Rensselaer Professor Georges Belfort Named to Scientific Advisory Board of Max Planck Institute, Elected Member of Institute of Bologna Academy of Sciences


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April 25, 2012

Rensselaer Professor Georges Belfort Named to Scientific Advisory Board of Max Planck Institute, Elected Member of Institute of Bologna Academy of Sciences

Bioseparations Expert at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Recognized by Elite Scientific Societies

World-leading bioseparations expert Georges Belfort visited Germany and Italy last month as part of two prestigious honors from elite European scientific societies.

Belfort, Institute Professor and a member of the Howard P. Isermann Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was recently elected a foreign corresponding member of the Institute of Bologna Academy of Sciences. He visited the academy in March to present his honorary lecture, “Combining Science and Engineering for Molecular Separations: Thoughts from a Career.” The academy was created in 1690 by 16-year-old astronomer Eustachio Manfredi, and has grown over the centuries into one of Europe’s most renowned scientific societies.

Additionally, Belfort was recently named a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board of the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems. As part of the six-year appointment, Belfort visited the Institute in Magdeburg, Germany, with nine other international experts for a two-day session. The primary task of the board is to counsel the institute and to critically assess its scientific performance according to high international standards. The institute is one of 80 that make up the distinguished Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, an independent nonprofit research organization funded by the German government and named for the physicist who discovered quantum physics.

“Dr. Belfort’s career has been punctuated by world-changing discoveries and intrepid leadership in chemical and biological engineering. This recognition from the Institute of Bologna Academy of Sciences and Max Planck Institute only reinforces his status as a pillar of excellence in his field and on the Rensselaer campus. His successes shine brightly on all of us, and we offer him our warmest congratulations,” said Prabhat Hajela, acting provost at Rensselaer.

Belfort has earned a place among the world’s most respected academic and industrial chemical engineers. Throughout his career, he has made seminal contributions in liquid-phase pressure-driven membrane-based processes, bioseparations engineering, interfacial science, protein misfolding at surfaces, and affinity separations.

The editor or co-editor of three books, Belfort has published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and 22 book chapters. His h factor, a key metric for academic researchers that measures both productivity and the impact of published research, is greater than 40. He serves on the editorial boards of several international journals and is the international editor of the Journal of Chemical Engineering of Japan. Belfort also lectures widely in both academic and industrial settings and is an active consultant in the United States, Europe, and Japan.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) Biotechnology Division recently honored Belfort with the 2011 Alan S. Michaels Award in the Recovery of Biological Products. In 2008, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) named Belfort one of the “100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era.” Also in 2008, he received the ACS E.V. Murphree Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. Other major awards given to Belfort include the AIChE Clarence Gerhold Award in Separation Science and Technology in 2000, and the ACS Award in Separation Science and Technology in 1995.

Belfort is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). He is co-founder and former president of the North American Membrane Society, and has twice been named a fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science.

Belfort received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from the University of California at Irvine.

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