Evolving Biological Engineering
- Type: Conference Presentation
- Skill Level:
In 2010, SBE awarded the James E. Bailey Award, endowed by Cytos Biotechnology, to Dr. Harvey Blanch of the University of California - Berkeley, for his research and advancements in transport, kinetics, and thermodynamics in enzymatic and microbial processes. Dr. Blanch is the Merck Professor of Biochemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. His research has provided an understanding of gas-liquid mass transfer, mixing and rheology in fermentations. He developed enzymatic and microbial routes for the conversion of lignocellulosic materials to sugars and their subsequent fermentation to biofuels such as ethanol. Professor Blanch will give his award lecture at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' Annual meeting on Tuesday, November 9th at 6pm. Biochemical engineering evolved from unit operations related to antibiotic fermentations, through production of single cell protein, amino and organic acids, gasohol, and applications of immobilized enzymes. In the 1980s, revolutionary advances in life sciences spawned the growth of the biotechnology industry. New methods in molecular and cell biology have enabled engineers to develop sophisticated descriptions of cellular metabolism and bioproduct formation. Today, high-throughput and ‘omics technologies underpin biological approaches to food, chemicals and pharmaceutics production, and the development of alternative energy sources. The subtleties of natural materials guide new generations of ceramics and polymers. With a look back at this rapid growth at the interface of biology and engineering, we will project where biological engineering will provide future impacts.