Devin L. Shaffer
Dr. Devin L. Shaffer, Ph.D., P.E.
Assistant Professor
Office Location: N135 Engineering Building 1, Houston, TX 77204-4003
Phone: 713-743-7612 | Fax: 713-743-4260
Email: dshaffer [at] uh.edu


Ph.D., Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale University, 2016
M.Eng., Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003
B.S., Civil Engineering, Oklahoma State University, 2002

Professional Experience: 

2018-present: Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX
2016-2017: Postdoctoral Fellow, Functional Polymers Group, Materials Science and Engineering Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD
2011-2016: Graduate Student Researcher, Chemical & Environmental Engineering Department, Yale University, New Haven, CT
2003-2011: Professional Engineer, Carollo Engineers, Inc., Phoenix, AZ


Environmental Engineering (CIVE 3331)
Municipal Drinking Water Treatment (CIVE 6390)
Physicochemical Treatment Processes (CIVE 6387)

Awards & Honors: 

National Research Council (NRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship to conduct materials research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2016-2017
Science To Achieve Results (STAR) Graduate Research Fellowship from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2012-2015

Professional Memberships: 

Registered Civil Engineer, Arizona
North American Membrane Society
American Chemical Society; Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering Division
Association of Environmental Engineering & Science Professors

Research Interests: 

Dr. Shaffer studies materials and processes for water purification and resource recovery. The goal of his research is to promote resilient communities and ecosystems through treatment processes that both create and recover valuable resources.

Currently, Dr. Shaffer investigates new membrane materials with tailored separation properties to improve desalination performance.  He employs novel characterization techniques like neutron radiography and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy to gain insight into structure-property relationships that influence membrane performance. Membranes with tailored properties will be incorporated into systems designed for high-recovery desalination of unconventional water sources.


Shaffer D.L., Energy Optimization for Membrane Desalination. Oral presentation at the Water Environment Association of Texas 8th Annual W. Wesley Eckenfelder Lecture, Houston, TX, July 26, 2018.
Shaffer D.L., Feldman K.E., Chan E.P., Stafford G.R., Stafford C.M. Studying permselectivity of desalination membranes using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Oral presentation at the American Chemical Society National Meeting, Washington, DC, August 20-24, 2017.
Shaffer D.L., Stafford C.M., Stafford G.R., Soles C.L., Chan E.P. A geophysical approach to studying porous membrane structure and predicting intrinsic permeability. Poster presentation at the International Congress on Membranes and Membrane Processes, San Francisco, CA, July 29-August 4, 2017.
Shaffer D.L., Tousley M.E., Elimelech M. Influence of polyamide membrane surface chemistry on gypsum scaling. Oral presentation at the American Chemical Society National Meeting, San Diego, CA, March 13-17, 2016.
Shaffer D.L., Chan E.P., Hussey D.S., Elimelech M. Using Neutron Radiography to Verify the Film Model for Permeation through Forward Osmosis Membranes. Oral presentation at the American Chemical Society National Meeting, Boston, MA, August 16-20, 2015.

Selected Publications: 

Shaffer D.L., Feldman, K.E., Chan, E.P., Stafford, G.R., Stafford, C.M. Characterizing salt permeability in polyamide desalination membranes using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Journal of Membrane Science, 2019, in press.

Shaffer D.L., LaManna J.M., Jacobson D.L., Hussey D.S., Elimelech M., Chan E.P. Studying water and solute transport through desalination membranes via neutron radiography. Journal of Membrane Science, 2018, 548, 667-675.

Shaffer D.L., Tousley M.E., Elimelech M. Influence of polyamide membrane surface chemistry on gypsum scaling behavior. Journal of Membrane Science, 2017, 525, 249-256.

Shaffer D.L., Jaramillo H., Romero-Vargas Castrillón S., Lu X., and Elimelech M. Postfabrication modification of forward osmosis membranes with a poly(ethylene glycol) block copolymer for improved organic fouling resistance. Journal of Membrane Science, 2015, 490, 209-219.

Shaffer D.L., Werber J.R., Jaramillo H., Lin S., and Elimelech M. Forward osmosis: Where are we now? Desalination, 2015, 356, 271-284.