California NanoSystems Institute
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Eric Hoek, Ph.D.

Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Member, NanoMechanical and Nanofluidic Systems, California NanoSystems Institute

Ph.D., Yale University, 2002

Honors and Awards:
2005 North American Membrane Society, Outstanding Student Paper Award(as co-author with student)
2002 CH2M Hill/ AEESP, Doctoral Dissertation Award

Contact Information:
Email Address:
Work Email Address:
Office Address: University of California, Los Angeles
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
PO Box 951593
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Home Page:
ARR Papers:
Fax Number: (310) 206-2222 fax
Work Phone Number: (310) 206-3735 office
Research Interests:

My research group studies fundamental and applied aspects of aquatic colloidal and interfacial phenomena. Our research activities could also be described as "Environmental Nanotechnology," where we consider both implications and applications of nanotechnology in environmental systems.

Environmental aspects of our research include understanding the stability, transport, and reactivity of natural colloids and engineered nanoparticles in aquatic environments. Technological aspects of our research include synthesis and characterization of functional nanoparticles, thin films, and membranes, as well as their application to water treatment, desalination, and monitoring (membrane, oxidation, and sensor technologies).

This research relies on traditional colloid and surface science analyses (light scattering, contact angle, electro-kinetic phenomena), as well as a number of microscopic (AFM/SEM/TEM) and spectroscopic (EDX/XRD/FTIR) methods to characterize natural colloids, engineered nanoparticles, synthesized membranes, and other functional materials. We also engage in modeling of transport and interfacial phenomena at macro, micro, and nano size scales using finite element and other advanced modeling approaches.

A practical interest which has guided our research for many years has been understanding and mitigating surface fouling in aquatic systems. Surface fouling phenomena plague many practically important biological, environmental, and chemical engineering systems such as prostheses, implants, sensors, electrodes, membranes, ship hulls, and water pipes. Understanding and controlling surface fouling in these systems requires knowledge of aquatic chemistry, materials chemistry, colloidal and interfacial phenomena, transport and reaction processes, and system performance.

In our fouling studies, we have used classical particle aggregation and deposition studies in combination with advanced microscopic and spectroscopic techniques to better understand the adhesion of microbial cells, inorganic colloids, and organic macromolecules to water treatment membranes. This basic research has led to the creation of a fouling resistant nanocomposite reverse osmosis membrane. We recently filed US and international patents and founded NanoH2O, LLC in an effort to commercialize this new class of thin film nanocomposite membranes.

The broader impact of these scientific and engineering advances is to greatly enhance the technical and economic feasibility of desalination and water reuse, which are critical for global draught protection and water sustainability. In addition, the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral researchers who lead these projects are being trained as the next generation of environmental nanotechnology experts.

Technical Research Interest:

Dr. Hoek's "Environmental Nanotechnology" group's research activities include:

Colloidal Science and Nanotechnology
  • Characterization of natural colloids, synthetic polymers, and engineered nanoparticles
  • Classical and novel particle aggregation, deposition, and adhesion studies
  • Formation and application of functional nanoparticles for water treatment and sensing

    Membrane and Desalination Technology
  • Formation and application of polymeric and nanocomposite RO/NF/UF membranes
  • Characterization of molecular and nano-scale properties of RO/NF/UF membranes
  • Pilot & bench scale evaluation of membrane performance and fouling resistance

    Transport and Interfacial Phenomena
  • Microhydrodynamic and electrokinetic transport phenomena in aquatic systems
  • Transport phenomena in physically & chemically heterogeneous microchannels
  • Influence of nano-scale surface roughness on colloid-substrate interactions.

    Additional Information:

    Dr. Eric M.V. Hoek is an Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA. In addition, Prof. Hoek is a faculty member of the California NanoSystems Institute, the UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, and the UCLA Water Technology Research Center. Hoek's Ph.D. dissertation, "Colloidal Fouling Mechanisms in Reverse Osmosis and Nanofiltration," from Yale University was awarded the AEESP/CH2M Hill Doctoral Thesis Award in 2002. His other degrees include an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Yale University (1999), an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from UCLA (1996), and a B.S. in Civil/Environmental Engineering from Penn State University (1995). In the past decade, Hoek and his students have published over 3 dozen peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals such as Environmental Science & Technology, Langmuir, Journal of Nanoparticle Research, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, and Journal of Membrane Science. In addition, he has published several book chapters, given over 150 conference presentations, seminars, and workshops. Dr. Hoek is active in many scientific and professional organizations including the American Chemical Society, the North American Membrane Society, and the American Water Works Association.

    Selected Publications:

    Marambio-Jones C, Hoek EMV, A review of the antibacterial effects of silver nanomaterials and potential implications for human health and the environment, JOURNAL OF NANOPARTICLE RESEARCH , 2010, 12 (5), 1531-51.
    Subramani A, Hoek EMV, Biofilm formation, cleaning, re-formation on polyamide composite membranes, Desalination, 2010, 257 (1-3), 73-9.
    Ji Z, Jin X, George S, Xia T, Meng H, Wang X, Suarez E, Zhang H, Hoek EM, Godwin H, Nel AE, Zink JI, Dispersion and Stability Optimization of TiO(2) Nanoparticles in Cell Culture Media, Environ Sci Technol, 2010, 44 (19), 7309-14.
    Jin, X., Li, M., Wang, J., Marambio-Jones, C., Peng, F., Huang, X., Damoiseaux, R. and Hoek, E. M. V., High-Throughput Screening of Silver Nanoparticle Stability and Bacterial Inactivation in Aquatic Media: Influence of Specific Ions, Environmental Science and Technology, 2010, 44 (19), 7321-8.
    Peng F, Hoek EM, Damoiseaux R, High-content screening for biofilm assays, J Biomol Screen, 2010, 15 (7), 748-54.
    Gregory R. Guillen, Thomas P. Farrell, Richard B. Kaner and Eric M. V. Hoek, Pore-structure, hydrophilicity, and particle filtration characteristics of polyaniline-polysulfone ultrafiltration membranes, J. Mater. Chem., 2010, 20, 4621-4628, 2010, 20 (22), 4321-4328.
    Lind ML, Eumine Suk D, Nguyen TV, Hoek EM, Tailoring the Structure of Thin Film Nanocomposite Membranes to Achieve Seawater RO Membrane Performance, Environ Sci Technol, 2010, 44 (21), 8230-5.
    Peng FB, Huang XF, Jawor A, Hoek EMV, Transport, structural, and interfacial properties of poly (vinyl alcohol)-polysulfone composite nanofiltration membranes, JOURNAL OF MEMBRANE SCIENCE , 2010, 353 (1-2), 169-176.
    Pendergast MTM, Nygaard JM, Ghosh AK, Hoek EMV, Using nanocomposite materials technology to understand and control reverse osmosis membrane compaction, Desalination, 2010, 261 (3, Special Issue), 255-263.
    Subramani, A. Huang, X. Hoek, E. M., Direct observation of bacterial deposition onto clean and organic-fouled polyamide membranes, J Colloid Interface Sci, 2009, 336 (1), 13-20.
    , Effect of mobile cation on zeolite-polyamide thin film nanocomposite membranes, J. Mater. Res. , 2009, 24 (5), 1624-1631 .
    Lind, M. L. Ghosh, A. K. Jawor, A. Huang, X. Hou, W. Yang, Y. Hoek, E. M., Influence of Zeolite Crystal Size on Zeolite-Polyamide Thin Film Nanocomposite Membranes, Langmuir, 2009, 25 (17), 10139–10145.
    Anna Jawor, Byeong-Heon Jeong and Eric M. V. Hoek, Synthesis, characterization, and ion-exchange properties of colloidal zeolite nanocrystals , Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 2009, 11 (7), 1795-1803.
    Nel AE, Mädler L, Velegol D, Xia T, Hoek EM, Somasundaran P, Klaessig F, Castranova V, Thompson M., Understanding biophysicochemical interactions at the nano-bio interface , Nature Materials , 2009, 8 (7), 543-57.
    Arun Subramani and Eric M.V. Hoek, Direct observation of initial microbial deposition onto reverse osmosis and nanofiltration membranes, Journal of Membrane Science, 2008, 319 (1-2), 111-125 .
    Asim K. Ghosh, Byeong-Heon Jeong, Xiaofei Huang, Eric M.V. Hoek, Impacts of reaction and curing conditions on polyamide composite reverse osmosis membrane properties, Journal of Membrane Science, 2008, 311, 34-45.
    Allred, J., T. Knoell, B.H. Jeong, and E.M.V. Hoek, Modeling the Effects of Fouling on Full Scale Reverse Osmosis Processes, Journal of Membrane Science , 2008, 314 (1-2), 33-49 .
    Hoek EMV, Yan Y, and Jeong BH, "Nanocomposite Membranes and Methods of Making and Using Same,", U.S. Patent Application, (2006): 11/364,885. Priority: US 60/660,428, 2007.
    Jeong, B.H., E.M.V. Hoek, Y. Yan, X. Huang, A. Subramani, G. Hurwitz, A.K. Ghosh, and A. Jawor, Interfacial Polymerization of Thin Film Nanocomposites: A New Concept for Reverse Osmosis Membranes, Journal of Membrane Science , 2007, 294, 1-7.
    Kim S, and Hoek EMV, "Interactions between Organic Foulants and Reverse Osmosis Membranes", Desalination, 2006, 202, 333-342.
    Lee S, Kim S, Hoek EMV, and Cho J, "Natural Organic Matter (NOM) Fouling due to Foulant-Membrane Physicochemical Interactions", Desalination, 2006, 202 (1-5), 377-384.
    Kim, S., M. Marion, B.H. Jeong, and E.M.V. Hoek, Crossflow Membrane Filtration of Interacting Nanoparticle Suspensions, Journal of Membrane Science , 2006, 284 (1-2), 361-372.
    Kang S, Hoek EMV, Choi H, and Shin H, Effect of Membrane Surface Properties During the Fast Evaluation of Cell Attachment, Separation Science and Technology, 2006, 41, 1475-1487.
    Hoek, E. M. Agarwal, G. K., Extended DLVO interactions between spherical particles and rough surfaces, J Colloid Interface Sci, 2006, 298 (1), 50-8.
    Jawor, A., S. Kim, and E.M.V. Hoek, Influence of Feed Water Temperature on Performance of Brackish Water Desalination Membranes, Journal of Membrane Science , 2006.
    Wang, S., and E.M.V. Hoek, Membrane Filtration of Brackish Agricultural Drainage Water with Rapid Backpulsing, Water Research , 2006.
    Wang S, Guillen G, and Hoek EMV , "Direct Observation of Microbial Adhesion to Membranes", Environmental Science & Technology, 2005, 39 (17), 6461-6469.
    Kim S, Hoek EMV, "Modeling Concentration Polarization in Reverse Osmosis Processes", Desalination, 2005, 186, 111-128.
    Subramani A, Kim S, and Hoek EMV, "Pressure, Flow, and Concentration Profiles in Open and Spacer-Filled Membrane Channels", Journal of Membrane Science, 2005, 277, 7-17.
    Escobar IC, Hoek EM, Gabelich CJ, et al., Committee Report: Recent Advances and Research Needs in Membrane Fouling, Journal American Water Works Association, 2005, 97, 79-89.
    Kang S, Subramani A, Hoek EMV, Deshusses MA, and Matsumoto MR , "Direct Observation of Biofouling in Cross-flow Microfiltration: Mechanisms of Deposition and Release" , Journal of Membrane Science , 2004, 244, 151-165.
    Ahmad R, Begum S, Hoek EMV, Karanfil T, Genceli EA, Yadav A, Trivedi P, Zhang CL, Physico-chemical Processes, Water Environment Research, 2004, 76, 823-1002.
    Hoek EMV, and Elimelech M, "Cake-Enhanced Concentration Polarization: A New Fouling Mechanism for Salt Rejecting Membranes", Environmental Science and Technology, 2003, 17, 5581-5588.
    Hoek EMV, Bhattacharjee S, and Elimelech M, Effect of Membrane Surface Roughness on Colloid-Membrane DLVO Interactions", Langmuir, 2003, 19 (11), 4836-4847.
    Walker SL, Bhattacharjee S, Hoek EMV, and Elimelech M, "A Novel Asymmetric Clamping Cell for Measuring Streaming Potential of Flat Surfaces", Langmuir , 2002, 18 (16), 2193-2198.
    Kim AS, Hoek EMV, Cake Structure in Dead-End Membrane Filtration: Monte Carlo Simulations, Environmental Engineering Science, 2002, 19, 373-386.
    Hoek EMV, Kim AS, and Elimelech M, Influence of Crossflow Membrane Filter Geometry and Shear Rate on Colloidal Fouling in Reverse Osmosis and Nanofiltration Separations, Environmental Engineering Science, 2002, 19 (6), 357-372.