Polymer Membrane Research at UVA

geise research group

The Geise research group seeks to develop structure/property/processing relationships to guide polymeric materials design for membrane-based liquid separation and energy applications by understanding the influence of nano- and molecular-scale interactions and phenomena on mass transfer and system-level performance.

We are located in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia.

Contact the Geise Group

geise lab

Geise Group Research:
Water-Energy Nexus

Our research focuses on experimental studies aimed at solving fundamental and practical problems related to water and ion transport through polymers that could be used as membranes in a variety of water and energy applications. Providing sustainable and economic supplies of purified water and clean energy solutions is a critical global challenge for the future, and polymer membranes will play a key role in these efforts.

We seek to rationally tailor and design polymers at the molecular level and process those polymers to engineer advanced membrane materials that will expand access to clean water and enhance the use of renewable energy sources.

Meet the Geise Group

drought conditions scene

Water Purification for a Thirsty World

Within the next 10 years, the United Nations predicts that nearly two-thirds of the world’s population may find themselves living in a water stressed area.

Today, the vast majority of desalination processes are performed using polymer-based membranes. Improved membranes are needed to meet the challenges of economically and sustainably purifying increasingly saline and contaminated water sources around the globe.

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night lights scene

Clean and Renewable Energy
to Light our Future

Energy demand around the globe is projected to increase by more than 50% over the next 35 years, and sustainable, low-carbon footprint energy resources are needed to meet this increasing energy demand.

Technologies such as large-scale flow batteries, reverse electrodialysis, and capacitive mixing rely on polymer membranes to regulate ion transport. Improved membrane selectivity will enable advances in renewable energy storage and generation technologies.

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Join the Geise Research Group

Prospective graduate students interested in joining the group should indicate their interest when applying for admission to the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia.

Undergraduate students interested in research opportunities should express interest by contacting Prof. Geise directly. Please be prepared to provide copies of your most recent resume and unofficial transcript.

Latest News from the Geise Group


September 2019

Yuanyuan Ji Defends Her Ph.D.

Dr. Yuanyuan Ji defended her dissertation, titled Selective Polymeric Membranes for Ion Specific Separations, and became the first Ph.D. graduate from the Geise Research Group. A native of Jiangxi, China and a graduate of Tianjin University, Dr. Ji joined UVA in 2014 and received her M.S. in Chemical Engineering from UVA in 2017.


August 2019

4th Year Undergraduate and USOAR Researcher Kevin Bahati Named ACS Scholar

Congratulations to Kevin Bahati who was recently named an American Chemical Society (ACS) Scholar! Kevin is entering his 4th year as an undergraduate researcher in the group. His research has been supported by the UVA Undergraduate Student Opportunities in Academic Research (USOAR) program.

July 2019

Chang, Luo, and Bahati Publish Desalination Membrane Research

Graduate research assistants Hongxi Luo and Kevin Chang, along with 4th year USOAR undergraduate researcher Kevin Bahati, recently published articles on their research. Their work describes a new approach for enhancing desalination selectivity of polymer membranes by controlling the position of chemical functional groups on the polymer backbone.

Details about the desalination selectivity of the materials are published in an Environmental Science and Technology Letters article titled Engineering selective desalination membranes via molecular control of polymer functional groups, and that article was selected as the ACS Editors' Choice article for July 20, 2019! Additional details about the salt transport properties of the materials, including dielectric relaxation spectroscopy analysis of the thermodynamics of the selectivity increase are reported in a Journal of Membrane Science article titled Functional group configuration influences salt transport in desalination membrane materials.


June 2019

Saringi Agata wins the Sture G Olsson Fellowship in Engineering

Congratulations to graduate student Saringi Agata for winning the Sture G Olsson Fellowship in Engineering from UVA Engineering! This award will complement Saringi's full National GEM Consortium Fellowship! The fellowship will support Saringi's Ph.D. research during the 2019‑2020 academic year.


May 2019

Kevin Chang Admitted to Doctoral Candidacy

Congratulations to graduate student Kevin Chang for successfully completing his Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal titled Influence of Polymer and Water Dynamics on Water and Ion Transport in Hydrated Polymers for Membrane Desalination Applications !

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