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CBE Seminar: Christine Duval, Case Western: Radiopharmaceuticals: A new frontier for membrane separations


Location: Zoom

The University of Notre Dame Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering presents Christine Duval, Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University.
Radiopharmaceuticals: A new frontier for membrane separations

Ac-225 is a promising isotope for targeted alpha therapy (TAT, a personalized cancer treatment) that has
shown excellent patient outcomes by avoiding whole body doses of radiation while successfully treating
otherwise pervasive cancers. To date, all 225Ac used in domestic clinical trials was harvested from legacy
nuclear waste at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This legacy supply of 225Ac is so limited that only 1 in
5,500 people who qualify for the treatment are able to receive treatment. To produce clinically relevant
quantities of 225Ac, 1) nuclear physicists need to develop new production routes in accelerators or
cyclotrons and 2) separation scientists need to develop new purification processes. Resin-based extractive
chromatography has long been the workhorse for medical isotope purification. While these separation
materials perform well in bench-scale purification schemes—they cannot be scaled up for clinically
relevant production. In this talk, we discuss the limitations of the current state-of-the-art production and
purification processes for medical isotopes. Then, we will discuss our group’s efforts to synthesize membrane adsorbers—a scalable, high-throughput alternative to extractive resins for accelerator-
produced 225Ac.

Christine Duval is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Professor Duval’s research group develops
advanced materials (resins and membranes) for highly selective separations. These materials have
applications in nuclear forensics, medical isotope purification and environmental remediation. Duval
received her B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Connecticut in 2011 and her Ph.D. in
chemical engineering from Clemson University in 2017. Outside of academics, she was a business
strategist at the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and a DOE Scholar at the US
Department of Energy’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence in the Nuclear Materials
Information Program. In 2020 she received the DOE Early Career Research Award from the Isotope
Program in the Office of Nuclear Physics.

Contact the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering for the Zoom link.

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