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.

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.

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!

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...

Intel Employees Grow Algae By Harnessing their Arizona Chip Fab's Carbon Dioxide

April 27, 2011

Intel's on an roll. Just in time for Earth Day, their huge, Arizona chip fab was the first semiconductor manufacturing company to receive LEED certification for its entire campus. The improvements that led to the new LEED classification came from Intel employees, and, as the whole idea of sustainability gains momentum at Intel, many new ideas are starting to come from outside the research lab.

Best Innovations of 2010

January 6, 2011

Towards the end of the year, I typically read quite a few top 10, 20, or 50 lists of music, books, or movies. One list that I read, however, was more unique – Time Magazine’s “50 Best Inventions of the Year.” It struck me because not only was it interesting, it was one that involved chemical and biomolecular engineering, a subject near and dear to my heart.

The Entire Human Genome at Your Fingertips on an iPad Near You—Free

June 27, 2011

Logging too much time on your iPad playing Angry Birds? How about a truly productive app? Browse the human genome on your iPad. Twelve years ago the complete genome wasn't even accessible. Now you can hold the work of Celera Corporation, government universities, and research centers from around the world in your hands. Isn't this is the way technology is supposed to work, making life simpler and more productive at the same time? Take your iPad to the lab guilt-free and share it with colleagues.

Three Free Online Databases Chemical Engineers Can't Live Without

December 26, 2011

IBM announced plans to give the National Institutes of Health a database of more than 2.4 million chemical compounds. NIH will add this information to PubChem, a freely available database of chemical structures of small organic molecules and information on their biological activities.

World's Lightest Material Unveiled

July 18, 2012

German researchers unveiled to the public the world's lightest material, which they call Aerographite. The material weights just 0.2 mg per cubic centimeter, making it 75 times lighter than Styrofoam.

DNA Goes Digital

February 19, 2013

If our next leap in data storage is to a DNA-based system, chemical engineers and bioengineers will find themselves at the heart of computer science and tasked with preserving the world's knowledge for future generations.

September 2016 CEP Preview

September 14, 2016
This month, CEP features a Society of Biological Engineering supplement that delves into synthetic biology. The issue also takes a close look at drug-delivery nanoparticles, among many other biological and chemical engineering topics.

SBE Supplement: Synthetic Biology - SBE Update: The Expanding Synthetic Biology Toolbox

SBE Special Section
Darlene Schuster
Synthetic biology is growing in both interest and impact. This developing field combines techniques from such disciplines as genetic engineering, molecular engineering, systems biology, and computer engineering. The scientists and engineers who work in this field design and construct novel biological entities (e.g., proteins, genetic circuits, metabolic pathways, etc.) and redesign existing biological systems.


October 6, 2010

Having just read an article in the New York Times on Dr. J. Craig Venter, I can’t stop thinking how cool synthetic biology is. Whether you are an engineer or a scientist, these are extremely exciting times for the biotech industry!

Google Celebrates First Biochemist to Isolate Vitamin C

September 16, 2011

Have you noticed how Google decorated their logo today? Google's citrus-themed logo sports two oranges, some other citrus fruits, and a harvest-friendly font. Why? Today is the 118th birthday of the Nobel-prize-winning biochemist Albert von Szent-Györgyi de Nagyrápolt.

Szent-Györgyi was a Hungarian-born biochemist and the first to isolate vitamin C and his research on biological oxidation formed the foundation for Krebs' citric acid cycle.

Free Rice Genome Database Will Speed Biofuel Research

February 15, 2012

Built on 24 known data sets, the first genome-scale model for predicting the functions of genes and gene networks in a grass species, called RiceNet, is expected to help speed the development of new advanced biofuels from Miscanthus and switchgrass.

New Device Harvests Movement to Generate Energy

September 4, 2014

A new small device that relies on nanotechnology successfully generates electric current from simple vibrations. Its creators look to relieve the load on batteries or eliminate them completely.

New Sensor Banishes Bad Beer

May 27, 2016
Researchers in Madrid have developed a polymer sensor that aims to spare drinkers from the taste of stale beer.

New Nanotechnology Helps Heal Heart Tissue

May 24, 2011

Researchers at Brown University have used carbon nanotubes to create a patch that can regenerate heart tissue in the lab, according to a report in Technology Review. The patch is formed of chains of carbon atoms that fold onto themselves to create a tube that is capable of conducting electricity and mimics the surface of natural tissue.

Replacing Body Parts—NOVA Science Now

February 16, 2011

In this fantastic piece entitled Replacing Body Parts on PBS’s NOVA series, Neil deGrasse Tyson explores new research in the field of human organ transplantation. He notes that a common problem with organ donation is that the recipient’s body rejects the transplant because it identifies the organ as being foreign. A new solution for this problem is to create an organ that is made of the recipient’s own cells. The researchers included in the video, including Chemical Engineer and MIT professor Bob Langer, take organs from cadavers of humans or other mammals and wash out the cells with a chemical found in shampoo.

Stem-Cell Therapy Eye Treatment Proves Safe

January 26, 2012

Good news for stem-cell therapy: a paper reports that two subjects in a clinical trial have each safely received injections of embryonic stem cells into an eye.

Chemical Engineers Design Nanoparticles to Target Cancer Tumors

May 2, 2011

Chemical engineers at MIT have designed a nanoparticle that could one day be used to target cancerous tumors, reports MIT News. The particle, which could be used to deliver drugs to tumors, takes advantage of the fact that tumors generally exhibit higher acidity that healthy tissue. Like other drug-delivering nanoparticles, the researchers' creation is covered in a polymer that keeps it from degrading in the bloodstream. These particles, however, drop their protective polymer cloak once exposed to the higher acidity of a tumor. Underneath the protective coating is another layer that can penetrate the tumor. The particles are described in detail in the journal ACS Nano.

New Kidney Transplant Method Uses Stem Cells

March 13, 2012

Applications for stem cells seem endless. These versatile cells can be used to study development and disease, and they also have the ability to replace damaged cells and treat disease, to name a few of their uses. Recently, there is a new front on which stem cells have an important role: organ transplants.

Plasma Synthesis of Metal Sulfide Nanocrystals [On Location]

December 10, 2013

Metal sulfide nanocrystals have typically been synthesized in hot solvent-solution phase systems that bring with them a host of quality and productivity issues. Current work at the University of Minnesota seeks to avoid these problems by utilizing a non-thermal plasma reactor and deposition system.

Google Aims to Spot Cancer and Heart Disease with Wristband

November 5, 2014

Google has announced that one of the special projects it's working on entails creating a wristband that will perform diagnostic tests on the wearer, such as looking for indicators of cancer and heart disease, among other ailments.

Polymer Nanotubes that Resemble Nerve Structures

August 26, 2015

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have created linkages of polymer nanotubes that resemble the structure of a nerve and are capable of transmitting electrical impulses.

2011 ICBE Keynote by Frances Arnold—Evolutionary Design [On Location]

January 17, 2011

The 2011 ICBE—International Conference on Biomolecular Engineering—started with a fantastic keynote speaker. Frances Arnold, from the California Institute of Technology, gave a great look into her career focusing on evolutionary design of proteins and biological systems, and her research groups’ success with cytochrome P450 enzymes.

Termites: Homeowner Scourge or Biofuel Savior?

July 18, 2011

An unwanted house pest and suburban scourge, suddenly the termite has been accidentally and disasterously rehabilitated by science. Hyperbole? Termite control professionals don't think so.

Printing A Human Kidney

December 27, 2011

Atala, whose team developed the first lab-grown organ, explains how his lab's 3-D printing technology is used to create human organs. In addition to the bladder that was transplanted, Wake Forest has also managed to engineer miniature kidneys from bio-materials and cells.

World's First Computer Model of an Entire Organism

July 23, 2012

Opening the door to a new era computer-aided biological engineering, Stanford researchers announce in an article published in the journal Cell that they have completed the first computer model for an entire organism.

4th International Conference on Stem Cell Engineering

February 24, 2014

Presented by SBE and ISSCR, this meeting brings together engineers, biologists, and clinicians who are working on cellular therapies in order to accelerate progress towards designing the stem cell and its environment.

Conductive Nanotube Cables Could Advance Renewable Energy and More

September 21, 2011

Researchers at Rice University have announced a nanotechnology success that could play a significant role in making renewable energy more practical and could contribute to many electrical applications where weight is a factor. The breakthrough: researchers have created carbon nanotubes that are approaching electrical conductivities seen in metal wires, a goal that has been pursued since the 1980s.

More ChE Manufacturing: Rebuilding the Body

October 3, 2012

Tissue engineering is potentially a new area of custom ChE-style manufacturing, illustrating how our approaches to manufacturing go beyond the popular view that manufacturing is making products with machinery or assembly lines.


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