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A Step Towards the Development of a Wet Cellular Bioengineering Laboratory

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Biological & Agricultural Poster Session

Tagged Division

Biological & Agricultural

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.103.1 - 22.103.17



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Paper Authors


Josue Orellana Washington State University

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Josue Orellana is currently in his Junior year of his B.S. in Electrical Engineering with emphasis in Bioengineering and Microelectronics at WSU. He has been involved in undergraduate research for two years. His research interests also include Bioelectronics and Sensing Technologies.

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Fabiola Quiroa Washington State University

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Fabiola Quiroa obtained an Associates of Science Degree from North Seattle Community College in 2009. She is currently in her Junior year in Chemical Engineering at WSU and is expected to graduate in 2012. She is a member of the Aerospace Club at WSU and has worked as an undergraduate research assistant at Dr. Abu-Lail’s laboratory for one year.

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Ala' Ibrahim Abu-Lail

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Ala’ Abu-Lail is a Junior Biomedical Engineering Student at Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan. She joined WSU past summer for an internship and worked on this project along with other students. 011-962-799-567596,

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Nehal I. Abu-lail Washington State University

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Nehal Abu-Lail is an assistant professor of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at Washington State University . She did her M.S. at Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid Jordan , her Ph.D. at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA . She also worked as a post doctoral researcher at Duke University, Durham NC. She has been at WSU since 2006. Her research is focused mainly on cellular interactions with surfaces. She has always been interested in integrating her research expertise in the classroom as described in this manuscript. 509-335-4961

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A Step towards the Development of a Wet Cellular Bioengineering Laboratory  The cellular bioengineering course deals with how engineering concepts apply to varioustypes of cells. The goal of this study was to develop hands-on experimental modules thatcan be incorporated in this course. These modules are designed to reinforce certaintheoretical concepts in the minds of participating students, allow students to applyquantitative models to real experimental data, enhance students’ abilities to designexperiments, expose students to experimental tools used in cellular bioengineering, givestudents a chance to work well within teams and finally improve students’ abilities tocommunicate their findings in oral and written formats.Specifically, four experimental hands-on modules were incorporated in the cellularbioengineering course curriculum. The first module introduced students to kinetics ofbacterial growth under chemical, physical and biological stresses. The students usedvarious mathematical models to predict the kinetics of the bacterial growth data collectedexperimentally. The next module introduced students to the concept of water transportacross a cell membrane. Students quantified osmotic diffusion across an egg membranevia Fick’s law and predicted the direction of water movement in solutions that varied intheir osmolality. The third modules introduced students to one dimensional transport ofbacteria in saturated porous media. By measuring the transport of non-pathogenicbacteria through porous media, students were able to predict the sticking coefficients ofbacteria to various types of materials through the use of one dimensional colloidalfiltration theory. Finally, students quantified enzyme kinetics of glucose oxidation via astandard simple colorimetric assay. The students modeled their kinetics results using theMichaelis-Menten model.By the end of each experiment, students were required to submit a written report thatdiscusses their findings. Students were encouraged to critique the design of the moduleand to provide design alternatives that will make the module perform better. The studentswere allowed to trouble-shoot problems while running various modules in an attempt toimprove their problem solving skills. Up to date, students’ feedback is very encouraging.The modules were designed to allow students to manipulate the experimental variablesand materials used in each module. Such flexibility aimed at enabling the students todevelop critical thinking skills by allowing them to tune the design of their experimentsto investigate real life problems and to test certain hypotheses via experiential learning.The ability of the modules to enhance students learning and ability to work well in teamsis currently being assessed using the teamwork rubric and a hands-on experiment rubric.The teamwork rubric is designed to evaluate leadership/initiative, facilitation/support andcontributions/work ethic (School Work Initiative, 2000). The hands-on experiment rubricis an adaptation of a rubric for designing authentic projects and experiments by the BuckInstitute for Education (2003) and classroom assessment techniques developed by Angelo& Cross (1993). Besides these rubrics, the experimental reports submitted by students arebeing graded and a detailed feedback is being provided to the students. Theseexperimental modules are the first step towards the development of a wet cellularbioengineering laboratory.         

Orellana, J., & Quiroa, F., & Abu-Lail, A. I., & Abu-lail, N. I. (2011, June), A Step Towards the Development of a Wet Cellular Bioengineering Laboratory Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17385

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