Belfort Group

Biomolecular Separations Research Group
Howard P. Isermann Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
and Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY 12180, USA


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North American Membrane Society Honors Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Georges Belfort:
Dr. Georges Belfort, Institute Professor and a member of the Howard P. Isermann Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer, has been awarded the Alan S. Michaels Award for Innovation in Membrane Science and Technology from the North American Membrane Society (NAMS). The award, given every three years by NAMS "to recognize individuals who have made outstanding innovations and/or exceptional lifetime contributions to membrane science and technology". Dr. Belfort will be giving invited keynote talks at NAMS 2014 in Houston, Texas (May 31-June 4, 2014) and at ICOM 2014 in Suzhou China (July 20-25 2014). Read More

ACS 2014:
Dr. G. Belfort, Joseph Grimaldi, and Joseph Imbrogno presented oral presentations at The 247th ACS National Meeting in Dallas, TX March 16-20, 2014. Joseph Imbrogno presented work using combinatorial chemistry in conjunction with our novel high throughput screening system in order to discover and develop better anti-fouling membranes. Joseph Grimaldi discussed how an in vitro immobilized enzyme system can be used to overcome feedback inhibition and alcohol toxicity in a biofuels production process. Dr. Georges Belfort presented work, which explored the uses of antimicrobial peptides (AMP) and "Molecular Drill Bits". This project was a colaboration between the Wadsworth Center and RPI. Seth Pearson (RPI) designed the AMPs, John Kwak (RPI) synthesized the AMPs, Brian Murray (RPI) purified and tested the AMPs in vitro, and Zachary Kloos (Wadsworth Center) tested the AMPs in vivo. In additon to his oral presentation Dr. Belfort was invited to give a live webcast press conference on the topic. (Watch Dr. Belfort's Press Conference)

Oak Rigde Nantional Lab:
In October Brian Murray and Dr. Mirco Sorci visited Oak Ridge National Lab and investigated the interactions between Ab1-42 and antimicrobial peptides with lipid bilayers, using reflectometry and Extended Q-Range Small-Angle Neutron Scattering Diffractometer (EQ-SANS) at the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS).  This is a collaboration with John Katsaras’ Lab located in the Joint Institute for Neutron Science (JINS) and Dr. Jan Kmetko, Assistant Professor of Physics at Kenyon College

AVS 2013:
Dr. Mirco Sorci attended the AVS 60th International Symposium and Exhibition in Long Beach, CA (October 27 – November 1).  He presented an oral presentation entitled “QCM-D as a Novel Technique to Investigate Nuclear Pore Transport”.  This is part of a collaboration with the Michael Rout and Brian Chait labs at Rockefeller University, NY City.  During the meeting, he met Dr. Bengt H. Kasemo, Professor of Physics at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg and inventor of the QCM-D.

AIChE 2013:
Dr. Georges Belfort and Dr. Mirco Sorci attended the 2013 AIChE Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA (November 3-8).  Dr. Belfort co-chaired two sessions to honor Professors Henry Bungay’s and Howard Littman's career long accomplishments.  In addition, Bungay, Littman, their ex-students and colleagues, and the faculty of the Howard P. Isermann Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at RPI celebrated with a wonderful dinner at the Slanted Door Restaurant, Ferry Building, San Francisco.  Dr. Belfort also presented several papers: “Membrane Desalination: Limitations and Opportunities”, “Opportunities for Scalable Desalination” and “Aptamer Binding of Beta Amyloid for Early Detection of Alzheimer's Disease”.  Dr. Mirco Sorci presented a paper entitled “Exploring the Specificity of Nuclear Pore Transport Using AFM and QCM-D”.

From left to right: Eleftherios T. Papoutsakis, Robert D. Tanner, Bärbel Hahn-Hägerdal, Peter Gostomski, Henry Bungay, Susan T. Sharfstein, Yen-Han Lin, Michael Ladisch, and Georges Belfort

From left to right: Georges Belfort, Ah-Hyung Alissa Park, Joel L. Plawsky, Morris Morgan, Howard Littman, Stevan Jovanovic, Bruce D. HookJohn Paccione, Marc-Olivier Coppens, and L. S. Fan

Georges Belfort returned from sabbatical leave in the Langer Group, MIT and in the Chemical Engineering Department, MIT in April, 2012. Durring his sabbatical leave he presented three seminars: "Insight into the kinetics of oligomer formation during amyloidosis" (Chemical Engineering Department MIT, Chemical and Biological Engineering Department Tufts University) and "Membrane desalination: Where are we and what can we learn from fundamentals" (The Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy, MIT), three talks to various faculty group meetings (Robert Langer, Greg Stephanopoulos, Mike Strano) and attended additional group meetings of Greg Rutledge and K. Dane Wittrup. Georges also visited Daniel Anderson, Richard Braatz, Arup Chakraborty, Partick Doyle, Klavs Jensen, Roger Kamm, J. Christopher Love, and Chris Prather.

Reasearch in the Belfort Group:
Dr. Mirco Sorci is involved in four projects: (i) with Dr. Ryo Hayama, Rockefeller University, on fundamental measurements of the nuclear pore complex (NPC), (ii) with Ziyan Deng on developing a mimic for the NPC, (iii) with Dr. Myriam Cotten, Professor, Chemistry Department, Hamilton University on the disruption of lipid bilayers by antimicrobial peptides (AMP), and (iv) With Hon Chan on the development of an aptamer sensor for early detection of Alzheimer's Disease -Read More.
Joseph Grimaldi is conducting research on the development of a cell-free in vitro biofuels production system -Read More.
C. Seth Pearson collaborates with Marlene and Georges Belfort to develop an inhibitor to mycobacterium tuberculosis in Marlene Belfort's lab at UAlbany -Read More.
Brian Murray is focusing on the disruption of lipid bilayers with ab initio designed antimicrobial peptides (AMP) with Seth Pearson, and on the kinetics of Abeta1-42 variants -Read More.
Joseph Imbrogno continues previous research in using combinatorial chemistry to synthesize new anti-protein adhessive surfaces and the role of egg white varnishes in protecting ancient paintings -Read More.
Hon Chan is working with Dr. Sorci on the development of an aptamer sensor for early detection of Alzheimer's Disease in the Marlene Belfort Laboratory in UAlbany and on cloning, over-producing, and recovering of Abeta1-42 from E.coli with the help of Seth Pearson also in the M. Belfort Laboratory -Read More.