"For many, it is difficult to comprehend that water is a depleting natural resource similar to fossil fuels. It is just as necessary to reduce our reliance on traditional freshwater sources like groundwater as it is to find renewable energy sources to supplement the use of fossil fuels. I have been drawn to multidisciplinary research because the issue of creating a sustainable water source for human consumption crosses all fields."
Leda Katebian's interest in an alternative, drought-proof water source to meet the increasing water demand in arid coastal areas led her to pursue research in seawater desalination. In particular, her research is driven by finding environmentally friendly, low-cost, and efficient methods to prevent bacterial aggregation on membrane surfaces, known as biofouling. This will help reduce the energy demand and maintenance costs with respect to membrane cleaning and replacement for seawater desalination. Leda's current research integrates a microbiology and engineering approach to prevent biofouling bysuppressing cell-to-cell communication on the reverse osmosis membrane surface using quorum quenching compounds.