Jay Werber

""Assistant Professor

B.Sc. (Washington Univ. St. Louis), M.Sc., Ph.D. (Yale), Post-doc (Minnesota)

Room: WB362 | Tel.: 416-978-4906 | Email: jay.werber@utoronto.ca

Website: www.labs.chem-eng.utoronto.ca/werber/ 

Research areas: membrane separations, desalination, water treatment



  • American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
  • American Water Works Association (AWWA)
  • Association of Environmental Engineering & Science Professors (AEESP)


  • Young Membrane Scientist, North American Membrane Society (2021)
  • Abel Wolman Fellowship, AWWA (2017)
  • Ellen Gonter Award, ACS Div. of Environmental Chemistry (2017)
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, U.S. National Science Foundation (2013)


Water scarcity and the sustainable management of natural resources will be seminal challenges in the coming century. My research group focuses on membrane materials and membrane separation processes with the aim of attaining breakthrough performance in molecular separations. We are especially motivated by regional, national, and global challenges involving the management of process water, drinking water, and natural resources such as metals. Our work covers all aspects of separation science, including the synthesis and characterization of high-performance membranes, fundamental transport studies through model membrane materials, and lab-scale demonstrations and optimization of separations processes. This integrated approach combines elements of transport phenomena, surface science, polymer synthesis, polymer physics, water chemistry, and nanotechnology.

Specific research areas include:

  • Fundamental transport behavior of polymeric desalination membranes
  • Synthesis of next-generation desalination membranes
  • Synthesis of novel porous membranes for ultrafiltration and emerging applications
  • Facilitated transport membranes for highly selective ion/ion separations

Selected Publications:

Hampu, N.; Werber, J.R.; Hillmyer, M.A. Co-casting highly selective dual-layer membranes with disordered block polymer selective layers. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2020, 12, 45351-45362.

Wang, Y.; Lee, J.; Werber, J.R.; Elimelech, M. Capillary-driven desalination in a synthetic mangrove. Science Advances 2020, 6, eaax5253. (Featured in the Guardian).

Ritt, C.L.*; Werber, J.R.*; Deshmukh, A.; Elimelech, M. Monte Carlo simulations of framework defects in layered two-dimensional nanomaterial desalination membranes: Implications for permeability and selectivity. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2019, 53, 6214-6224.

Werber, J.R; Elimelech, M. Permselectivity limits of biomimetic desalination membranes. Science Advances 2018, 4, eaar8266.

Lu, X.*; Feng, X.*; Werber, J.R.; Chu, C.; Zucker, I.; Kim, J.H.; Osuji, C.O.; Elimelech, M. Enhanced antimicrobial activity through the controlled alignment of graphene nanosheets. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2017, 201710996.

Werber, J.R.; Bull, S.K.; Elimelech, M. Acyl-chloride quenching following interfacial polymerization to modulate permeability and surface charge of desalination membranes. Journal of Membrane Science 2017, 535, 357-364.

Chen, D.*; Werber, J.R.*; Zhao, X.; Elimelech, M. A facile method to quantify the carboxyl group areal density in the active layer of polyamide thin-film composite membranes. Journal of Membrane Science 2017, 534, 100-108.

Werber, J.R.*; Deshmukh, A.*; Elimelech, M. Can batch or semi-batch processes save energy in reverse-osmosis desalination? Desalination 2017, 402, 109-122.

Werber, J.R.; Deshmukh, A.; Elimelech, M. The critical need for increased selectivity, not increased water permeability, for desalination membranes. Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2016, 3, 112-120.

Werber, J.R.; Osuji, C.O.; Elimelech, M. Materials for next-generation desalination and water purification membranes. Nature Reviews Materials 2016, 1, 16018.