Merlin L. Bruening

Principal Investigator

Photo of Merlin L. Bruening
140C McCourtney Hall

Donald and Susan Rice Professor of Engineering
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering


  • Postdoctoral: NIH Fellow, Texas A&M University, 1995-1997
  • PhD: The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel 1990-95
    Major: Chemistry
    Dissertation Subject: Modification of Surface Electronic Properties by Organic Ligand Adsorption
  • MS: Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 1989-90
    Major: Chemistry
    Thesis Subject: Applications of Immobilized Ligands in Cation and Anion Separations
  • BS: Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 1983-84, 1986-89
    Major: Chemical Engineering
    Honors: Magna Cum Laude, Am. Inst. of Chem. Eng. Outstanding Graduate, Spencer W. Kimball Scholar

Research Experience

  • Michigan State University
    Assistant Professor 1997-2002
    Associate Professor 2002-2007
    Full Professor 2007-2016
  • University of Notre Dame
    Full Professor 2016-present
  • Synthesized high-capacity, modified porous membranes for protein purification (now a commercial product)
  • Developed enzyme-containing membranes for controlled proteolysis prior to mass spectrometry
  • Created high-flux, high selectivity polyelectrolyte membranes for ion and gas separations
  • Prepared modified MALDI plates for on-probe purification of protein digests
  • Developed a method for growing thick polymer brushes from gold
  • Created highly selective nanoparticle catalysts and membrane catalysts
  • Introduced interface science experiments into undergraduate and graduate level courses

NIH Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Texas A&M University 1995-1997
    Created hyperbranched polymer films for sensing applications
    Developed fluorinated polymer films for corrosion protection

Graduate Researcher

  • Weizmann Institute of Science 1990-1995
    Created a method to control semiconductor work functions with organic ligands
    Characterized new surfaces by FTIR and Kelvin probe measurements
    Calculated the likely structure of a new self-assembled monolayer


  • Benedetti-Pichler Award of the American Microchemical Society 2016
  • MSU Innovation of the Year 2015
  • MSU College of Natural Science Distinguished Faculty Award, 2014
  • Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry Young Investigator Award, 2000
  • MSU Sigma Xi Junior Meritorious Faculty, 2002
  • MSU College of Natural Science Teacher-Scholar Award, 2003