A pinboard by
Dean Johnson

Postdoc, University of Rochester


The development of wearable or implantable technologies that replace center-based hemodialysis (HD) hold promise to improve both outcomes and quality-of-life for patients with end-stage-renal disease. A prerequisite for these technologies is the development of highly efficient membranes that can achieve high toxin clearance in small device formats. Here we examine the application of the nanoporous nitride (NPN) to hemodialysis. NPN is a molecularly thin nanoporous membrane material that is orders-of-magnitude more permeable than conventional HD membranes. Material developments have allowed us to dramatically increase the amount of active membrane available for dialysis on NPN chips. By controlling pore sizes during manufacturing, NPN membranes can be engineered to pass middle molecular weight protein toxins while retaining albumin, mimicking the healthy kidney. A microfluidic dialysis device developed with NPN membranes achieves urea clearance rates that confirm that the membrane offers no resistance to urea passage. Finally, surface modifications with thin hydrophilic coatings are shown to block both cell and protein adhesion.