Professors Involved

Raj Mutharasan: Bioreactors
The heart of the bioprocess used for the manufacture of a biological product is the bioreactor. It is usually a large vessel with a capacity ranging from 1000 liters to 100,000 liters, made of stainless steel and equipped with an agitation system to keep the contents uniformly mixed and to provide oxygen transfer. The design of the bioreactor should ensure sterlity and provide for containment of the genetically engineered microorganism. The bioreactor includes sensors that permit monitoring of as many critical processes parameters (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen) as possible so that they can be adjusted to within allowable values.

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Maggie Wheatley: Drug Delivery

Drug Delivery is a discipline that deals with both science and engineering issues concerning effective methods for introducing drugs into the human body. We are most familiar with the oral delivery method (swallow a pill). Insulin, a hormone, is far too fragile to be taken orally as our digestive system would hydrolyse it. It is important for us to know how the body takes up and eliminate drugs. A whole discipline deals with the mathematical treatment of these issues. It develops models for the effects of drugs on the body, and how the body handles a drug. The area is too vast to cover in-depth here. We will concentrate on a brief discussion of Pharmacokinetics followed by drug delivery technologies.

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Young Lee: Biosensors
A Biosensor consists of two components: a bioreactor and a transducer. The bioreceptor is a biomolecule that recognizes the target analyte and the transducer converts the recognition event into a measurable signal. The uniqueness of a biosensor is that the two components are integrated into one single sensor. This combination enables one to measure the target analyte without using reagents. For example, the glucose concentration in a blood sample can be measured directly by a biosensor by simply dipping the sensor in the sample. The simplicity and the speed of measurement are the main advantages of a biosensor. In this module, fundamental concepts of analysis, design and fabrication of common biosensors are included with a special emphasis on glucose biosensor.

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Wayne Magee: Molecular Biology

This section of the bioengineering course will introduce you to the concepts of molecular biology critical to engineering biotechnology. That is, we will examine the properties of hte nucleic acids that constitute genes which code for proteins that are the end product of gene action and the main focus of gentic engineering. We will investigate our model, the hormone insulin, its structure and the general role it plays in regulating the blood level of glucose. Individuals who suffer from diabetes either are unable to produce insulin, or have some defect in responding to the hormone signals.

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