Sarah Kwan

Ph.D. Student, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University
M.S. Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, 2014
B.S. Environmental Engineering, University of California, Riverside, 2012
B.A. Interior Design, Surrey Institute of Art & Design University, College, 2000


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Sarah Kwan is a second-year doctoral student in the Elimelech Research Group, part of Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale University. Her research focuses on the study of how biofouling effects water flux through water treatment membranes.

In her first semester short-term research project she investigated the effects of biofouling on water flux through forward osmosis (FO) membranes. Her second short-term project will further refine this research and compare the effects of biofouling on membranes in both FO and reverse osmosis (RO) membrane systems.

Prior to coming to Yale for her Ph.D. studies Sarah graduated from the Surrey Institute of Art and Design, University, College with a B.A. in Interior Design. She then went on to work as an Interior Architect, specializing in retail and educational design for six years. In 2006 she decided to change her career focus to one with a more humanitarian and environmental focus and returned to school to study Environmental Engineering. In 2012 she graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Riverside.

Outside of her studies Sarah enjoys dabbling in the arts whenever she can, whether that is sculpting, painting, general arts and crafts, or visiting art exhibitions. She also has a passion for travel and enjoys the outdoors whenever she can through hiking and camping.

Selected Accomplishments

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow

Yale Scientific Teaching Fellow

University of California, Riverside, Top Senior Design Project Award

University of California, Riverside, Top Senior Student Award

University of California, Riverside, Bourns College of Engineering Award

Intel Innovation & Sustainability Award

Krieger & Stewart Award

Ford Motor Scholarship


pdfs and supporting information available on the main publications page.
  1. Bar-Zeev, E., Zodrow, K.R., Kwan, S.E., and Elimelech, M. "The importance of microscopic characterization of membrane biofilms in an unconfined environment." Desalination. Volume 348, September 2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.desal.2014.06.003