Biomolecular Engineering

Biomolecular Engineering is an emerging discipline at the interface of molecular biology, biophysical chemistry, and chemical engineering — whose express purpose is developing novel molecular tools, materials and approaches that are the focal point of applied and basic research within academia, industry and medicine. This effort includes both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary activities, including applied mathematics and computer science, physical chemistry, synthetic and molecular biology, material science and molecular biophysics. The prime goal of these advanced studies is to translate our understanding of the fundamental principles of physical biochemistry into useful processes, devices, therapies, and diagnostics that will benefit society and advance human health.

Paul Van Tassel’s group seeks to understand, predict, and control the incorporation of biomolecular or biomimetic entities onto or within synthetic materials. The focus is on problems involving biomolecules at interfaces, nanofilm biomaterials, macromolecular adsorption under electric potential, and molecular templating—and a balanced blend of theory, computer simulation, and experiment is employed.

Jordan Peccia’s research focuses on the development of applications in bioaerosol detection and source tracking, microarrays and other high throughput measurements, production of functional binding biomolecules, biological production of sustainable fuels, and land application of biosolids.

Menachem Elimelech’s research focuses on several areas which include 1) transport and fate of microbial pathogens in aquatic environments, 2) membrane separations for desalination and water quality control, 3) processes involving nanomaterials and biomolecules in engineered and natural aquatic systems, and 4) water, sanitation, and public health in the developing world.

Kathryn Miller-Jensen's group seeks to understand how cells translate information from their environment into cellular responses via biochemical signaling networks, using both experimental and computational approaches.  Of special interest is to understand how viruses hijack host signaling networks to alter cell behavior. 

Mark Saltzman’s group seeks to develop 1) technology based on bio-compatible polymeric materials for the controlled delivery of drugs, proteins, and genes, 2) new polymeric materials that influence the growth and assembly of tissues, and 3) economical, transportable, and accessible methods for disease prevention.

Tarek Fahmy’s group focuses on biomaterials for drug and antigen delivery to the immune system; development of novel MRI contrast agents for detection of specific T cells and antigen-presenting cells; biological driven-design of materials for drug delivery.  

Jiangbing Zhou’s group focuses on the development of translational nanomedicine, gene therapy, and stem cell therapy for treatment of neurological disorders, such as brain cancer, stroke, and traumatic brain injury, through a unique combination of material science, biology, and engineering. 

Faculty involved with research:

Paul Van Tassel
– ChE & EnvE

Jordan Peccia
– ChE & EnvE

Menachem Elimelech
– ChE & EnvE

Mark Saltzman
– ChE & EnvE

Tarek Fahmy
– ChE & EnvE

Kathryn Miller-Jensen

Jiangbing Zhou
– Neurosurgery