with the following: “I work to develop new materials for membranes, which are an important separation technology for the production of clean water. By doing my part to help grow the field of membrane science in this way, I believe that greater access to clean water will be the result.”
When asked what interested him in becoming a TIE Fellow, Sam responded with the following: “I was attracted to the TIE's commitment to the environment and to interdisciplinary research. I want to develop new technologies that benefit people and the environment, and this seems like a perfect fit for the TIE program.”
After Tufts, Sam will likely do research with the start-up ZwitterCo.
When not doing school work, Sam enjoys weight lifting and hiking with his girlfriend.
Favorite food/drink: Burgers
Favorite movie/TV show: Parks and Rec
Favorite place you've visited: Mount Katahdin
Favorite course taken at Tufts: Advanced Kinetics and Reaction Engineering with Maria Stephanopoulos