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Make It or Break It: Addressing Critical Membrane-based Challenges via Polymer Chemistry| OIM Speaker Seminar with Brian Long

Friday, January 21 at 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Willamette Hall, 110
1371 East 13th Avenue, Eugene, OR

This event will be held in person and on Zoom.

Whether synthetic or biological in origin, membranes are of critical importance to countless processes that impact our lives, or even regulate life itself. For example, synthetic membranes are often used in challenging industrial separations, such as the purification of natural gas feedstocks, production of nitrogen from atmospheric air, hydrogen recovery in synthesis gas plants, and even the removal of harmful greenhouse gases from our atmosphere. On the other hand, lipid membranes that envelop our cells contain thousands of protein complexes that regulate and perform essential biological functions. The fundamental understanding of the biological role of these proteins is crucial to many ongoing research efforts, such as targeted drug design. The Long Research Group strives to harness the power of polymer chemistry to develop improved fundamental understandings within these aspects of membrane science: the design and synthesis of functional polymeric membranes (make it) and the use of amphiphilic copolymers for the controlled disruption and extraction of biological membranes (break it). More specifically, we will show our progress toward the design of substituted polynorbornene-based materials for the separation of greenhouse gases and purification of natural gas, as well as the development of next-generation styrene-maleic acid copolymers to facilitate enhanced trans-membrane protein extraction efficiencies and probe its mechanistic details.

Brian Long studied chemistry as an undergraduate at North Georgia College & State University (now UNG) and completed his B.S. degree in 2003. During his undergraduate career, he conducted research under the guidance of Prof. Dan Thompson at UNG, and as a participant in Furman University's NSF-REU program where he worked in the research groups of Profs. John Wheeler and Noel A. P. Kane-Maguire. BL began his doctoral research at the University of Texas at Austin where he worked under the guidance of Prof. C. Grant Willson and was co-advised by Prof. Christopher W. Bielawski. After receiving his Ph.D. in 2009, BL pursued his postdoctoral studies at Cornell University under the supervision of Prof. Geoffrey W. Coates. BL then returned to the southeast as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville (UTK) in 2011, and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure in 2018. His research and teaching efforts have been recognized through the Ffrancon Williams Endowed Faculty Award, an Army Research Office Young Investigator Award, a Department of Energy Early Career Research Program Award, and he was recently named the Gleb Mamantov Associate Professor of Chemistry in 2020.

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