Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Israel-Chicago Partnership Targets Water Resource Innovations

Published: Monday, June 24, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, June 24, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Partnership is to create new materials and processes for making clean, fresh drinking water more plentiful and less expensive by 2020.

The University of Chicago and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will begin funding a series of ambitious research collaborations that apply the latest discoveries in nanotechnology.

The announcement came June 23 following a meeting in Jerusalem among Israeli President Shimon Peres, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer, Ben-Gurion University President Rivka Carmi and leading scientists in the field. The joint projects will explore innovative solutions at the water-energy nexus, developing more efficient ways of using water to produce energy and using energy to treat and deliver clean water.

The University of Chicago also brings to the effort two powerful research partners already committed to clean water research: the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill., and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.

“We feel it is critical to bring outstanding scientists together to address water resource challenges that are being felt around the world, and will only become more acute over time,” said Zimmer. “Our purification challenges in the Great Lakes region right now are different from some of the scarcity issues some of our colleagues at Ben-Gurion are addressing, but our combined experience will be a tremendous asset in turning early-stage technologies into innovative solutions that may have applications far beyond local issues.”

“Clean, plentiful water is a strategic issue in the Middle East and the world at large, and a central research focus of our university for more than three decades,” said Carmi. “We believe that this partnership will enhance state-of-the-art science in both universities, while having a profound effect on the sustainable availability of clean water to people around the globe.”

The first wave of research proposals include fabricating new materials tailored to remove contaminants, bacteria, viruses and salt from drinking water at a fraction of the cost of current technologies; biological engineering that will help plants maximize their own drought-resistance mechanisms; and polymers that can change the water retention properties of soil in agriculture.

UChicago, BGU and Argonne have jointly committed more than $1 million in seed money over the next two years to support inaugural projects, with the first projects getting under way this fall.

One proposed project would attempt to devise multi-functional and anti-fouling membranes for water purification. These membranes, engineered at the molecular level, could be switched or tuned to remove a wide range of biological and chemical contaminants and prevent the formation of membrane-fouling bacterial films. Keeping those membranes free of fouling would extend their useful lives and decrease energy usage while reducing the operational cost of purifying water.

Another proposal focuses on developing polymers for soil infusion or seed coatings to promote water retention. Such polymers conjure visions of smart landscapes that can substantially promote agricultural growth while reducing irrigation needs.

Officials from both the U.S. and Israel hailed the collaboration as an example of the potential for collaborative innovation that can improve quality of life and boost economic vitality.

“Chicago’s worldwide leadership in water management continues to grow, as we invest in our water infrastructure, creating jobs for our residents and economic activity in our neighborhoods. I strongly support this partnership, and I look forward to working with leading institutions like BGU and the University of Chicago to create innovations and opportunities for the future,” said Emanuel.

The institutions have moved swiftly following the signing of a memorandum of understanding in Chicago on March 8 to explore a research partnership that would innovate water production and purification technologies to meet a growing thirst for freshwater resources globally. Leading the efforts are Matthew Tirrell, the Pritzker Director of UChicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering, and Moshe Gottlieb, BGU’s Frankel Professor of Chemical Engineering.

For its part, the Institute for Molecular Engineering will commit tens of millions of dollars to the molecular engineering of water resources over the next decade. The institute is pursuing the molecular engineering of water resources as one of five emerging research themes, with plans to hire up to six faculty members specializing in this area. BGU researchers will have a significant presence in Hyde Park to further facilitate the collaborations.

“The Institute for Molecular Engineering aims to bring molecular-level science to technological problems of global importance,” Tirrell said. “Water technology clearly meets that standard, and the institute brings new ideas for materials, membranes, biotechnologies and catalytic technologies, among other approaches, that could address major needs in this domain.”

Tirrell’s and Gottlieb’s teams met for two days in Israel in April to explore their mutual interests in water chemistry, materials science, flow in soils and other porous substances, microbiology and nanotechnology. The first day of meetings took place on BGU’s main campus in Be’er-Sheva. The researchers reconvened for a second day at BGU’s Sede Boqer campus, site of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research.

A BGU contingent will pay a reciprocal visit to Chicago this autumn, following the final selection of their first collaborative projects, to participate in a workshop that will sharpen their research focus.

The Israeli government founded BGU with a mandate to spearhead the development of the Negev Desert. BGU has worked at the forefront of water-related research for more than four decades, having developed several innovative technologies in the field. Work at the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research has helped make it possible for Israel to produce more than 60 percent of its freshwater needs by desalination.

Tirrell’s team includes researchers at Argonne, which UChicago manages for the U.S. Department of Energy. Argonne has assembled state-of-the-art infrastructure and gathered extensive scientific expertise for the study of clean water technologies. The laboratory’s water-research portfolio includes projects pertaining to wastewater discharges into Lake Michigan, the effects of Glen Canyon Dam operations on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, and carbon tetrachloride contamination of surface and groundwater in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

Researchers at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole have been prominent in bringing problems of water contamination to the attention of scientists and the public. MBL brings additional strengths in biological sciences and the marine environment to this developing partnership. UChicago and MBL recently signed a landmark affiliation, effective July 1, joining the leadership and scientific eminence of the two institutions, while bringing outstanding researchers together for innovative collaborations and education programs in microbial sciences, molecular engineering and related areas.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

New Form of DNA Modification May Carry Inheritable Information
Scientists have described the surprising discovery and function of a new DNA modification in insects, worms and algae.
Friday, May 08, 2015
Shape-Shifting Molecule Tricks Viruses Into Mutating Themselves To Death
Study uses two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy to help distinguish between normal and shape-shifted structures.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Drug-Development Grants Focus On Sleep Apnea, Asthma Research
NIH grants awarded to two University of Chicago research teams will help to develop novel treatments for sleep apnea and asthma.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Gut Bacteria that Protect Against Food Allergies Identified
Common gut bacteria prevent sensitization to allergens in a mouse model for peanut allergy, paving the way for probiotic therapies to treat food allergies.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Researchers Identify ‘Fat Gene’ Associated with Obesity
Mutations within the gene FTO have been implicated as the strongest genetic determinant of obesity risk in humans, but the mechanism behind this link remained unknown.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Autism and Intellectual Disability Incidence Linked with Environmental Factors
Although autism and intellectual disability have genetic components, environmental causes are thought to play a role.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Staphylococcus Aureus Bacteria Turns Immune System Against Itself
Around 20 percent of all humans are persistently colonized with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, including the antibiotic-resistant strain MRSA.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Staphylococcus aureus Bacteria Turns Immune System Against Itself
Scientists use primary human immune defense mechanism to destroy white blood cells.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Genetic Analysis Reveals Insights into Genetics of OCD, Tourette’s
Major differences between the genetic makeup of obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette’s syndrome, providing the first direct confirmation that both are highly heritable.
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Computer Modeling Shows Crucial Function of Water Molecules in Proteins
Scientists used molecular simulations that modeled a potassium channel and its immediate cellular environment, atom for atom.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Multiple Research Teams Unable to Confirm High-Profile Alzheimer’s Study
Teams of highly respected Alzheimer’s researchers failed to replicate what appeared to be breakthrough results for the treatment of this brain disease when they were published last year in the journal Science.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Gifts to Boost University of Chicago as Hub for Biomedical 'Big Data'
Two major gifts will build momentum behind the University of Chicago’s leadership in biomedical computation.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
International Technology Partnership to Focus on Water Problems
The University of Chicago and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev sign agreement that would create new water production and purification technologies for regions of the globe where fresh water resources are scarce.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Watery Research Theme to Flow Through New Tokmakoff Lab
Andrei Tokmakoff to use the world’s shortest infrared light pulses to pluck molecular bonds.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Computational Center Will Study the Past and Future of Knowledge
Templeton Foundation awards $5.2 million for Computation Institute's Metaknowledge Network.
Monday, March 04, 2013
Scientific News
NIH Study Finds Calorie Restriction Lowers Some Risk Factors for Age-Related Diseases
Two-year trial did not produce expected metabolic changes, but influenced other life span markers.
Immunotherapy Agent Benefits Patients with Drug-Resistant Multiple Myeloma in First Human Trial
Daratumumab proved generally safe in patients, even at the highest doses.
Low-level Arsenic Exposure Before Birth Associated with Early Puberty in Female Mice
Study examine whether low-dose arsenic exposure could have similar health outcomes in humans.
Inciting an Immune Attack On Cancer Cells
A new minimally invasive vaccine that combines cancer cells and immune-enhancing factors could be used clinically to launch a destructive attack on tumors.
‘Mutation-Tracking’ Blood Test for Breast Cancer
Scientists have developed a blood test for breast cancer able to identify which patients will suffer a relapse after treatment, months before tumours are visible on hospital scans.
Cellular Contamination Pathway for Heavy Elements Identified
Berkeley Lab scientists find that an iron-binding protein can transport actinides into cells.
Intensity of Desert Storms May Affect Ocean Phytoplankton
MIT study finds phytoplankton are extremely sensitive to changing levels of desert dust.
Common ‘Heart Attack’ Blood Test May Predict Future Hypertension
Small rises in troponin levels may have value as markers for subclinical heart damage and high blood pressure.
LaVision BioTec Reports on the Neuro Research on the Human Brain After Trauma
Company reports on the work of Dr Ali Ertürk from the Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research at LMU Munich.
NIH Study Shows No Benefit of Omega-3 Supplements for Cognitive Decline
Research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!