Engineering Biological Systems

Project: Design, build, and test a novel process to produce a biotechnological or biopharmaceutical product

Bioengineering integrates knowledge of biology with engineering principles and tools in the design of biochemical processes to produce biopharmaceuticals, biofuels, novel biopolymers, medical devices and diagnostics, and other agricultural and ecological materials. This section of Engineering 100 introduces fundamental concepts of bioengineering, biotechnology, and chemical engineering, and provides students an understanding of how biological systems can be engineered to solve real-world problems such as the need for renewable energy and affordable medicine.

Lectures will focus on the key concepts and methods used in these areas of engineering, and the laboratory portion of this course will involve hands-on experiments to demonstrate how these principles are applied to current engineering research and development. Students will work on two team projects to design, build, and test a bench-scale process for the generation and utilization of biopolymer carriers for a variety of applications based on their interest (drug delivery, water purification, medicine and food manufacturing, etc.), and production of biofuels from renewable biomass using genetically-engineered microorganisms.

In addition to the engineering content, students will study and practice written and oral communication in engineering contexts. Coursework will emphasize audience analysis, writing strategies, genres of technical discourse, visual communication, collaboration, and professional responsibility. We will also consider ethical and social implications of engineering work, and how to address these issues in your writing and speaking practices.

If you are considering ChE or BME as your major, or you’re simply interested in exploring the “bio” aspect of engineering, this section is for you!

Please contact Dr. Saadet Albayrak-Guralp (saadetal@umich.edu) if you’d like to learn more about this section.

Anecdotes from previous students

“Being able to do hands-on work on the material we are studying has been extremely useful. As we learned about alginate beads or about biofuels, we were working on the exact same techniques that we were studying. This was vital to my understanding and I appreciated it greatly!”

“I loved this class, and I felt like I really learned a lot about technical communication and the engineering process.”

“I really enjoyed this class and it made me more certain that I would like to pursue my major because of how much I enjoyed this class, especially the lab portion.”

“While I am not very interested in this field, I am happy I took the class and definitely learned a lot.”

“Increased my knowledge of the subject matter and of engineering at UM in general. Also reaffirmed that I have chosen the right major! Best course of my semester and certainly a memorable one for the rest of my time here.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have broadened my view on Engineering as a whole.”

“I like all of the assignments that we have to do because I have learned from all of them and I can see the benefits of each, instead of like in other classes where students are just given busy work.”

“I really enjoyed the form and content of this class as a whole. I definitely feel like I’ve found my place in engineering.”