Lab Affiliation(s):
Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
Post Doc Sponsor / Advisor:
Robert S. Langer and Daniel S. Kohane
Areas of Expertise:
  • Chemical Vapor Deposition
  • Seawater Desalination
  • Antifouling Polymers
Date PhD Completed:
May, 2014
Expected End Date of Post Doctoral Position:
August 31, 2016

Rong Yang

  • Post Doctoral

MIT Unit Affiliation: 

  • Biological Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering

Lab Affiliation(s): 

Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

Post Doc Sponsor / Advisor: 

Robert S. Langer and Daniel S. Kohane

Date PhD Completed: 

May, 2014

Top 3 Areas of Expertise: 

Chemical Vapor Deposition
Seawater Desalination
Antifouling Polymers

Expected End Date of Post Doctoral Position: 

August 31, 2016


Research Projects: 

Biomaterials and Formulations for Trans-Tympanic Antibiotic Delivery

  • Designing biomaterials and formulations to enable sustained delivery of antibiotics across tympanic membrane.
  • Developing quantitative models to characterize the transport of antibiotics and biomolecules across tympanic membrane.
  • Establishing systems and animal protocols to test the efficacy of the biomaterials and formulations.

Thesis Title: 

Prevention of Biofouling in Seawater Desalination via Initiated Chemical Vapor Deposition (iCVD)

Thesis Abstract: 

Biofouling, the undesirable settlement and growth of organisms, occurs immediately when a clean surface is immersed in natural seawater. It is a universal problem and the bottleneck for seawater desalination, which reduces both the yield and the quality of desalted water. Mitigation of fouling in a desalination operation is an on-going challenge due to the delicate nature of desalination membranes, the vast diversity of fouling organisms, and the additional cross-membrane transport resistance exerted by an extra layer of coating. This thesis focuses on benign interface engineering methods and ultra-thin zwitterionic coating synthesis to bridge this gap in surface modification strategies. The direct application of ultra-thin coatings on commercial membranes with intact membrane performance has been enabled by a room-temperature vapor treatment called initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD). Diffusion-limited reaction conditions have shown to significantly improve the surface concentration of the antifouling zwitterionic moieties, which is crucial to the fouling resistance of modified membranes. Robustness of the ultra-thin coating is enhanced through cross-linking and covalent attachment between the membrane and the film. The resulting durability of the antifouling coating and its resistance to oxidative reagents lead to an unprecedented synergistic effect that is critical to long-term fouling resistance, which provides unique insight into the adhesion of microbial foulant and promises to lower the price of freshwater in water-scarce countries, where desalination may serve as the only viable means to provide the water supply necessary to sustain agriculture, support personal consumption, and promote economic development.

Top 5 Awards and honors (name of award, date received): 

AIChE Separations Division Graduate Student Award with special recognition (1 among 7 award winners), 2013
American Chemical Society I&EC Graduate Student Award, 3rd place paper 2013
Wellington and Irene Loh Fund Fellowship, MIT, 2013

5 Recent Papers: 

Yang R., Jang H., Stocker R., Gleason K. K., (2014), "Synergistic prevention of biofouling in seawater desalination by zwitterionic surfaces and low-level chlorination," Advanced Materials, 26, 1711

Yang R., Buonassisi T., Gleason K. K., (2013), "Organic vapor passivation of silicon at room temperature," Advanced Materials, 25, 2078

Yang R., Gleason K. K., (2012), "Ultrathin antifouling coatings with stable surface zwitterionic functionality by initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD)," Langmuir, 28, 12266

Yang R., Asatekin A., Gleason K. K., (2012), "Design of conformal, substrate-independent surface modification for controlled protein adsorption by chemical vapor deposition (CVD)," Soft Matter, 8, 31

Yang R., Xu J.,Ozaydin-Ince G., Wong S. Y., Gleason K. K., (2011), "Surface-tethered zwitterionic ultrathin antifouling coatings on reverse osmosis membranes by initiated chemical vapor deposition," Chemistry of Materials, 23, 1263

Contact Information:
300 Longwood Ave.
Enders 361