School of engineering and applied science

Device copies the mangrove’s desalinating action

Researchers in the lab of Menachem Elimelech, the Roberto C. Goizueta Professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, have developed a water-purifying device that mimics the mangrove tree, which survives in its subtropical habitat by efficiently converting the salty water of its environment into fresh water—an engineering feat that has long baffled scientists. The device, which the researchers call an artificial mangrove, combines the desalinating effects of the mangrove’s root, the capillary pumping of the leaves, and the water-conducting capability of the stem. In addition to offering a better understanding of plants’ plumbing systems, it could lead to new desalination technologies. The research was published in Science Advances.

Academy honors for professor

Laura Niklason, the Nicholas M. Greene Professor in Anesthesia and Biomedical Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Cited for her contributions to research in cardiovascular tissue engineering, lung regeneration, and biomedical imaging, Niklason was among 87 new members elected to the academy. Niklason’s research is focused on creating engineered blood vessels and lung tissue using bioreactors, with the eventual goal of providing new ways to treat patients, including those with kidney failure, heart disease, or in need of certain organ transplants. Her engineered blood vessels are currently in clinical trials and are the first engineered tissue of its kind to be studied in a Phase III trial.  

Professor wins prize for cell research

Michael Murrell, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, has received the Arthur Greer Memorial Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication or Research. The award was founded to honor outstanding scholarship by Yale junior faculty members in the social sciences, sciences, and engineering. Murrell’s lab at the Systems Biology Institute on West Campus investigates how the physical properties of cells influence fundamental life processes, with a focus on how cells sense, produce, and transmit mechanical forces.  

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