Bhattacharyya receives the prestigious Alan S. Michael Award for Innovation

LEXINGTON, Ky. (January 25, 2023) — Dibakar Bhattacharyya, Ph.D., professor of chemical and materials engineering in the University of Kentucky College of Engineering, is the 2023 recipient of the Alan S. Michael Award for Innovation in Membrane Science and Technology.

The award, given by the North American Membrane Society (NAMS), recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to membrane science and technology through technical innovations and exceptional life achievements.

“It is a great honor that I have been selected by NAMS among many outstanding membrane researchers in the world. I am also very fortunate to be a faculty member at UK. My personal success relates to having excellent undergraduate and graduate collaborators,” said Bhattacharyya. “UK has provided me with the right environment to expand on membrane and environmental remediation technologies. But my greatest passion is making students highly successful through interdisciplinary education, which includes working toward innovations in teaching and research.”

The Alan S. Michael Award was established to honor the late scientist – who was a pioneer in membrane science and technology. His work on ultrafiltration, membrane-based drug delivery systems, and novel membrane processes for the biopharmaceutical industry represented significant advances in the field. Michaels was the founder of Amicon, which was later acquired by Millipore (now EMD Millipore).

A fixture in UK Engineering for more than 50 years, Bhattacharyya is renowned for his research focusing on incorporating life science materials with responsive and catalytic membranes for filtration, detoxification and the production of clean water.

Currently, the director of the UK’s Center of Membrane Sciences, known to friends and colleagues as “DB”, has also contributed his decades of membrane expertise to help tackle the spread of COVID-19. He and his team of faculty and student collaborators developed a medical face mask that captured and deactivated the virus on contact.

At the start of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Bhattacharyya, along with cross-disciplinary collaborators in the UK, received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create the material. Their work was published in the Nature journal Communications Materials last year.

A fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the North American Membrane Society, Bhattacharyya holds nine US patents with his students and received Kentucky’s highest education award in three different decades. In addition, he has 34 book chapters and two books to his credit, along with hundreds of refereed publications.

In 2021, Bhattacharyya also received the SEC Faculty Achievement Award.

“This latest award further reinforces Dr. Bhattacharyya’s immeasurable impact on both environmental technology and membrane science during his more than 50 years at the University of Kentucky,” said Rudolph G. Buchheit, Rebecca Burchett Liebert Dean of UK Engineering. “The college, as well as the entire university, is fortunate to have someone of his level of expertise, innovation and skill – acting as a catalyst for solutions to some of society’s most complex challenges.”

As a recipient of the Alan S. Michael Award, Bhattacharyya will receive a $10,000 prize and lifetime membership in NAMS. The award will be presented at the upcoming NAMS annual meeting banquet.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Science Foundation under award number 2030217. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Bhattacharyya receives the prestigious Alan S. Michael Award for Innovation

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