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, atmospheric CO2 levels, and the sustainable management of natural resources are 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 CO2 removal and 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
  • Design of high-performance electrodialysis membranes
  • Synthesis of novel porous membranes for ultrafiltration and emerging applications
  • Facilitated transport membranes for highly selective ion/ion separations

Selected Recent Publications:

Chamani, H.; Rabbani, A.; Russell, K.P.; Zydney, A.L.; Gomez, E.D.; Hattrick-Simpers, J.; Werber, J.R. Data-science-based reconstruction of 3-D membrane pore structure using a single 2-D micrograph. J. Membr. Sci. 2023, 678, 121673. DOI: 10.1016/j.memsci.2023.121673

Werber, J.R.; Peterson, C.; Stipanic, D.F.; Hillmyer, M.A. Polymeric Microcapsules as Robust Mimics of Emulsion Liquid Membranes for Selective Ion Separations. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2022, 56, 17352-17363. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.2c07242

Peterson, C.H.; Werber, J.R.; Lee, H.K.; Hillmyer, M.A. Tailored Mesoporous Microspheres by Polymerization-Induced Microphase Separation in Suspension. ACS Appl. Polym. Mater. 2022, 4, 4219-4233. DOI: 10.1021/acsapm.2c00210

Werber, J.R.; Peterson, C.; Van Zee, N.; Hillmyer, M.A. Functionalized Polymersomes from a Polyisoprene–Activated Polyacrylamide Precursor. Langmuir. 2021, 37, 490-498. DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.0c03157

Hampu, N.; Werber, J.R.; Chan, W.Y.; Feinberg, E.C.; Hillmyer, M.A. Next-generation ultrafiltration membranes enabled by block polymers. ACS Nano. 2020. 14, 16446-16471. DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.0c07883

Ritt, C.L.; Werber, J.R.; Wang, M.; Yang, Z.; Zhao, Y.; Kulik, H.J.; Elimelech, M. Ionization behavior of nanoporous polyamide membranes. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2020, 117, 30191-30200. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2008421117

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.