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Preparation of Biology Review and Virtual Experiment/Training Videos to Enhance Learning in Biochemical Engineering Courses

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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

Novel Student Experiences in Chemical Engineering

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1245.1 - 26.1245.10



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Paper Authors


Jacob James Elmer Villanova University

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Dr. Elmer earned dual B.S. degrees in Biology and Chemical Engineering from the University of Missouri Rolla in 2003 and obtained a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Ohio State University in 2007. After a short posdoc at Arizona State University and some adjunct teaching at Grand Canyon University, he secured an Assistant Professorship at Villanova University in the Chemical Engineering department. He currently teaches heat transfer and several biochemical engineering electives (Lab Techniques, Protein Engineering, etc.). His research focuses on developing novel blood substitutes and optimizing gene therapy treatments.

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Noelle K. Comolli Villanova University

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William J. Kelly Villanova University


Zuyi (Jacky) Huang Villanova University

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Zuyi (Jacky) Huang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Villanova University. He teaches Chemical Process Control (for senior students) and Systems Biology (for graduate students) at Villanova. He is enthusiastic in applying innovative teaching methods in class to educate students with modeling and control skills. His research is focused on developing advanced modeling and systems analysis techniques to manipulate microbial biological systems for generating biofuels from wastewater and for combating biofilm-associated pathogens. His BESEL group developed the first model for microbial desalination cells and the first metabolic modeling approach for quantifying the biofilm formation of pathogens.

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Title: Preparation of Biology Review and Virtual Experiment/Training Videos to Enhance Learning in Biochemical Engineering CoursesAbstract: Two major challenges are inherent in any biochemical engineering course – (1) thestudent must have a good understanding of fundamental biology concepts to fully comprehendadvanced BioChE concepts and (2) most of the techniques discussed in BioChE courses are toolong, hazardous, or expensive to demonstrate in a classroom setting. We have addressed theseissues by preparing a series of videos that review basic biology concepts and demonstrate severaldifferent BioChE techniques. For example, our fundamental biology review videos include:  Molecular Biology Videos: DNA Replication, Transcription, Translation, Enzymatic Reactions, and other Biomolecules (Lipids, sugars, etc.)  Cell Physiology Videos: Mitosis, Cell Structure/Organelles, Metabolism, and Signaling  Human Anatomy Videos: Tissues/Organs/Systems, Immunology, and Intro to Cancer  Microbiology Videos: Viruses/Bacteria/Fungi and Recombinant Plasmids The primary goal of these videos is to ensure that students have a firm grasp on basic biologyconcepts to help them fully understand the more advanced BioChE topics discussed in class.The students are also required to watch the videos before class, allowing us to spend less time inclass reviewing biology topics and more time discussing new and advanced BioChE concepts.For example, a review video on cell division or mitosis might be assigned as homework beforecell growth kinetics are discussed in class. We are also trying to enhance understanding ofadvanced BioChE topics is by preparing the following “virtual experiment” videos, which allowus to demonstrate state-of-the-art experimental techniques in any classroom:  Bacterial Cell Culture: Plasmid Preps, Recombinant Protein Expression  Animal Cell Culture: Freezing, Thawing, Passaging, Incubating, and Assaying Cells  Microscopy: Light and Fluorescent Microscopy, with images of cells  Molecular Biology: PCR, Digests, Ligation, Agarose Gels, and Transformation  Protein Purification: AEX, HIC, IMAC, SEC, Precipitation, Ultrafiltration, and PAGE These videos enhance student learning by providing a (virtual) lab experience that studentswould not receive in a traditional lecture format. We have also used these videos to streamlinethe training process for undergraduate and graduate students performing research in our labs.Many of the videos have already been utilized in our BioChE courses and we have evaluatedtheir effectiveness with student surveys. Overall, we hope that these videos will reinforce ourstudents’ knowledge of fundamental biology concepts and develop a deep and lastingunderstanding of the more advanced topics discussed in BioChE courses. Finally, it is alsoimportant to mention that all of these videos were prepared for BioChE courses, but may beutilized in other disciplines as well (e.g. Mechanical or Civil Engineering). We may alsoeventually upload the videos to Youtube for others to use as well. We would prefer that this project be included in the regular section.

Elmer, J. J., & Comolli, N. K., & Kelly, W. J., & Huang, Z. J. (2015, June), Preparation of Biology Review and Virtual Experiment/Training Videos to Enhance Learning in Biochemical Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24582

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