The Bruening Group
Department of Chemistry
Michigan State University
 Ultrathin Films for Separations, Analysis and Catalysis

Modified Membranes for Protein Purification

Controlled Protein Digestion in Enzyme-Containing Membranes

Antibody Sequencing

Multilayered Polyelectrolyte Membranes

Electrodialysis for Salt Purification

Oil-water Separations

On-probe Capture of Phospho-peptides for Mass Spectrometry

SEM Images



Graduate School at MSU

MSU chemistry

DOE Support

NIH Support

NSF Support

NSF PIRE Support

Who are we?  We're a  research group in the chemistry department at Michigan State University led by Dr. Merlin Bruening.  The group currently consists (summer 2013) of nine graduate students and two high school students. 

What do we do?  We develop new thin films for protein purification in porous supports, gas separations, membrane-based water reclamation, purification for MALDI mass spectrometry, and selective catalysis. In some cases, students will spend a month or two in countries such as France and Singapore doing collaborative research. Our graduates move on to a wide range of industrial positions.     

What tools do we use?  We use surface infrared spectroscopy, field-emission scanning electron microscopy, electrochemistry, mass spectrometry, ellipsometry, nanofiltration, and atomic force microscopy.  Whenever possible we try to exploit characterization techniques that don't require ultrahigh vacuum so we can simulate actual conditions. 

More Information?  Click on any of the links above for other graphics and descriptions.  If you are interested in graduate work in chemistry at Michigan State University, click here.  We also have a list of publications describing prior work.  If you have specific questions, send e-mail to

Group picture
The Bruening group in July 2014.   From left to right, front:  Alexandra Malin, Weijing Liu, Jinlan Dong, Wenjing Ning, Maria Misovich, Tabitha Inna, Yan Zhu, Alexandra Barrett; back:  Nicholas White, Zhefei Yang, Merlin Bruening, Yongle Pang, Elena Alemayehu, and Salinda Wijeratne.

Overview of membrane work

Our group modifies membranes with thin films for applications such as water softening, protein and peptide purification, and catalysis, including protein digestion.