Russell Sage Endowed Professor of
Howard P. Isermann Department of Chemical and Biological
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180-3590
PHONE: (518) 276-6948
FAX: (518) 276-4030
Ph.D., Engineering, University of California at
Irvine, Irvine, California, 1972
MS., Engineering, University of California at Irvine,
Irvine, California, 1969
B.Sc., Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town,
Cape Town, South Africa, 1963
Background and Accomplishments
A native of South Africa, Professor Belfort joined the
Rensselaer faculty in 1978 after a one-year sabbatical
leave at Northwestern University and spending four years
on the faculty of the School of Applied Science, Hebrew
University, Jerusalem, Israel. Dr. Belfort received his
Ph.D. degree in 1972 and his M.S. degree in 1969 from the
University of California at Irvine in engineering, and
his B.Sc. (Chemical Engineering) in 1963 from the
University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. Prior
to joining Rensselaer in 1978, he held the post of senior
lecturer at the School of Applied Science, Hebrew
University, Jerusalem, Israel from 1973 to 1977. Dr.
Belfort has spent part or all of his (sabbatical) leaves
at Cape Town University (1972), Northwestern University
(1977-78), Yale University (1988), MIT (1988) Caltech
(1988) and UC Berkeley (1996).
He received the 1995 ACS Award in Separation Science
and Technology, the 2000 AIChE Clarence Gerhold Award in
Separations Science and Technology, served as President
of the North American Membrane Society (1995-196), was
elected to the US National Academy of Engineering in
2003, and serves on the editorial boards of four
journals. He was elected a fellow of the American
Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering in
1994. He chaired the 1997 Gordon Research Conference on
"Membranes: Materials and Processes". Dr.
Belfort has delivered plenary or main lectures at many
international meetings and forums and has been an invited
lecturer at several industrial (Novo Nordisk, Denmark,
DSM, The Netherlands, Merck, West Point, PA) and academic
("Professore a Contrare" at the University of
Bologna, Italy) short courses on membranes for
biotechnology and separations engineering. He delivered
an invited lecture as part of the "Warren McCabe
Lecture Series" at North Carolina State University,
Raleigh, NC in 1988. He has received the Japanese Society
for the Promotion of Science Fellowship twice to lecture
in Japan in 1981 and 1996. Dr. Belfort was a guest of the
Soviet Academy of Science (1991) (one of the last!), the
Finnish Academy (1994) and the Chemistry Section of the
Swedish Academy (1995). Professor Belfort is an active
consultant to industry in the USA, Europe and Japan on
membrane technology and bioseparations. He teachers
industrial short courses on "Synthetic Membranes and
Biotechnology" with Andrew Zydney, University of
Delaware. His students have won the prestigious NATO
Fellowship (Dr. Jeffrey Schonberg) and the Presidential
Young Award (Professors Cheng Sheng Lee and Carole
Heath). He has edited two texts, published about 150
peer-reviewed papers and 17 chapters in various
monographs related to fundamental and applied aspects of
synthetic membrane technology and has recently been
issued seven US patents (exclusive rights for one patent
was purchased by Millipore Corp, Bedford, MA). He
lectures widely in both academic and industrial settings,
and is an active consultant in the United States, Europe,
Georges Belfort is one of the premier academic
scientists/engineers in the field of bioseparations
engineering and is a leading academic chemical engineer
in liquid-phase pressure-driven membrane-based processes.
He has made seminal wide-ranging fundamental and applied
research contributions to the understanding, design and
application of pressure-driven membrane processes for the
recovery of biological molecules. His research, both
fundamental and developmental, is conducted in the areas
of membrane-separations engineering and surface science
and the behavior of proteins at interfaces. In
particular, the research involves design of new membrane
modules with highly efficient mass-transfer
characteristics, modification of membrane surfaces for
reduced fouling, and use of genetic engineering as a tool
in the separation of biological molecules. Direct
measurements are also made of intermolecular forces
between proteins and polymeric films for application in
separations and marine fouling. Recent interest has
focused on the effect of solid substrates on the
conformation of proteins, the development of a new
molecular two-dimensional imprinting technique, the use
of helical hollow fiber membranes to fractionate foreign
immunoglobulins from transgenic goat milk, and the
modification new polymeric surfaces for synthetic
membranes using photo-induced polymerization that exhibit
low attraction to proteins (biotechnology applications)
and natural organic matter (environmental applications).
Dr Belfort collaborates with scientists and engineers
including Dr. Marlene Belfort and Dr. Vicky Derbyshire
(geneticists, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department
of Health, Albany, NY), Dr. Brian Chait, (physicist,
Rockefeller University, NY City, NY), Dr. James V.
Crivello (chemist, RPI), Dr. Shekhar Garde (molecular
modeler, RPI), Dr. Ravi Kane (surface scientist, RPI),
Dr. Jeffrey W. Kelley, and Dr. Evan T. Powers (chemists,
The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA), Dr. Chip
Kilduff, (environmental engineer,, RPI), Dr. Sanat Kumar
(polymer physicist, RPI), Dr. Robert Langer (biochemical
engineer, MIT, Cambridge, MA), Dr. Saroj Nayak
(physicist, RPI), and Dr. Giulio Sarti, (chemical
engineer, University of Bologna, Italy).
||Appointed Russell Sage Professor (Endowed
chair) of Chemical Engineering, Howard P.
Isermann Department of Chemical Engineering,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York,
|1982 to 2002
||Professor of Chemical Engineering, Howard P.
Isermann Department of Chemical Engineering,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York,
|1978 to 82
||Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering and
Environmental Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic
|1973 to 77
||Senior Lecturer (approximate U.S. equivalent
associate Professor), Human Environmental Health
Sciences, School of Applied Science &
Technology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.
||Visiting Lecturer, Chemical Engineering
Department, University of Cape Town, Cape Town,
|1971 to 72
||Acting Instructor, University of California
at Irvine., Irvine, California.
|1964 to 70
||Research Chemical Engineer, Astropower
Laboratory, McDonnell Douglas Corp., Newport
Honors and Awards
- Invited Hikal Award Lecture at the CHEMCON -
Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers,
Hyderabad, India, Dec 21-23.
- Invited Professore a Contrare (Contract or
External Professor), U. Bologna, Bologna, Italy,
Chemical Engineering, Host Giulio Sarti, taught
10 hour short course "Molecular Separations
for Biotechnology", May 25-31, 2002.
- Separations Division Gerhold Award, AIChE Annual
Meeting, Nov 15, 2000.
- Plenary Lecturer, Scandinavian Membrane Workshop,
SINTEF, Oslo, Norway, Nov. 2.
- Main Lecturer for the Recovery of Biologicals
Meeting, Cancun, Mexico, June 3-8, 2001.
- Plenary Lecturer, International Conference on
Bioseparation Engineering "Recovery and
Recycle of Resources to Protect the Global
Environment", Nikko, Japan, July 4-7, 1999
- Plenary Lecturer, Aachener Membran Kolloquium,
March 9-11, 1999, Aachen, Germany
- Presented a Main Lecture entitled, "Membrane
Processes in Well-Defined Fluid Instabilities in
a Scalable Module Design" at the 1993
International Congress on Membranes and Membrane
Processes, Heidelberg, Germany, August 30 -
September 3, 1993.
- Plenary Lecture entitled "Enhanced
Performance for Pressure-Driven Membrane
Processes: The Argument for Fluid
Instabilities" at the "International
Membrane Science & Technology
Conference" (IMSTEC'92) Sydney, Australia,
November 10-12, 1992.
- Presented Plenary Lecture entitled
"Membranes and Biotechnology: Realities and
Possibilities" at the Annual Meeting of
Korea Society for Membranes, Hanyang University,
Seoul, South Korea, on Friday November 6th 1992.
- Invited after dinner lecture on "Membrane
Bioreactors: Where to Now?" at a Deutche
Forschungs Gemeinschaft meeting on Biotechnology,
Lambrecht, West Germany, June 7, 1990.
- Invited to deliver a lecture entitled,
"Orientation and Enzyme Activity During
Adsorption or Crowding Forces One to Stand"
as part of the Warren McCabe Lecture Series,
North Carolina State University, November 21,
- Plenary Lecture, North American Membrane
Society's 2nd Annual Meeting, Syracuse
University, June 1, 1988.
- Invited main talk, "Recovery of Biologicals
X", ACS-BIOT, Cancun, Mexico, June 4th 2001.
- ACS - special session in honor of Csaba Horvath,
ACS National Mtg, San Diego, CA, April, 5th, 01.
- Invited Lecturer (with David Wood, PhD student),
International Workshop on "New Production
Concepts for Life Science Industry",
Vaalsbroek, The Netherlands, March 20-22, 2000
- Invited lecture, Recovery of Biological Products,
Whistler, Canada, May 23-28, 1999
- Invited lecture tour of The Technion, Weizmann
Institute and Beer Sheva University of the Negev,
Israel, host Professor Ora Kedem, June 4-12,
- Invited speaker at the Edwin N. Lightfoot
Retirement Symposium, University of Wisconsin,
Chemical Engineering Department, Madison, WN,
November 10, 1996.
- Invited lecture by The Swedish National Committee
for Chemistry, Swedish Academy of Sciences, for
the EUCHEM conference "Surface Forces in
Science and Technology, Skytteholm, Sweden,
- Lectured at the invitation of Professor Marianne
Nystrom, Seminar on Membrane Fouling, Finish
Academy, Finland, July, 1994.
- Presented an invited review lecture entitled,
"Bioseparations and Biocatalysis with
Synthetic Membranes: Recent Developments",
at 21st Aharon, Katzir-Katchalsky Conference:
Workshop on "Applications of Membranes to
Industry", Weizmann Institute, Rehovot,
Israel, September 5-7, 1993.
- Delivered an invited overview lecture on
"Synthetic Membranes in Biotechnology:
Realities and Possibilities" at 5th European
Congress on Biotechnology, Copenhagen, Denmark,
July 10, 1990.
- Elected member of the US National Academy of
Engineering, February, 2003.
- Winner of the American Institute of Chemical
Engineers Separations Division Award for 2000:
Clarence G Gerhold Award in Separations Science
& Technology sponsored by UOP. The Award will
be presented at the AIChE Annual National Meeting
in Los Angeles, 15 November, 2000, and will
received a check for $3,000 and a plaque.
- Board of Editors, Biotechnology Progress,
- Invited by NSF to organize and lecture in a
Separations Session at the Tripartite Israel
- USA Chemical Engineering Meeting, The Technion,
Haifa, Israel, March 9-11, 1999.
- Appointed to Board of Scientific Advisors, Danish
Sep. Systems, Nakskov, Denmark, Sept., 1998.
- Chair for the Gordon Conference on
"Membranes: Materials and Processes",
- Board of Editors, Separations Science and
Technology, November, 1996-
- International Editor, Chemical Engineering
Journal of Japan, 1996-.
- Fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion
of Science, 15 day lecture tour of Japan, August
- Past President, North American Membrane Society,
- Winner of the American Chemical Society's Award
for 1995: ACS Award inSeparations Science &
Technology sponsored by Rohn and Haas Co.
Presented the Award Lecture at the ACS National
Meeting in Anaheim , 6 April, 1995, and received
a check for $5,000 and a plaque.
- Appointed chair of AIChE Committee on
Membrane-Based Separations, 1994.
- Elected fellow of the American Institute for
Medical and Biological Engineering, Nov. 22,
- Appointed to AIChE Committee on Membrane-Based
- Elected to board of North American Membrane
Society, 1990, 1992, 1997, 1999.
- Appointed to subcommittee on Treatment
Technologies, Water Science & Techn. Board,
National Research Council, 1986-1990.
- Organized a session on "New Separations
Process Applications for Membranes", Gordon
Research Conference on Synthetic Membranes, New
London, NH, June 22-26, 1986.
- Participated as one of eight invited US academics
in an NSF sponsored US-Japan Bioreactor Workshop,
Kyoto, Japan, December 11-14, 1985.
- Advisor for the Desalination Research Program of
the Republic of South Africa and lectured at
three universities, March-April, 1982.
- National Science Foundation News Release on our
Hollow Fiber Concentration Studies 1981and work
reviewed in Annual NSF Report 1982.
- Awarded Japanese Society for the Promotion of
Science Fellowship, presented six lectures in two
weeks in Japan, 1981.
- Board of Advisors for Desalting for National
Council for Research and Development, Prime
Minister's Office, Israel, 1976-78.
Consult to the following companies involved in
bioseparations, bioreactor, membrane and sorption
technology from 1980 - 2003:
|Air Products & Chemicals, Inc., PA
||Liquid Air Products, Inc., CA
|Ahlstrom Machinery, Inc, NY
||Lyonnaise des Eaux (France)
|Amersham-Pharmacia Biotech, Sweden
||Merck and Co., PA
|Amicon Corp., MA
||Millipore Corp., MA
|Anotec Separations Ltd. (UK)
||Mixing Equipment Co., NY
|Baxter Healthcare Corp., CA
||Neose Inc, PA
|Biogen Inc., MA
||PTI, Inc, CA
|DSS A/S (formallyDDS Corp.) (Denmark)
|Eli Lilly, IN
||Pharmacia, NJ (Sweden)
|Dow Chemical Co., MI (& Filmtec Corp., MN
|Genetech, Inc., CA
||Sky Co., NJ
|Genzyme-Medix Biotech, CA
||Unitika Co. (Japan)
|GTC Therapeutics, MA
||US Filter (Vivendi), MA.
|W. R. Grace Corp., MD.
||Leveen & Assoc., CA
The following patents were issued to Dr. Belfort, his
colleagues and his group:
- Curved Channel Membrane Filtration, Application
number H26-030 US; Filed on 9/21/92 (with Mary
Brewster and Kun-Yong Chung), Issued: 4/20/93,
Patent number: 5,204,002.
- Low Fouling Ultrafiltration and Microfiltration
Aryl Polysulfone, Application Number H26-034 US,
Filed on 12/22/93 (with Jim Crivello and Hideyuki
Yamagishi) Issued: 11/21/95, Patent Number
- Coiled Membrane Filtration System, Application
number H26-039 US; Issued on 5/6/97 (US Patent #.
5,626,758), Reissue Application filed April 22,
1999 (SN: 09/298,519).
- Coiled Membrane Filtration System, Patent Awarded
in Canada, China, Japan, Europe, 2000.
- Modification of Porous and Non Porous Materials
Using Self-Assembled Monolayers, (with Peter
Boehme), Issued US Patent #5,852,127, December
- Isolation of a controllable intein derivative
(with M. Belfort, V. Derbyshire, D. Wood and W.
Wu), submitted provisional patent 8/16/99.
- Self-assembled monomolecular membranes for gas
and liquid separations (with William Ward, III),
submitted disclosure 6/19/00
- "Improved Method using Photo-Induced
Grafting for Modifying Poly(ether sulfone) (PES)
and Poly(aryl sulfone) (PSF) Membranes, G.
Belfort, J. Crivello and J. Pieracci, Provisional
Patent Application, submitted October, 4, 2000
and Continuing Provisional Patent application,
- "Coiled Membrane Filtration System", G.
Belfort, Issued US Patent #RE 37,759, June 25 th,
- "Molecular Imprinting by Two-Dimensional
Surface Emulsion Polymerization", M. Han and
G. Belfort, Provisional Patent Application,
August 11, 2002.
Senior Undergraduate Laboratory - Membranes for
Pressure-driven synthetic membrane processes are being
increasingly integrated into existing reaction and
recovery schemes for the production of valuable chemical
and biological molecules. The properties of these
membrane systems that are most often exploited are their
operation without a phase change, without a temperature
excursion from ambient, without need for additives and
with relatively low energy consumption.
The ultrafiltration process (membranes with molecular
weight cutoff between 2 and 1000 kDa or pore size between
1 and 100 nm) normally operates with a constant
transmembrane pressure or a constant permeate flux. Both
fundamental and practical considerations suggest,
however, that UF processes should be controlled by
maintaining a constant Cwall of fully retained solutes.
van Reis et al. [van Reis, R. Goodrich, E. M. Yson, L. N.
Whitley, A. Zydney, A. L., Constant Cwall Ultrafiltration
Process Control, J. Membr. Sci., 130, 123-140 (1997)]
have developed a control strategy that allows operation
below a specified solute concentration at the
solution-membrane or wall interface, Cwall, in order to
minimize protein sieving, solubility and adsorption
losses as well as optimize time and area. Implementation
of this technology, however, requires the knowledge of
what are known as the Cwall control parameters.
The objective of this lab is to perform experiments,
which will result in estimating Cwall control parameters
for a bovine serum albumin (BSA) ultrafiltration process.