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A Hybrid First Year Science Course For Engineering Students – Integrating Biology With Chemistry

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

FPD11 -- Multidisciplinary Experiences

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.50.1 - 12.50.14



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Paper Authors


W. David Harding University of New Haven

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DAVID HARDING is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of New Haven. He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering and M.S. in Engineering from Purdue University, and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University. He has a PE license from the state of Indiana and nearly ten years of industrial experience. His professional interests include oxidation catalysis, pollution prevention and environmental processes.

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Pauline schwartz University of New Haven

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Pauline Schwartz is an Associate Professor of chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at University of New Haven. She has taught a wide variety of courses including general chemistry, organic chemistry and advanced organic chemistry courses. She developed and taught the lecture component of EAS120 Chemistry with Applications to Biosystems. Dr. Schwartz brings a biochemical perspective to the department and actively seeks to incorporate chemical biotechnology and medicinal chemistry into graduate and undergraduate programs. As a Visiting Associate Professor in Dermatology, Dr. Schwartz is conducting research with members of the Yale School of Medicine.

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Jean Nocito-Gobel University of New Haven

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Jean Nocito-Gobel, an Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of New Haven, received her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is currently serving as the Coordinator for the First Year Program. Her professional interests include modeling the transport and fate of contaminants in groundwater and surface water systems, as well as engineering education reform.

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Agamemnon Koutsospyros University of New Haven

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AGAMEMNON KOUTSOSPYROS is a Professor and Graduate Coordinator of the Environmental Engineering Program at the University of New Haven. He received his B.S/M.S. in Chemical Engineering from National Technical University of Athens and M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Polytechnic University, New York. His research interests include physical/chemical treatment of energetic materials, plasmochemical degradation of volatile organic compounds, fate and transport of tungsten and tungsten compounds in soil and aquatic systems, engineering education.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Hybrid First Year Science Course for Engineering Students - Integrating Biology with Chemistry Abstract

Biology is playing an increasingly important role in many engineering fields. With the typical engineering program already having a high credit hour requirement, the question becomes, how to best integrate biology concepts into a packed engineering curriculum. A typical biology course is not likely to introduce the important concepts of biology to engineering students. The solution here is to develop a hybrid course that integrates chemistry and biology.

In the course, Chemistry with Applications to Biosystems, the concept is to develop a course that integrally links important concepts of chemistry and biology. The course focuses on the areas of biology most relevant to engineers: the structure and function of biologically important molecules, and concepts of biosystems (cell proliferation, immune and nervous systems and metabolism). A special topics thread has been included to weave current events into the course. During the most recent offering the focus was on various aspects of bird flu.

This is a required course for Chemical, Civil and General Engineering students and is an elective taken by a large fraction of Mechanical Engineering students as part of the Multidisciplinary Engineering Foundation Spiral Curriculum. The course is typically taken during the second semester in place of a second general chemistry course. The course has been structured to provide the background needed for subsequent study of organic chemistry and physical chemistry. The introduction to concepts of biology is also structured to provide the necessary foundation for incorporation of biological applications in upper level engineering courses such as mass transfer.

The course includes a laboratory component incorporating experiments from biology and environmental engineering concepts with classical general chemistry. Approximately one half of the experiments are common with a typical second semester general chemistry course. The remaining experiments include protein assay, enzyme kinetics, acid base behavior of amino acids and biochemical oxygen demand. The laboratory component also places a heavy emphasis on data analysis, uncertainty analysis and applications of statistics in experimentation.

This paper will detail the development and delivery of Chemistry with Applications to Biosystems. Comparative data will be presented to illustrate the performance of students in subsequent course work, particularly organic chemistry.


Advances in science and technology during the past decade have increased the importance of the biological science in engineering. A knowledge of some significant aspects of the biological sciences is now required in many fields of engineering. To adapt to these demands, many engineering programs across the United States have struggled to determine the best way to introduce the necessary materials to their students. In this paper we discuss the path chosen at

Harding, W. D., & schwartz, P., & Nocito-Gobel, J., & Koutsospyros, A. (2007, June), A Hybrid First Year Science Course For Engineering Students – Integrating Biology With Chemistry Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2959

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