This is our far-flung group of speakers
Dedication. Expertise. Passion.
Dr, Lidietta Giorno
Institute on Membrane Technology of the National Research Council of Italy, CNR-ITM.
Lidietta Giorno served as The Director of the Institute from May 2009 till February 2019. She is an expert in membrane science and membrane bioengineering, focusing on biohybrid, bioinspired, nanostructured membranes, biocatalytic membranes and membrane reactors, membrane emulsification, downstream (bio)processing, integrated membrane processes, water treatment, and membrane biorefinery. She was awarded The International Awards "Guido Dorso" for Research in 2011 and the Sapio Red Carpet Award in 2016. She has served on the European Membrane Society Council as the President of the EMS Council and has been Honorary Member of the EMS since 2014 and the editor of the Membrane News - the EMS Newsletter since 2002. Lidietta Giorno is co-author of over 300 peer-reviewed papers, various books, and the Encyclopedia on Membranes (Springer). She is Editor of the Journal of Membrane Science since January 2020.
Senior Membrane Scientist
Dr. Eng. Abaynesh Yihdego Gebreyohannes
Abaynesh Y. Gebreyohannes is a Senior Membrane Scientist at Osmoses, working on the development and scale-up of membranes and modules. She obtained her PhD at the University of Calabria, Italy, KU Leuven, Belgium and University of Paul Sabatier, Toulouse III, France, (Erasmus Mundus Doctorate in Membrane Engineering - EUDIME). She uniquely combines fundamental research in membrane science to process engineering, including large-scale membrane fabrication, their characterization, industrial module preparation, process integration and performance evaluation for broad scope liquid and gas separation. She has more than 35 papers, several book chapters and 1 patent. She is recipient of the prestigious Excellence in Membrane Engineering award by EFCE, Best Exploitation of Research-Technology & Knowledge Transfer by KU Leuven, EMJD by EU, FWO Research Grant etc. She is Executive committee for AMSIC and Chair for AMSIC4 and active member of EMS and WA-MS. Outside the laboratory, Abaynesh finds joy in spending quality time with her children, showcasing her culinary skills in the kitchen, conquering mountains, and contributing to community development through volunteering. She is particularly passionate about building wet-labs and providing hands-on training initiatives in various parts of Africa, making a positive impact beyond the realms of her scientific endeavors.
Dr. Ivo Vankelecom
Faculty of Bio-science Engineering, KU Leuven
Ivo Vankelecom studied Bioscience Engineering at the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium, where he graduated in 1990. In 1994, he obtained his PhD in Applied Biological Sciences from the Department of Interphase Chemistry on "Inorganic Porous Fillers in Organic Polymer Membranes". He subsequently worked at KU Leuven as postdoc on membrane catalysis. During this period, he spent 6 months at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Beersheva, Israel) in 1999 and at Imperial College (London, England) in 2001. He is specialized in membrane development for solvent filtrations, RO and NF, gas separations, pervaporation, membrane bioreactors, flow batteries among others. He published more than 399 research articles, ranked among the worldwide top-100 most influential researchers in the field of chemical engineering. His main projects are: Membrane preparation and characterization, Flow battery, Organic Solvent Nanofiltration for Catalyst Recovery, Upscaling Stable Supports, Development of conjugated polymers for gas separation membranes, Solvent resistant polymeric membranes, Polyelectrolyte multilayer membranes, Pervaporation membranes and CO2 recovery from flue gas and biogas.
Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs
Dr. Suzana, Nunes
Suzana Nunes is the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs at KAUST, where she is a Professor of Chemical and Environmental Science and Engineering. She has a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Campinas, Brazil, was a Humboldt postdoc Fellow in polymer physical chemistry at the Johannes Gutenberg University, visiting scientist at the Max-Planck for Polymer Science in Mainz (Germany) and Tokyo Institute of Technology and led research on membranes for renewable energy at Helmholtz Association in Germany. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK, and of the Sao Paulo Academy of Science, Brazil. She is the laureate of the 2023 L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science International Award for Africa and the Arab States recognized for her achievements in chemistry. She is an Associate Editor of ACS Applied Polymer Materials and a member of the Journal of Membrane Science board. Her lab is dedicated to the development and characterization of new polymeric materials, their translation into membranes for liquid, gas, and vapor separations. She targets sustainable separations that would enable less energy-intensive processes in the chemical, petrochemical, and pharmaceutical industries.
Catholic University of Louvain (UCLouvain)
Sara Chergaoui is a researcher in membrane science and engineering. Upon the completion of her Bachelor's at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco, she joined the Erasmus Mundus Master in Membrane Engineering in Autumn 2018. A program that allowed her to gain fundamentals on membranes and research, and to learn about different cultures. Each semester took place in a different country around Europe: France, Czech Republic, Portugal and Belgium. Enjoying academia, research and traveling, Sara carried on with doctoral studies as of October 2020 where she investigated the role of membrane contactors in controlling antisolvent crystallization at UCLouvain in Belgium under the supervision of prof. Patricia Luis and prof. Damien P. Debecker. During her doctoral studies, Sara got to conduct research as well in CNR-ITM in Italy with Dr. Elena Tocci, at the university Duisburg-Essen with prof. Mathias Ulbricht in Germany, and at MIT with prof. Allan Myerson in the USA.
Founder and CEO
Dr. Abelhakim El Fadil
Hakim is an experienced professional in the water industry with a Ph.D. in membranes. With over eight years at Dow Chemical Company, he rose to become a Senior Technical Representative, overseeing operations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He is also launching an entrepreneurial venture called Aquadviser and hosts the "Smart Water Solutions" podcast, engaging with water industry and academic experts.
Associate Professor and co-Director for the Joint Research Center for Water, Environmental Science and Technology
Prof Soraya Malinga is currently an Associate Professor and co-Director for the Joint Research Center for Water, Environmental Science and Technology. Her research interest involves finding sustainable solutions by using membrane technology to solve problems relating to water quality. This approach involves applying the principles of nanoscience and nanotechnology to develop materials using membrane technology for drinking and wastewater treatment. She has graduated 25 postgraduate students at PhD, MSc, Honours and B-Tech level. She is currently supervising and co-supervising 12 student at PhD and MSc level. She has received recognition for outstanding contribution to building South Africa’s scientific and research knowledge base under the distinguished young women scientist awards issued by the South African Women in Science Awards in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology (2018) and as a finalist at the NSTF awards (2023). Prof Malinga makes herself visible through publications, attending both national and international conferences and serving on several committees either as a reviewer for grants; publications or conference attendance, International collaborations (France, Tunisia, Mali and India), Industrial partnerships (ESKOM) and scientific boards (AMSIC).
Senior Research Scientist
Dr. Abdoulaye Doucouré
ITA International Virginia, USA
Dr Abdoulaye Doucouré holds a PhD in Materials Chemistry from the University of Montpellier (France) and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Chemical Engineering department of the University of Minnesota (USA). He joined ITA International (Virginia, USA) as Senior Research Scientist in 2023, a private company specialized in delivering security, data analytics and environmental testing services with a global outreach. His work focuses on developing nano-enabled tools for addressing health risk exposures associated with engineered materials and micropollutants. He has previously supported the R&D department of Hollingsworth & Vose (HV) for 11 years, and the R&D department of Pall Corporation (New York) for 11 years. Abdoulaye’s technical expertise encompasses nonwoven media fabrication processes, lamination/thin film deposition, irradiating treatment of polymeric membranes, and several testing protocols applied to air filtration and solid-liquid separation. He is the inventor of 19 internationally patented technologies supporting trademarked filtration products, has written around 50 technical articles. He is a guest editor for Frontiers in Membrane Science and Technology and was a committee member of the Filtration group for the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics industry between 2012 and 2019 – i.e., INDA, USA. Abdoulaye is an Associate Member of Donyatek, located in Bamako, a company which he co-founded in 2018, and that is devoted to establishing clean water capabilities for cities, factories, and communities in Mali. He is the current Executive Member and Director for Academia-industry Relations and Professional Development of the African Membrane Society (AMSIC), a non-profit organization, which he co-founded in 2014, and that seeks to grow resilient membrane filtration and sustainable energy capacities across Africa. DISTINCTIONS & CERTIFICATIONS PAST 2010 •MEET AFRICA/ INCO grant awarded to DONYATEK (www.donyatek.org) – 2022 •Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification from North Carolina State University – 2014 •Hollingsworth & Vose Presidential Award (Technology Department) – 2014
Ramato Ashu TUFA
University of Calabria, Italy
Dr. Ramato Ashu Tufa is currently a researcher at the University of Calabria (Italy), exploring novel membrane methods for the extraction of critical raw materials from seawater. Formerly, he was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Co-fund postdoc fellow at the Technical University of Denmark (Denmark), and a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual postdoc fellow at the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague (Czech Republic). He received his Erasmus Mundus joint PhD degree from the University of Calabria (Italy), the University of Twente (The Netherlands) and the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague (Czech Republic) in 2016, within the program “Erasmus Mundus doctorate in Membrane Engineering”. His main research interests lie in the development of membrane material and processes for clean water and energy, including Membrane distillation/Crystallization, (Reverse) Electrodialysis and water/CO2 electrolysis.
Rita Namoe TABI
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Rita’s current research is focused on the treatment of groundwater. Specifically, the removal of iron, manganese, fluoride, and nitrate from groundwater using novel nanofiltration membranes. She is AMSIC Co-Director of New Talent and Leadership Committee, and a member of the Ghana Institution of Engineering. Some of her publications are: 1. Tabi, R. N., Agyemang, F. O., Mensah-Darkwa, K., Arthur, E. K., Gikunoo, E., & Momade, F. (2021). Zeolite synthesis and its application in water defluorination. Materials Chemistry and Physics, 261, 124229. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matchemphys.2021.124229 2. “A Review on Spiral Wound Membrane Modules for Groundwater Treatment”, under review by Frontiers in Membrane Science and Technology. Manuscript ID: 1343651 3. “Appraisal of groundwater quality and hydrochemistry in three regions of Ghana: Implication for drinking purposes”, under review by Groundwater for Sustainable Development. Manuscript Number: GSD-D-24-00028