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Enhancing the STEM Curriculum Through a Multidisciplinary Approach that Integrates Biology and Engineering: Biomaterials Modules

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Materials Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.670.1 - 26.670.8



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Paper Authors


Ethan Sclarsky Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Chemical Engineering undergraduate student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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Tyler Marquis Cooper Rowan University


Johannes Strobel Texas A&M University

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Dr. Johannes Strobel is Director, Educational Outreach Programs and Associate Professor, Engineering & Education at Texas A&M, College Station. He received his M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Information Science & Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri. His research/teaching focuses on engineering as an innovation in pK-12 education, policy of STEM education, how to support teachers and students' academic achievements through engineering, engineering ‘habits of mind' and empathy and care in engineering. He has published more than 140 journal articles and proceedings papers in engineering education and educational technology and is the inaugural editor for the Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research.

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Jennifer Kadlowec Rowan University


Andrea Jennifer Vernengo Rowan University

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Jennifer Vernengo is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University. Jennifer received her Ph.D. from Drexel University in 2007. She began work as a materials scientist at Synthes Biomaterials, then joined Drexel University College of Medicine as postdoc in 2009. Jennifer’s research is in the area of injectable biomaterials for orthopedic tissue replacement and repair. She is particularly interested in developing innovative approaches to biomedical engineering education.

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Enhancing the STEM Curriculum Through a Multidisciplinary Approach that IntegratesBiology and EngineeringDue to the increasing prevalence of cardiovascular and orthopedic disorders in today’s modernsociety, there is a necessity to engineer biomaterials that improve the quality of life for peoplewith painful and debilitating diseases. This will require educational institutions to providespecialized instruction in these areas. Yet, there have been relatively few published reports onbiomaterials and tissue engineering- related lab activities, and existing activities lack afoundation in materials science. A primary deliverable of this project is to address this need andthus strengthen science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education by developinginteractive experiments that introduce tissue engineering through a biomaterials designperspective, emphasizing mechanics, cell behavior, and drug delivery. Cutting-edge methods inthese fields have been adapted so they can be applied starting at the freshman level throughupper level electives in chemical, mechanical, or biomedical engineering and cellular/molecularbiology.This paper describes two experimental designs to engage students in the guided discovery ofpolymer science and its application to the i) characterization of polymers for meniscusreplacement, ii) the design of magnetic nanobiomaterials for hyperthermia cancer treatment. Theanticipated results of these modules will be i) increased student learning in STEM areas, ii)increased student interest in pursuing undergraduate and graduate study in STEM disciplines, iii)and, iv) the development of a well-rounded workforce of engineers prepared to findmultidisciplinary engineering solutions to the growing health care needs of the world.  

Sclarsky, E., & Cooper, T. M., & Strobel, J., & Kadlowec, J., & Vernengo, A. J. (2015, June), Enhancing the STEM Curriculum Through a Multidisciplinary Approach that Integrates Biology and Engineering: Biomaterials Modules Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24008

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