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This specialization emphasizes improving, modifying and designing desalination and water treatment systems using mostly membrane-based methods. Research topics include the engineering of membranes for water (sea, brackish and wastewater) treatment and improving the energy efficiency of membrane-based water treatment methods. Additional directly-related topics include the chemistry of membranes tailored for specific types of water and special treatment methodology, membrane modification and new membrane development, and the pre- and post-treatment of water in desalination plants. Basic research is conducted on interactions between organic and inorganic compounds, as well as on colloids associated with reverse osmosis membranes, membrane treatment for contaminated groundwater, and membrane-based wastewater (municipal and industrial) treatment. Further topics address fundamental research on the interactions between bacteria and surfaces (particularly membrane surfaces), as well as understanding the mechanisms of biofilm formation to eliminate the biofouling of membrane-based water reclamation systems.