instructors: Kyriacos Athanasiou & Ka-Yiu San
Overview (integration of biology into course)
Cellular engineering is a new field that addresses issues related to understanding and manipulating cell structure-function relationships. This course is intended to be a bridge between cell biologists and engineers, to understand quantitatively cell biological aspects. Cellular engineering is intrinsically connected to the new field of tissue engineering. As we embark on approaches to engineer new tissues that have always been considered too difficult for intervention, the use of cells takes an almost central role. For example, if we want to generate the liver, we must first understand what hepatocytes like and how we can modulate their function. In numerous medical applications, we wish to make skeletal tissues regenerate. We often try to use biodegradable scaffolds that are appropriately modified and that can be loaded with osteoblasts. Central to these approaches is our use of cells and our understanding of their interactions with biomaterials. It is important to understand how cells adhere to biomaterials, how they receive external signals from their substrata or their milieu, how they move, and what they need in order to make or synthesize extracellular matrix.
Students are provided with an introduction to engineering principles and modeling at the cellular level. Of particular interest are cytomechanics, receptor/ligand binding, genetic engineering, enzyme kinetics, and metabolic pathway engineering.
The following topics are covered:
1. Basic cell biology and processes
2. Mechanics of cells and subcellular elements. Topics include flow, hydrostatic pressure, tension, torsion, flexure, and combined loads.
3. Receptors, ligands, and interactions.
4. Gene transfer techniques and genetic engineering.
5. Enzyme kinetics.
6. Metabolic pathway engineering.
7. Oral and written reports based on a team project.
SYLLABUS / TOPIC / SCHEDULE
This course tightly integrates two projects into the course
materials. Written and oral presentations are required for both
projects. In addition, the involvement of the Rice Cain Project
further strengthens the students' written and oral presentation skills.
Integration Into Curriculum
BIOE 321 provides the students with many opportunities to apply what they have learned in their other classes, such as biochemistry,
cell biology, mechanical engineering, and physiology. This course also introduces various concepts and techniques in the bioengineering areas,
including structure-function characteristics of cells, instrumentation methodologies, microscopy techniques, biomechanics,
enzyme kinetics and metabolic control theory. This course provides a solid foundation for other upper level courses.