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Artificial Water Channels Faraday Discussion

25 - 27 June 2018, Glasgow, United Kingdom

This Faraday Discussion will focus on the chemistry, physics and material sciences contributions toward the rapidly evolving field of artificial water channels.

The development of synthetic biomimetic artificial water-channels and pores is key for a better understanding of the natural function of protein channels. It is hoped to offer new strategies to generate highly selective, advanced materials for water purification systems.

While synthetic chemists have produced sophisticated architectures able to confine water clusters, most water channel based work is being conducted with natural protein channels as selectivity components, embedded in the diverse arrays of bio-assisted artificial systems. Such systems combine natural proteins that present high water conductance states under natural conditions with artificial lipidic or polymeric matrices. Experimental results have demonstrated that natural biomolecules can be used as bio-assisted building blocks for the construction of highly selective water transport through artificial channels. A next step is the design and construction of simpler compounds that maintain the high conduction activity obtained with natural compounds, leading to fully synthetic artificial biomimetic channels. Such studies aim to use constitutional artificial desalination membranes for highly selective water transport.
Moving to simpler water-channel systems offers a chance to better understand mechanistic and structural behaviours and to uncover novel interactive water channels that might parallel those in biomolecular systems.
This meeting will have a strong emphasis on the key challenges in the areas of:
  • Biophysics of protein water channels
  • Biomimetics and what we may learn from natural proteins
  • Synthesis and design of highly selective water channels
  • Spectroscopy and experimental characterization of nano-confined water
  • The role of hydrogen bonding in permeability of water across nano-channels
  • Structure and dynamics of channel like structures in bilayer membranes
  • Hydrodynamics in water channels (modelling and computational biophysical-chemistry)
  • Self-assembly of channels in lipids and materials
  • Applications for membranes and sensors 


The Faraday Division have been organising high impact Faraday Discussions in rapidly developing areas of the physical sciences, with a focus on physical chemistry and its interfaces with other scientific disciplines for over 100 years.
Faraday Discussions have a special format where research papers written by the speakers are distributed to all participants before the meeting, and most of the meeting is devoted to discussing the papers. Everyone contributes to the discussion - including presenting their own relevant research. The research papers and a record of the discussion are published in the journal Faraday Discussions.


This meeting aims to gather key participants representing the full scientific scope of the topic, specifically, but not limited to, the areas of Ion channels, Artificial channels, Membrane, Supramolecular chemistry, Materials and Biophysics. The focus of the discussions will be on the chemistry, physics and material sciences breakthroughs in the rapidly evolving field of artificial water channels, and will aim to uncover novel interactive water channels that might parallel those in biomolecular systems. 


Structure and function of natural proteins for water transport
Natural proteins (i.e. Aquaporin-AQP, Influenza A M2 or Gramicidin-GA) are well known, non-exclusive examples of proteins in which water molecules and protons are envisioned to diffuse along the water filled pores. Most protein channels share some structural aspects, such as their self-assembled multiple subunits within trans-membrane domains and the selectivity of these protein channels is usually driven by the narrowest region of the pore, showing gating behaviours generated by the structural motion of the external subunits in response to voltage, ligand and pH stimuli.  
This session will address the key challenges of the biophysics of protein water channels and explore what can be learnt from natural proteins. Discussion will focus on the structure of natural proteins and their functions, and the natural mechanisms of selective translocation.
Biomimetic water channels
Inspired by the investigation of natural water-channels, the development of artificial biomimetic channels is only just in its beginnings. The molecular-scale hydrodynamics of water through a channel will depend, as in natural ones, on the biometics of channel-water and water-water interactions and on the water in-pore electrostatic dipolar profile within the channel. Mimicking the function of the complex superstructures of proteins is an important challenge.
Moving from complex natural to simpler water-channel systems, Session 2 will cover the mechanistic and structural behaviour of such interactions, unlocking the door to the novel interactive water-channels, paralleling that of biomolecular systems.
The modelling and enhancement of water hydrodynamics
Molecular dynamics simulations strongly contribute to the understanding and improvement of the dynamic behaviour of water molecules under confined conditions by fine-tuning the balance between attractive and repulsive elements. The single-file columns of water confined along the internal surfaces of pores may impose a net-dipole alignment of water molecules that can influence the conduction of fluids, envisioned to diffuse along the dipolar hydrophilic pathways. Powerful synthetic architectures, mimicking the natural protein functions and generating stable water/proton translocation pathways in bilayer membranes will also be characterized at high spatial- and time resolutions. Their dynamic features under bilayer-confining conditions generate new opportunities to further modify and engineer such systems.
Session 3 will explore full molecular models in realistic lipid bilayer, methods to characterize the single molecule water permeability of water channels, theoretical stability and dynamics of the assembly, and the energetics of water transport.
Applications to water transport systems
The result of the fast transport of water through the channels has important practical applications such as advanced desalination, for example, to obtain ultrapure water for biomedical or nanotechnology applications. Their final target is related to complex systems and this final session will discuss highly selective membrane constructs, self-assembly of water channels in lipids and block copolymers for innovative materials and sensing, gas transport in water channels, gas transport in membrane proteins and gas separation applications using molecular scale channels.
Abstract Submission

Oral Abstracts and Research Papers

A full research paper containing new unpublished results always accompanies oral presentations at Faraday Discussions. Submit an oral/paper abstract by 23 October 2017 if you wish to be considered for an oral presentation and associated published paper. The oral/paper abstract should outline current research in progress. Authors of the selected abstracts must then submit a full research paper with a significant amount of new, unpublished work by 5 February 2018.

The research papers are reviewed upon submission and are sent to all delegates 4 weeks before the meeting so they can be read in advance. At the meeting the presenting author is allowed five minutes to highlight the main points of their paper, and the rest of the time is for discussion. The discussion is recorded and will be published alongside the research paper in the Faraday Discussion Volume.  

Poster Abstracts 

Submit your poster abstract by 23 April 2018. Posters are displayed throughout the meeting and a poster session is held on the first evening. The Faraday Division Poster Prize will be awarded to the best poster presented by a student at the conference.

Additional Information

Authors will be notified of the outcome of the review process within about 6 weeks of the submission deadline. The abstracts should be no longer than one A4 page in portrait layout. Please ensure you provide the details of the presenting author and indicate whether you are submitting an abstract for oral or poster presentation. 
Please note the registration deadline for this event has been extended until 15th June 2018
Please read the registration information before registering.
You can register by clicking on the online registration link on this page.
Please note accommodation is not included in the registration fee.

Registration includes:
  • Attendance at the sessions 
  • Refreshments throughout the meeting
  • Lunch on all three days
  • Attendance at the poster drinks reception on Monday 25 June
  • Attendance at the conference dinner on Tuesday 26 June
  • A copy of the discussion pre-prints
  • A copy of the final theme issue of Faraday Discussion Volume containing papers presented at the Discussion (issued approximately 6 months after the meeting)**
For non-member registrants, membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry until the end of 2018

Registration fees are as follows:
Early Bird
(by 7 May 2018)
(by 15 June 2018)
Member* £355 £410
Non-Member*** £460 £515
Student Member* £170 £225
Student Non-Member £195 £250

Registration fees are VAT exempt.

  * If you are an Royal Society of Chemistry member and wish to register for this meeting, please select the member option on the online registration page. You will need to enter your membership number.

  **Excluding students, who can order the volume at a reduced price at the conference. 

 ***For non-member registrants, affiliate membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry until the end of 2018, the affiliate membership application will be processed and commence once the registrant has attended the event. 

European Membrane Society Members Discount

If you are a member of the European Membrane Society (EMS), you can register for this meeting at the RSC Members rate. Please contact EMS for the discount code and then proceed to register as a non-member and insert the code when prompted to do so.

Student Delegates

In order to encourage undergraduate or postgraduate students to attend the Discussion, a reduced conference fee (to include a set of pre-prints but not the final Discussion Volume) is available. This fee applies to those undertaking a full time course for a recognised degree or a diploma at a university or equivalent institution.

 A copy of the publication may be purchased at less than half price, only for orders placed at the meeting where an application form will be made available.  

Conference Dinner

The conference dinner on Tuesday 26 June 2018 and is included in the registration fee.

Book now

Terms and Conditions for Events run by the Royal Society of Chemistry

We have two types of grants available to Royal Society of Chemistry members in the Associate category or above to attend this meeting:
  • A limited number of non-competitive travel grants of up to £200 are available for PhD students and early career scientists. These are assigned on a first come, first served basis. 
  • Competitive grants of up to £800 are available to assist with international travel expenses for PhD students, postdocs within 10 years of completing their PhD and early career scientists (including technicians and industrialists) within 10 years of leaving full time education. In addition, applicants must have held any form of RSC membership for at least a year prior to application. 

To take advantage of these grants and many other benefits, become a member. Follow the link on the right hand side to find out more and join today!
Applications for either grant should be submitted as early as possible, but at least 8 weeks in advance of the start of the meeting. Please see respective terms & conditions for full eligibility information.
A selection of sponsorship opportunities is available for companies who would like to promote their activities at Artificial Water Channels: Faraday Discussion

As well as booking a table top exhibition space, there are opportunities to sponsor social events, advertise in the abstract book or place a promotional item in delegate packs. For further information and prices please download the sponsorship available from this page.

Please note that exhibition spaces are limited, spaces will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

If you would like more information about sponsoring Artificial Water Channels: Faraday Discussion, please contact the Commercial Sales Department at the Royal Society of Chemistry. (

  Sponsorship Menu
Technology & Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde

Technology & Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde, 99 George Street, Glasgow, G11RD, United Kingdom

Organised by
Organised by the Faraday Division in association with the Materials Chemistry Division; Environment, Sustainability and Energy Division (ESED); and Chemistry Biology Interface Division (CBID).
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