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CEE@UCI BTI Seminar Series | Nick Chew, Watered-Down” Justice: Developing Advanced Functional Materials to Address Environmental Health Disparities ♥ ★

February 7 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

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CEE@UCI BTI Seminar Series

Watered-Down” Justice:
Developing Advanced Functional Materials to Address Environmental Health Disparities


Presented by:
Nick Chew, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dept. of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Gillings School of Global Public Health
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


Monday – February 7, 2022, 12:00pm – 1:30pm PST

VIA Zoom:
https://uci.zoom.us/j/96997906843

Meeting ID: 969 9790 6843


Abstract:

Having access to safe and affordable water is a basic human right. Yet, when it comes to clean drinking water in America, socioeconomic status and race still matter. Municipal under-bounding gerrymanders the reach of municipal water to exclude low-income communities that typically have large populations of People of Color, creating water inequality. These communities thus have to rely on domestic-wells, adding undue burden on them to perform their own treatment of well water. Without the necessary education nor financial means to select a proper technology or device, marginalized communities are disproportionately exposed to toxic legacy and emerging water contaminants, rendering them vulnerable to adverse health outcomes. In this talk, I will demonstrate how the development of novel membranes and granular sorbents can be used to remediate oilfield-produced water and water contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). I will elucidate the structure–property–performance relationships of the aforementioned materials under operational-relevant conditions. I will then present empirical evidence substantiating the translational potential of these materials for implementation in existing and planned treatment facilities as well as the average American household. Finally, I will discuss my planned contributions to the Black Thriving Initiative.


Speaker bio:

Nick Chew is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His postdoctoral work focuses on the development of innovative, sustainable solutions for the removal of PFAS from drinking-water sources. Nick earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the Interdisciplinary Graduate School at Nanyang Technological University, where he did research on performance enhancement of the membrane-distillation process via membrane surface modification for oilfield-produced water treatment. His dissertation won the 2020 American Water Works Association’s First Place Academic Achievement Award for best doctoral dissertation in the field of public water supply. Nick’s research interests center around the development and application of improved materials for alternative water-treatment processes that address environmental challenges and its associated and disproportionate adverse health complications on communities of color and low socioeconomic status, and provide these communities with effective and affordable ways to treat their contaminated water. His innovative research works have been published in the Journal of Membrane Science, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, Applied Energy, and Advances in Colloid and Interface Science.