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Integrating Team Laboratory Experiments Into A Senior Biochemical Engineering Course

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

The Modern ChE Laboratory

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.705.1 - 7.705.16



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Paper Authors

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Christopher Brazel

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Session 3613

Integrating Team Laboratory Experiments Into a Senior Biochemical Engineering Course

Christopher S. Brazel Department of Chemical Engineering The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0203

Abstract A laboratory supplement to a senior biochemical engineering course was developed to improve teaming skills and expose chemical engineering students to nontraditional industries, such as food, pharmaceuticals, biomedical engineering, and bioprocessing. This diversity in the chemical engineering curriculum prepares students for a career that may include one of these industries. The course is taught as a 3-credit lecture class, and with funds awarded by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, four laboratory experiments were developed to involve the students in active learning and allow them to work directly with biological compounds and cells. The experiments emphasize some of the main points taught in lectures, namely in the areas of enzyme kinetics, fermentations, cell growth/nutrient supply, and bioseparations. Each of the student teams give one presentation on theory as the subject fits into the regularly scheduled lectures, and complete experiments before submitting a final report and giving a second presentation on experimental methods and results. The experiments give students a chance to work with equipment and techniques appropriate for the biotechnology industry, including hemocytometry, electrophoresis, centrifuges, incubators, dissolved oxygen probes, ultrafiltration membranes, and a spectrophotometer. Further information on this course is available on-line at, along with links to many biotechnology resources.

Introduction The University of Alabama’s chemical engineering department offers a biochemical engineering laboratory as part of an elective course to give students opportunities in the expanding markets of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. These two sectors have shown strong growth in employment of chemical engineers 1, and with the recent growth in technological breakthroughs related to biology and medicine, engineers must be trained to work with biochemicals for process design and scale up for production of such products as new drugs, biomaterials, bio-based fuels and enzymes2. In the next several years, chemical engineers will be increasingly exposed to biochemical processes in auxiliary roles, such as biochemical sensors for on-line monitoring of chemical reactors and the use of microorganisms in environmental bioremediation. With the advancements made in biological research in the past decade3, chemical engineers need to be trained to work with different chemical entities, and understand the importance of proteins, enzymes, polysaccharides and cellular bodies so that the research can be translated into marketable products, be used effectively to optimize production and reduce environmental waste, and keep our nation’s economy strong.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Brazel, C. (2002, June), Integrating Team Laboratory Experiments Into A Senior Biochemical Engineering Course Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10618

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