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Developing Inquiry-based Nanobiotechnology Laboratory Experience for Sophomores

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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

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.458.1 - 22.458.15



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Paper Authors


Jianyu Liang Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Jianyu Liang is Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. She received her Ph.D. from Brown University in 2005. She joined WPI in September 2004 and has established a Nanomanufacturing and Nanomaterials Laboratory at WPI. Her recent work has focused on developing novel nanomanufacturing approaches, investigating inter-facial properties at nanometer scale, and exploring the applications of nanomaterials in biotechnology, fuel cells and batteries.

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Terri A. Camesano Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Terri A. Camesano is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

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Developing Inquiry-based Nanobiotechnology Laboratory Experience for Sophomores Jianyu Liang and Terri Camesano Worcester Polytechnic Institute Worcester, MA 01609Nanobiotechnology is a new field that probes the intersection of nanomaterials with biologicalmolecules and cells. Innovations in nanobiotechnology are driving new medical and industrialapplications, including targeted drug delivery, clinical diagnostics, imaging, sensing, tissueengineering, and self-assembly of functional materials. While undergraduate students have nodoubt heard of the importance of nanotechnology and nanoscience, relatively few can appreciatehow the scale of matter affects the fundamental science or behavior of a system. Most learningon this topic tends to occur in upper-level electives or in senior thesis projects or REUprograms. Further, our undergraduate curricula do not include enough exploration-basedlaboratory courses, in which students work towards solving a problem in collaborative teams,rather than following "step-by-step" lab procedures.This paper discusses the creation at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) of an inquiry-basedseries of laboratory modules that are designed to expose students to nanobiotechnology, increasespecific skills in nanomaterial synthesis and characterization, augment their interest andconfidence in pursuing the subject matter, and encourage them to pursue higher levelnano-courses as well as research projects with the support from the NSF CCLI program. Twolab modules, nanopatterned surfaces with relevance for tissue engineering and targeteddelivery of therapeutics and creation and evaluation of mechanical properties of nanowires orother nanostructures, are being developed and planned to be offered in Spring 2011 and Spring2012. This three-credit course will comprise two major sessions: 1. Lecture and conference for learning background, principles and experimental tools and discussing experimental design and lab results; 2. Lab activities for learning and using experimental tools, such as scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and nanoparticle synthesis and characterization, to carry out the experimental design.Sophomores from across engineering and science boundaries are expected to participate in thecourse, working in multidisciplinary teams wherever possible. Working in teams withmentoring from the faculty, students will gain an exposure and appreciation of importantnanotechnology tools. Discussion and communication of research results (oral and written) willbe emphasized. Participation will improve specific skills needed to succeed in a career innanobiotechnology. In addition, students in our class will be actively engaged in thementoring of the next generation of engineers, by participating in Introduce a Girl to EngineeringDay and Gadget, which are annual programs for middle school girls and students of color, held atWPI each February. Qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods will be employed to helpus improve and guide the course as it progresses, allow us to determine the impact of the courseon students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes and help us ascertain how well we met our goalsand objectives.

Liang, J., & Camesano, T. A. (2011, June), Developing Inquiry-based Nanobiotechnology Laboratory Experience for Sophomores Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17739

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