Laura H Arias Chavez

Formerly Laura A. Hoover
Ph.D. Candidate, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University
B.S.E., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Duke University, Pratt School of Engineering


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Laura is a fifth year PhD candidate working in Prof. Menachem Elimelech's group. Her research focuses on the fabrication of thin-film composite (TFC) membranes for forward osmosis and pressure-retarded osmosis. These processes have great potential for sustainably producing drinking water and energy. Laura is particularly interested in electrospinning materials for the support layers used in TFC membranes, and her research explores the relationships between membrane structure and performance. Her broader motivation in research is to increase access to these resources in the developing world and to make their production more sustainable in the developed world.

As a PhD student at Yale, Laura previously studied the transport of carbon dioxide across TFC membranes. She has also partnered with Water Missions International to investigate the technical and behavioral issues surrounding the use of biosand filters and bleach for household level drinking water treatment in rural Honduras. Laura believes that passing on knowledge to the next generation is a critical part of scientific research and crucial for the long-term well-being of our society. She enjoys developing her teaching skills through Teaching Assistant positions at Yale and mentorship of local middle and high school students in their Science Fair projects.

When she isn't indulging her curiosity in the lab, Laura plays cello in informal New Haven ensembles and fights for victory on the intramural soccer field alongside several of her lab mates. This past season, the team had its best finish in recent memory, with its only loss coming in the championship game.


pdfs and supporting information available on the main publications page.
  1. Shaffer, D.L., Arias Chavez, L.H., Ben-Sasson, M., Romero-Vargas Castrillon, S., Yip, N.Y., and Elimelech, M. "Desalination and Reuse of High-Salinity Shale Gas Produced Water: Drivers, Technologies, and Future Directions" Environmental Science & Technology, Volume 47, September 2013, pages 9569–9583.  DOI: 10.1021/es401966e
  2. Hoover, L.A., Schiffman, J.D., and Elimelech, M. "Nanofibers in Thin-Film Composite Membrane Support Layers: Enabling Expanded Application of Forward and Pressure Retarded Osmosis", Desalination, Volume 308, January 2013, pages 73–81.  DOI: 10.1016/j.desal.2012.07.019
  3. Hoover, L.A., Phillip, W.A., Tiraferri, A., Yip, N.Y., and Elimelech, M. "Forward with Osmosis: Emerging Applications for Greater Sustainability", Environmental Science & Technology, Volume 45, December 2011, pages 9824–9830.  DOI: 10.1021/es202576h
  4. Yip, N.Y., Tiraferri, A., Phillip, W.A., Schiffman, J.D., Hoover, L.A., Kim, Y.C., and Elimelech, M. "Thin-Film Composite Pressure Retarded Osmosis Membranes for Sustainable Power Generation from Salinity Gradients", Environmental Science & Technology, Volume 45, May 2011, pages 4360–4369.  DOI: 10.1021/es104325z