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Biology For All Engineering Disciplines.

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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

Biology and Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.310.1 - 12.310.6



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Paper Authors

author page

Christine Pauken Arizona State University

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

Biology for All Engineering Disciplines Introduction:

This course is designed to provide an overview and introduction to biology and its interfaces with and applications to engineering. At the end of the semester, each student should have:

• A basic understanding of molecular biology with application to engineering design • A basic understanding of cellular biology with application to engineering design • A basic understanding of anatomy and physiology with application to engineering design • A basic understanding of ecology with application to engineering design • Knowledge about the interface between engineering and biology

Thus this course differs in several strategic ways from either a general survey course that can serve as a science requirement and from an introductory biology course for those majoring in the life sciences. There are more applications of physics and quantitative methods than is typical in most introductory biology courses. However because it is an overview course that is one semester in length, there is not the depth of detail concerning various biological processes that one would encounter in a course for majors that are usually one academic year in length. Finally, there is the discussion of how biology and engineering interact, both how various biological components can be used in engineering design and how engineering impacts biological and environmental processes and problems and how it might be used to solve such problems.

Course Architecture:

The course builds from a molecular level through cellular, organ, organismal, and then population/ community/ ecosystem level. This allows an analogy of “parts” to build devices that are then used in systems. Also presented is the idea that biological phenomena have emergent properties. Often, this is the first time that college students are presented with the concept of emergence. Some students easily accept this concept while others need time and multiple explanations in order to digest the idea. The concepts of evolution and adaptation have to be introduced and continually reinforced as well as the idea that the laws of physics are always relevant and affect physiology, evolution and adaptation at all times.

At the molecular level there is a discussion of amino acids, nucleotides, sugars and fatty acids/ lipids as building blocks with different properties and functions. The amino acids are used to build proteins with different three-dimensional structures that give the proteins their function. The properties and structural differences of DNA and RNA are detailed. The functions of lipids are described, as are the functions of sugars. They can then learn the overall chemical equations of glycolysis and the Kreb’s cycle to synthesize ATP as the primary source of energy for cellular processes. The role of oxidative phosphorylation and ATP synthase in the mitochondria are introduced. The role of enzymes as catalysts and how their specificity is dependent upon their amino acid sequence and three-dimensional structure is stressed in this discussion of biochemistry.

Pauken, C. (2007, June), Biology For All Engineering Disciplines. Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1964

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