Dr. Dibakar Bhattacharyya, University of Kentucky Alumni Professor of Chemical Engineering, obtained his B.S in Chemical Engineering from Jadavpur University, M.S. from Northwestern University and his Ph.D. from Illinois Institute of Technology. Dr. Bhattacharyya is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He is the Co-Founder of the Center for Membrane Sciences at the University of Kentucky. The primary focus of Dr. Bhattacharyya's research in the last 25 years has been in the area of membrane separation (including biocatalytic reactions), environmental separations/reactions with nanometals, and functionalized materials and membranes for high capacity ion exchange and for tunable separations. He has published over 170 technical papers and 20 book chapters, and has extensive background in the field of pollution control and separation technologies.  Dr. Bhattacharyya has received a number of awards for his research and educational accomplishments including the 2004 Kirwan Prize for Outstanding Research, Larry K. Cecil AIChE Environmental Division Award, the Kentucky Academy of Sciences Distinguished Scientist Award and the University of Kentucky Great Teacher Awards. He was the Director of AIChE Environmental Division and North American Membrane Society for several years.  He was the Conference Co-Chair for the 2001 North American Membrane Society Annual Meeting, Lexington, KY. For the 2005 AICHE Annual Meeting Dr. Bhattacharyya was the Meeting Program Chair (MPC). At the 2007 North American Membrane Society Annual Meeting he was honored for his important contributions in the membrane field.

  • Research Objectives
  • Selected Publications


    His research interests include functionalized membranes (including layer-by-layer assembly), reverse osmosis (RO)/nanofiltration (NF)/pervaporation (PV) membrane transport,  membrane-based enzymatic catalysis; dehalogenation of hazardous organics by nanosized metals and by Chelate modified Fenton Reactions; Water treatment/reuse

    Membrane research:

    RO and NF membrane work includes: organic-membrane interactions, selective separations and protein fouling. Our recent developments include polyfunctionalized membranes and various environmental applications including tunable NF type separations. There is also a critical need for new generation biofunctional membrane materials for enzymatic bioreactors. Our joint research with the UK Center for Membrane Sciences has demonstrated highly enhanced activities with covalently attached site-directed enzymes in microfiltration type membranes. Recent and current research funding include: National Science Foundation, U.S. EPA, NSF-IGERT,  DOD-WES,  Luna Innovations, Inc., SmithKline Beecham Corporation, and Daramic, Inc, Huber Corporation, P&G.

    Destruction of Hazardous Organics:

    Significant advances have been made to reduce environmental pollution problems caused by the discharge of hazardous compounds. A variety of oxidative and reductive processes  have been developed for the destruction of hazardous organics.  Our current work includes nanosized metal based reductions, and chelated Fenton reactions for oxidation. Current research funding include: NIEHS, U.S. EPA STAR Nanotechnology Grant, NSF-IGERT Program,  and Dow Chemical Corp.

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    SELECTED PUBLICATIONS AND PATENTS (Out of 170 published papers and 20 book chapters)

    U.S. Patents

    “Method of destroying hazardous organic compounds”, US Patent No. US05986160, issued 11/16/99 

    “Membrane-based sorbent for heavy metal sequestration”, US Patent No. US06103121, issued 8/15/2000 

    "Silica-based membrane sorbent for heavy metal sequestration", U.S. Patent No. 06306301, issued 10/23/2001 

    “Preparing and regenerating a composite polymer and silica-based membrane”, U.S. Patent No. 06544418, issued 4/8/03 

    “Method of preparing a composite polymer and silica-based membrane”, U.S. Patent No. 06544419, issued 4/8/03


     Xu, J., and Bhattacharyya, D., “Fe/Pd Nanoparticle Immobilization in Microfiltration Membrane Pores: Synthesis, Characterization, and Application in the Dechlorination of Polychlorinated Biphenyls”, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 46, 2348-2359 (2007).

    Smuleac, V., Butterfield, D., A., and Bhattacharyya, D.,” Layer-by-Layer Assembled Microfiltration Membranes for Biomolecule Immobilization and Enzymatic Catalysis”, LANGMUIR, 22, 10118-10124 (2006).

    Makkuni, A., Varma, R.S., Sikdar, S.K., and D. Bhattacharyya. Vapor Phase Mercury Sorption by Organic Sulfide Modified Bimetallic Iron-Copper Nano-particle Aggregates, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 46, 1305-1315 (2007).

    Ahuja, D., L. Bachas, and D. Bhattacharyya, “Modified Fenton reaction for trichlorophenol dechlorination by enzymatically generated H2O2 and gluconic acid chelate”, Chemosphere, 66, 2193–2200 (2007).

    Datta, S., P. D. Ray, A. Nath, M. Toborek, D. Bhattacharyya, “Effect of Pre-Filtration on Selective Isolation of Tat Protein by Affinity Membrane Separation: Analysis of Flux, Separation Efficiency, and Processing Time”, Invited Paper for the Special Issue of Separation Science and Technology Journal (In Press, 2007).

    Meyer, D. and Bhattacharyya, D. “Impact of Membrane-Immobilization on Particle Formation and Trichloroethylene Dechlorination For Bimetallic Fe/Ni Nanoparticles In Cellulose Acetate Membranes”, J. Physical Chemistry B , IN PRESS( 2007).

    Bhattacharyya, D. and Shah, D., “Membranes for Environmental and Pharmaceutical Applications”, in Toward Zero Discharge- Innovative Methodology and Technologies for Process Pollution Prevention, p384-406, John Wiley, (2005). 

    Meyer, D. E., Williams, M., and Bhattacharyya, D.  "Reverse Osmosis" in Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, John Wiley (2006). 

    Tee, Yit-Hong, Bhattacharyya, D. “Synthesis of Chitosan Membrane-Embedded Bimetallic Nanoparticles for the Remediation of Chlorinated Organics”, in “Membrane Advances, edited by Ho, et al”, John Wiley, In press (2006).

    Datta, S.;, Ray, P.; Nath, A.; Bhattacharyya, D.; “Recognition-based Separation of HIV-Tat Protein using Avidin–Biotin Interaction in Modified Microfiltration Membranes”, J. Membrane Science, 280, 298-310 (2006). 

    Ladhe, A. R.; Radomyselski, A.; Bhattacharyya, D.;” Ethoxylated Nonionic Surfactants in Hydrophobic Solvent: Interaction with Aqueous and Membrane-Immobilized Poly(acrylic acid)”, Langmuir; 22(2); 615-621(2006).

    Venkatachalam, K., Gavalas, V. G., Xu, S., Leon, A. C., Bhattacharyya, D., Bachas, L. G., “Poly(amino acid)-facilitated electrochemical growth of metal nanoparticles”, (Special issue:BIOMATERIALS) J. Nanosci. Nanotechnol. ,In press, 2006.

    Smuleac, V., D. A. Butterfield, and D. Bhattacharyya,” Polythiol-Functionalized Alumina Membranes for Mercury Capture”, J. Membrane Science, 251, 169-178 (2005). 

    Xu, J., Dozier A. & Bhattacharyya, D., “Synthesis of nanoscale bimetallic particles in polyelectrolyte membrane matrix for reductive transformation of halogenated organic compounds”, J. Nanoparticle Res., 7, 449-467 (2005). 

    Tee, Yit-Hong, Grulke, E., Bhattacharyya, D., “Role of Ni/Fe Nanoparticle Composition on the Degradation of Trichloroethylene from Water”, Industrial Engineering & Chemistry Research, 44, 7062-7072 (2005). 

    Xu, J. & Bhattacharyya, D., “Membrane-based Bimetallic Nanoparticles for Environmental Remediation: Synthesis and Reactive Properties”, Environmental Progress, 24, 358-366 (2005).   

    Li, Y. C., Bachas, L.G., Bhattacharyya, D., “Kinetics Studies of Trichlorophenol Destruction by Chelate-Based Fenton Reaction”, Environmental Engineering Science, 22, 756-771(2005). 

    Makkuni, A., , Varma, R.S., Sikdar, S.K., and Bhattacharyya, D, “ Aqueous and Vapor Phase Mercury Sorption by Inorganic Oxide Materials Functionalized with Sulfur Moieties”, Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy, Vol 7, 87-96 (2005).

    Hollman, A. M.; N. T. Scherrer; A. Cammers-Goodwin; D.  Bhattacharyya; “Separation of dilute electrolytes in poly(amino acid) functionalized microporous membranes: model evaluation and experimental results”, J. Membrane Science, 239, 65-79 (2004).   

    Hollman, A. M.; Bhattacharyya, D.; “Pore Assembled Multilayers of Charged Polypeptides in Microporous Membranes for Ion Separation”, Langmuir, 20, 5418-5424(2004).  

    Ahuja, D., V. Gavalas, L. Bachas, and D. Bhattacharyya, “Vitamin B12 – Based Dechlorination of Chlorinated Organics: Conventional and Electropolymerized Polypyrrole Film – Based Reduction”, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 43, 1049-1055 (2004).  

    Meyer, D., K. Wood, L. Bachas, and D. Bhattacharyya, “Degradation of Chlorinated Organics by Membrane-Immobilized Nanosized Metals”, Environmental Progress, 23, 232-242 (2004).  

    Smuleac, V., D. A. Butterfield, and D. Bhattacharyya, “Permeability and Separation Characteristics of Polypeptide-Functionalized Polycarbonate Track-Etched Membranes”, Chemistry of Materials, 16(14); 2762-2771(2004).

    Bhattacharyya, D. and Butterfield, A. (Editors), "New Insights into Membrane Science and Technology : Polymeric, Inorganic and Biofunctional Membranes", Elsevier Science,  (2003)

          Bhattacharyya, D., Ritchie, S., "An Overview of Selected Membrane Techniques for Environmental Applications", Journal of the Chinese Institute of Chemical Engineers for the special issue in honor of Dr. Norman Li,  (2002).

          Ritchie, S.M.C. and Bhattacharyya, D., "Membrane-Based Hybrid Processes for High Water Recovery and Selective Inorganic Pollutant Separation," J. Hazardous Materials, 2788, 1-11 (2002). 

         Bhanushali, D., S. Kloos, and D. Bhattacharyya, "Solute Transport in Solvent-Resistant Nanofiltration Membranes for Non-Aqueous Systems: Experimental Results and Modeling", J. Membrane Sci.,  (2002) 

         Hollman, A. M., and D. Bhattacharyya, "Controlled Permeability and Ion Exclusion in Microporous Membranes Functionalized with Poly-L-glutamic Acid", LANGMUIR, 18, 5946-5952( 2002).

          Bhanushali, D., S. Kloos, C. Kurth, and D. Bhattacharyya, "Performance of Solvent-Resistant Membranes for Non-Aqueous Systems: Solvent Permeation Results and Modeling", J. Membrane Science, 189, 1-21 (2001).        

    Ritchie, S.M.C. and Bhattacharyya, D., “Polymeric Ligand-Based Functionalized Materials and Membranes for Ion Exchange,” Book chapter for Ion Exchange and Solvent Extraction (ed. A.K. SenGupta), Vol. 14, 81-118,(2001).

    Liu, J., J. Wang, L.G. Bachas, and D. Bhattacharyya, “Activity Studies of Immobilized Subtilisin on Functionalized Pure Cellulose-Based Membranes”,Biotechnology Progress, IN PRESS (ASAP article) (2001).

     Hestekin,J.A., Smothers, C.N.,and Bhattacharyya, D., “Nanofiltration of Charged Organic Molecules in Aqueous and Non-Aqueous Solvents,”in Membrane Technology in the Chemical Industry(ed. by Nunes and Peinemann), Wiley-VCH, Invited Chapter, p 173-190 (2001).

     Butterfield, D.A., D. Bhattacharyya, S. Daunert, and L. Bachas, "Catalytic Biofunctional Membranes Containing Site-Specifically Immobilized Enzyme Arrays: A Review”, J. MEMBRANE SCIENCE, 181,29-37 (2001).

     Ritchie, S.M.C., Kissick, K.E., Bachas, L.G., Sikdar, S.K., Parikh, C., and Bhattacharyya, D., "Polycysteine and Other Polyamino Acid Functionalized Microfiltration Membranes for Heavy Metal Capture", Environmental Science & Technology, 35(15), 3252-3258 (2001). 

    Ritchie, S.M.C. and Bhattacharyya, D., "Membrane-Based Hybrid Processes for High Water Recovery and Selective Inorganic Pollutant Separation," J. Hazardous Materials, IN PRESS (2001).

     Shah, D., A. Ghorpade, R. Hannah, K. Kissick, and D. Bhattacharyya, “Pervaporation of Alcohol-Water and Dimethylformamide-Water Mixtures using Hydrophilic Zeolite NaA Membranes: Mechanisms and Experimental Results”, J. MEMBRANE Science, 179,185-205 (2000).

    Badr, I. H., J.A. Hestekin, D. Bhattacharyya, and L.G. Bachas, “Electrochemical Assay for Highly Charged Polyaminoacids: Application to Polyaminoacid Functionalized Microfiltration Membranes”, ELECTROANALYSIS, 12, 1368-1372(2000).

    Shah, D., A. Ghorpade, W. Mangum, and D. Bhattacharyya, “Pervaporation of Pharmaceutical Waste Streams and Synthetic Mixtures Using Water Selective Membranes”, ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRESS, 18, 21-29 (1999).

    Ritchie,S., Bachas, L., Sikdar, S., and D. Bhattacharyya, “Surface Modification of Silica and Cellulose-Based Microfiltration Membranes with Functional Polyamino Acids for Heavy Metal Sorption”, LANGMUIR, 15, 6346-6357 (1999).

    Gotpagar, J.K., S. Lyuksyutov,  R. Cohn, E.A. Grulke, and D. Bhattacharyya “Reductive Dehalogenation of Trichloroethylene with Zero-Valent Iron: Surface Profiling Microscopy and Rate Enhancement Studies”, LANGMUIR, 15, 8412-8420 (1999).

    Bhattacharyya, D., J.A. Hestekin, P. Brushaber, L. Cullen, L.G. Bachas, and S.K. Sikdar, “Novel Poly-Glutamic Acid Functionalized Microfiltration Membranes for Sorption of Heavy Metals at High Capacity”, J. MEMBRANE SCIENCE, 141, 121-135 (1998).

    Bhattacharyya, D., B.M. Kim, J.Hestekin, and S.K. Sikdar, “Applications of Membranes for Treatment of Hazardous Wastewaters”, in Encyclopedia of Environmental Analysis and Remediation, John Wiley, New York, p2684-2708 (1998).

      Bhattacharyya, D., W.C. Mangum, and M.E. Williams, “Reverse Osmosis”, in Encyclopedia of Environmental Analysis and Remediation, John Wiley, New York, p4149-4166 (1998).





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