Biological Engineering


Society for Biological Engineering (SBE)

SBE is a global technological community that promotes the integration of engineering with biology and realize its benefits through bioprocessing, biomedical, and biomolecular applications. SBE provides opportunities for interaction of engineers and scientists, develops products and services bring value to the broad biological engineering community, and infuses awareness of biological engineering among all functions and activities of AIChE.

Forest Bioproducts Division (FBP)

The Forest Bioproducts Division promotes knowledge sharing and networking on topics dealing with products obtained from forest resources and other lignocellulosic materials.

Magnified view of the Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly

Fruit Fly Finding Could Fight Human Cancers

January 26, 2017

Researchers at Indiana University Bloomington have discovered that a molecule related to some forms of cancer and neurodegenerative disorders is also present in developing Drosophila melanogast

New Products: January 2017

New Products
Environmental, Health, and Safety Adsorbent Makes Use of Glass Waste The Green Glass Adsorbent Technology is made of recycled LCD-panel glass. This unique material adsorbs heavy metal ions from industrial wastewater, and then desorbs the ions so...

Little Bio-Machinery to Solve Grand Challenges

January 3, 2017
As we approach ICBE 2017, which begins this weekend in San Diego, we look back at some of the exciting research that figured among 2016's highlights and look forward to the new developments to be unveiled at ICBE 2017.

December 2016 CEP Preview

December 7, 2016

This month, CEP features a look at business planning, as well as pump sizing, reducing process safety risks with the bow-tie diagram, and much more.

Books: December 2016

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race Margot Lee Shetterly, William Morrow, New York, NY, $27.99, 368 pages, Sept. 2016, ISBN: 978-0-062-36359-6 During the labor...

Graphene Detects Brain Cancer Cells

December 20, 2016

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have used graphene to identify a single hyperactive cancerous brain cell, according to a

Study Points to Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine

December 30, 2016

Researchers at the University of Michigan have had a significant breakthrough in creating a customized therapeutic vaccine for treating colon and melanoma cancer tumors in mice.

2016 Annual Meeting Honors Ceremony Recap

November 14, 2016

The 2016 Institute and Board of Directors’ Award winners were given at the Honors Ceremony at the Annual Meeting in San Francisco. These are among AIChE’s most prestigious awards, honoring eminent chemical engineers for career accomplishments, service to society, and service to the Institute. See details and photos!

Books: November 2013

The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power and Status in the Twenty-First Century Ryan Avent, St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY, $26.99, 288 pages, Sept. 2016, ISBN: 978-1-250-07580-2 We are in the midst of an industrial revolution. Digital technology is...

Catalyzing Commercialization: DNA Sequencing: A New Diagnostic Tool for the Oil Industry

Catalyzing Commercialization
The U.S. oil industry is trying to do more with less, as operators seek to maximize reservoir production during a period of low oil prices. Producers are looking for cost-effective technology advances that can give them a competitive advantage to maintain profitability. One such technology may come from an unlikely source: the Human Genome Project.

Leadership Q&A: Leading a Business from Startup to Scaleup

Leadership Q&A
Genomatica, a bioengineering technology leader, has successfully grown past its startup phase and has established a presence in the chemical industry. It has raised over $100 million in financing, built partnerships with some of the largest global...

Technical Entity Trends: Optimize Production through Metabolic Engineering

Technical Entity Trends
Gabriel Levesque-Tremblay
Metabolic engineering is an emerging research field that focuses on optimizing genetic and regulatory processes within cells to increase the cells’ production of a particular substance. Metabolic engineering techniques can be used to redirect...

Bringing Value to Waste through Gas Fermentation [On Location]

March 16, 2011

As the world faces increasing energy challenges, one of the holy grails is a way to use waste carbon gasses to create new fuels or other high-value products. The ability to capture CO/CO2 to make a combustible fuel offers the possibility of a low/no-CO2 fuel. LanzaTech is currently piloting a CO/CO2 capture process, using a proprietary microbe that extracts carbon gasses from the air, to make fuel ethanol, using the basic oxygen furnace (BOF) gas from a steel mill in China. Roughly 30% of the carbon is converted into ethanol.

Nanofiber Designed to Combat Heart Attacks

September 1, 2011

Northwestern University researchers have created a nanomaterial that could help the body generate new blood vessels to potentially prevent heart attacks, the top killer of both men and women in the U.S.

A Universal Anesthesia Machine that Works Without Power

February 8, 2012

Ted Talks presents Erica Frenkel, a program officer at UAM Global, the company that offers a cost-effective scaleable solution for putting anesthesia machines that works in rugged environments often associated with developing countries. The machine is in 13 hospitals and 4 countries and new partnerships with NGOs will likely increase that number. Watch the video

Kitchen Biochemistry – Fermented Foods

September 18, 2012

Fermentation once provided a valuable method of preserving perishable items, providing nutritious food throughout the year. Read more about these wonderful biochemistry experiments (zymology) that eventually turned into delicacies around the world, thanks to sugar and strains of local bacteria and yeast.

Women in Chemical Technology: Nancy Chang

July 28, 2014

Nancy Chang left her home in Taiwan at age 19 and set off for America to study. With the decision to study biology, she took the first step in a long journey that led to a highly successful career in biotechnology.

Synthetic Membranes that Grow Like Living Cells

June 24, 2015

This week, a group of chemists and biologists working at the University of California San Diego announced that they have designed and synthesized an artificial cell membrane capable of sustaining c

Kristine Chin interviews Ann Lee and Jean Bender of Genentech

November 19, 2010

The recipient of this year's Corporate Innovation Award is Genentech. Ahead of their award lecture, Dr. Ann Lee, senior vice president and head of global technical development for Roche and Jean Bender, Ph.D. and principal engineer at Genentech, had a few minutes to sit down with manager of technical programing for AIChE, Kristine Chin, to chat a bit about Genentech. You can watch this interview in the video panel on the right.

The Search for Environmentally Friendly Energy: Ethanol vs. Butanol

November 14, 2011

The growing demand for carbon-neutral energy sources has fueled the search for biologically derived products. While the predominant liquid fuel is gasoline, the search is on for biofuel alternatives, but many pose considerable challenges. Currently ethanol is the most widely used biologically generated fuel. Ethanol, however, is difficult to transport in pipelines and also contains just 70% of the energy content of gasoline.

SBE Launches the Daniel I. C. Wang Award

April 17, 2012

The Society for Biological Engineering is happy to announce the launch of the Daniel I. C. Wang Award for excellence in biochemical engineering. This award is to show great appreciation for Professor Wang's contributions in the classroom and beyond. He has helped to make vast progress in biochemical engineering as well as make technological innovations in bioprocessing.

December 2012 CEP Preview

December 10, 2012

This month CEP looks at biological chemical engineering, focusing on the intersection of nanotechnology and biology. In this month's preview your also have access to the full text of "Easy Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency."

Photo Highlights from 2015 Honors Ceremony

November 9, 2015

The 2015 Institute and Board of Directors’ Award winners were given at the Honors Ceremony at the Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City. These are among AIChE’s most prestigious awards, honoring eminent chemical engineers for career accomplishments, service to society, and service to the Institute. See photos!

2011 ICBE: Metabolic Modeling [On Location]

January 24, 2011

Costas Maranas from Pennsylvania State University and Herbert Sauro from the University of Washington each spoke about their research efforts to simplify and standardize genomic models. Metabolic models are continually being developed to describe natural biotransformations by different groups around the world, which creates a great need for a reconciled database.

Lithium Ion Batteries the Diameter of a Human Hair

August 5, 2011

After years of research, Rice University researcher Pulickel Ajayan and his team have created a battery/supercapacitor hybrid that packs an entire lithium ion energy storage device onto a single nanowire.

Slideshow: 6th Annual ICBN

July 27, 2012

Nikala Gigliotti, an undergraduate in biomolecular engineering at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, attended the 6th annual International Conference for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (ICBN) at the University of California at Berkeley and shares photo highlights.

Arsenic: “King of Poisons” in Food and Water

May 15, 2013

For centuries, arsenic has been known to be a classic poison, causing deaths of many historic figures. While now just a murder-mystery cliché to many, arsenic is still actually causing harm, with dangerously high levels in food and water around the world.

Bioconversion of Methane

April 29, 2014

Developing biological processes that yield bio-fuels that that are devoid of oxygen moieties, and thus don't need to be upgraded, is some of the current work that is going on at Calysta Energy, as reported by their CTO, Dr. Josh Silverman.

Designing Drug-Delivery Nanoparticles

On The Horizon
Aaron Anselmo, Samir Mitragotri
Nanoparticles for drug delivery can be better designed by modeling the body as unit processes connected by the vascular system. Each organ and organ function can be represented as a unit process on organ-on-a-chip devices.

Scientists Unveil Interactive Atlas of Human Brain

April 14, 2011

The Seattle-based Allen Institute for Brain Science has unveiled a $55 million digital atlas of the human brain, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Available online to researchers, this interactive guide is the first tool to use computer technology to combine detailed anatomical information with findings with extensive genetic information.

Chaitan Khosla, 2011 Bailey Award Winner, Talks to SBE's Derek Lapiska

October 20, 2011

Dr. Chaitan Khosla of Stanford University is the winner of the 2011 Bailey Award. A professor of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, and Biochemistry in Standford University's School of Engineering, Dr. Khosla had a chance to sit down with the Society of Biological Engineering's Derek Lapiska for a chat ahead of his talk.

Björk's 'Hollow' Video Tells the Story of DNA Replication

March 7, 2012

Pop recording artist Björk released Biophilia, a project devoted to exploring the world of biology. The single "Hollow" tells the story of DNA, Björk-style. NPR describes the video for "Hollow," which you can click to here.

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Drug Delivery [On Location]

November 6, 2012

A novel drug delivery technique has nanoparticles thumbing for a ride aboard red blood cells. This promising work comes from researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who presented their findings at the 2012 Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh.

A Grad Student’s Right Decision

November 18, 2013

Learn how one grad student in biological engineering has increased his professional reach and enriched his career as a volunteer.

Important Breakthrough in DNA Computing

October 28, 2014

DNA computing occurs at the intersection of molecular biology, genetics, and biochemistry, and it promises an impressive leap in computing power if successful.

Newly Engineered Yeast Overcomes Major Biofuel Hurdle

January 5, 2011

Researchers have engineered a strain of yeast that can be used to produce ethanol far more efficiently than previously possible. The new yeast's potential lies in its ability to simultaneously consume two types of sugar—glucose and xylose—from biomass.

The Evolution of Drug Delivery

February 19, 2014

Recent years have brought massive changes in drug delivery, and biological engineers are at the forefront.

Nanodiamonds Show Promise for Cancer Drug Delivery

January 27, 2015

Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have discovered that nanodiamonds can be used to effectively deliver chemotherapy drugs and eliminate chemoreisistant cancer cells.

Production of Biofuels from Giant Miscanthus [On Location]

March 18, 2011

The plant giant miscanthus (GM), a grass of Japanese origins, is proving to be a viable contender for a land-efficient biomass source of biofuels. A patented hybrid has been developed that can yield 25 tons/acre (5 times more that switchgrass), and produces a bio-oil that can be used as boiler fuel, further processed into other fuels or value added products, or reformed to generate hydrogen.

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