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A Three Week Hands On Introduction To Biotransport And Drug Delivery For First Year Engineering Students

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

BME Courses

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.118.1 - 9.118.9



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Paper Authors

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John Wagner

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Daniel Cavanagh

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Session 1309

A Three-Week Hands-On Introduction to Biotransport & Drug Delivery for First-Year Engineering Students

Daniel P. Cavanagh, John J. Wagner

Biomedical Engineering Program & Department of Chemical Engineering / Department of Mechanical Engineering Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA


In their first semester at Bucknell, all engineering students enroll in Exploring Engineering which is an introductory course designed to provide the students with an introduction to Bucknell’s six engineering disciplines as well as overarching concepts such as engineering design, ethics and teamwork. In one component of the course, each student participates in two three-week seminars which provide a more in-depth and hands-on introduction to the disciplines. To complement the new biomedical engineering major at Bucknell, we have implemented a new biotransport seminar with a focus on drug delivery. The goal of the seminar is to expose the students to the fundamental concepts associated with drug delivery and to provide the opportunity to implement these concepts in a hands-on environment.

The ten lectures and three labs in the seminar are presented in an order which is analogous to the simple pathway of an orally ingested drug. While the early lectures focus on the possible routes of entry of a drug into the body and basic dissolution mechanics, the first lab experiment involves quantifying the dissolution of a throat lozenge under varying levels of heat and agitation (Farrell and Hesketh, 2002). Following dissolution, the lectures focus on simple diffusion in order to describe the transport of the drug from the stomach into the bloodstream. Next, the seminar examines the mechanics of blood flow with the corresponding lectures providing a basic introduction to cardiac fluid mechanics including cardiac physiology, Bernoulli’s equation, Reynolds number and flow resistance. In the associated fluid mechanics lab, the students utilize an assortment of fluid flow equipment to design and build a recirculating flow system for examining how pressure and flow resistance in a tube is affected by flow rate, tube length and degree of constriction. In the last lab session, the students merge the first two experiments into a single experiment which examines the effects of the recirculating flow on the dissolution and transport of the dissolving lozenge. Overall, this seminar provides an introductory, hands-on experience into the fundamental concepts associated with biotransport and drug delivery.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Wagner, J., & Cavanagh, D. (2004, June), A Three Week Hands On Introduction To Biotransport And Drug Delivery For First Year Engineering Students Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13207

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