Met a Graduate Student
Jeffrey Simkins
Ph.D. Candidate, Chemical & Biological Engineering

Jeffrey will be participating in the 2016 East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes for U.S. Graduate Students, a National Science Foundation award program offering American graduate students the change to complete research abroad. He will conduct his research at the University of Western Australia in Perth. He shared these thoughts about his trip and his research:

"The United Nations estimates that 2.8 billion people around the world currently suffer from a lack of access to sufficient water resources, with this number expected to rise sharply in the next several decades. As water stress conditions become more widespread, traditional water sources will need to be supplemented in order to meet demand. Over the last half century, reverse osmosis (RO) membranes have become the gold standard of water purification techniques due to their relatively low energy consumption, with RO membrane technology now accounting for 80% of existing desalination plants. A significant problem exhibited by RO systems is membrane biofouling, or degradation due to microbial growth. Currently, there are no options for the non-invasive diagnosis of biofouling, meaning that, by the time biofouling can be identified, the damage has already been done and the membrane requires replacement.

My project will pioneer a new magnetic-resonance based method for the early detection of microbially-induced degradation in reverse osmosis membranes, which are used for desalination and water purification. I will work on developing a new, magnetic-resonance based technique that will allow for early, non-invasive detection of biofouling, which will allow for the possibility of treating the problem before the microbes have become established."

More About Jeffrey

Jeff at research rendezvous

Hometown:    Bozeman, MT

Education history:   B.S., Bucknell University, Biology

Why did you want to attend graduate school? What drew you to Montana State University?
I love school and fell in love with research as an undergraduate. In the end, I want to be stay in academia as a teaching professor. Montana State was appealing to me due to its strong engineering program, the beauty of Bozeman, and the phenomenal academic culture here. At MSU, professors understand that a balance of work, life and recreation is essential to health, happiness, and success. In other words, we know how work hard as well as how to have fun!