Course Summary

Course Description

The Biology and Bioengineering concentration provides a broad view of molecular, cellular and physiological biology, with a focus on practical applications to biotechnology and biomedical techniques, technologies, processes, products, and services. Some courses emphasize regulatory, legal, and ethical considerations. Students choosing this concentration will be equipped to understand, design and manage these technologies as corporate or government employees, and will also be prepared to pursue graduate study in biological or health sciences and engineering.

Career Possibilities

  • Medical Doctor
  • Geneticist
  • Bioinformatics Specialist
  • Bioprocessing Engineer
  • Supply Chain Manager
  • Marketing Director

Major Foundation Requirements

NS300 / Physical Characteristics of Molecules and Photons

Explore the physical and chemical properties of matter through phase diagrams, thermodynamic equilibria, and kinetics. Investigate energetic properties of materials and their interaction with electromagnetic fields through elastic and inelastic/fluorescent scattering of light. Apply these principles to analyze, decompose, and contribute to the development of important technological products and processes.

NS301 / The Implications of Organic and Inorganic Cycles

Take an in-depth look at the origin and chemistry of carbon compounds, water, nitrogen, and metals, including their physical properties and their roles in life on Earth. The Earth’s carbon cycle including photosynthesis, respiration and weathering as well as technological applications of various forms of carbon in food, energy utilization and storage. The uses of analytical tools such as isotope ratios in geology and archeology. The role of molecular nitrogen in the atmosphere and its assimilation into organic matter, its oxidation-reduction cycle its impact on the energy cost of modern agriculture.

NS302 / Modifications of Biological Architecture and Programming

Evolution is the fundamental unifying principle of all biological processes: metabolism, regulatory processes, signal transduction, neuronal excitation, mechano-chemical structures and their function, differentiation, programmed cell death, and proliferation in both individual organisms and community life. Study Darwin’s insight into natural selection in the context of biochemical adaptations of life. Explore the development of resistance in organisms that results from imposed stresses in various ecosystems, including human health and disease states.

Concentration Core Requirements

NS330 / Genetics and Biochemistry

Genetics refers to the means by which an organism transmits its genes to offspring, which can only be understood by also including epigenetic effects. Investigate the regulation of gene expression, genomes and genomics along with the evolutionary roles of mutation, variation and selection. Students also explore genetic principles in agricultural and medical applications.

NS331 / Molecular Biotechnology

Understand the theory and practice of biotechnology, including recombinant DNA, genomics, transgenic organisms, and cell and tissue engineering including stem cells and organoid growth. Consider systems challenges and biotechnology solutions for problems in agriculture, environmental remediation, energy production, aquaculture, manufacturing, and health. Also examine the scientific promises and pitfalls of current and proposed biotechnology solutions, factoring in regulatory and ethical environments. [prerequisite

NS332 / Bioinformatics

Computational methods dominate much of molecular biology, genetics, proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics and studies of evolution. These methods include database searching (for example, GenBank, PDB and BLAST), pairwise sequence alignment using dynamic programming (GAP and BestFit), gene finding, phylogenetics, and methods of structural determination. Apply these techniques and software tools to the exploration of genetic data related to diseases, structure-prediction programs, and finding targets for new drug design.

Concentration Electives

NS333 / Microbiology

Microbes are pervasive and exist in many environments. Delve into the laboratory science of microbes, including details of industrial processes utilizing these organisms and the evolution of relevant laboratory instrumentation. Explore methods of separation science, nucleic acid analysis by polymerase chain reaction and DNA sequencing methods. Topics also include the taxonomy of bacteria, protozoa, fungi, algae, and viruses and how their ecosystems interact in human biology and in society. Metagenomics as a mean to discover new existing organisms and clarify evolutionary traits.

NS335 / Genomics, Transcriptomics, and Proteomics

Research nucleic acid sequencing, focusing on both the science and the laboratory instruments. Explore case studies in phylogenetics of organisms and biomolecules — including population genetics, the emergence of companion diagnostics and personalized medicine – and study the use of mass spectrometry and other tools of proteomics used for studying expressed proteins.

NS360 / Biological Networks and Systems Biology

Combine concepts and methods from multiple disciplines (biology, computer science, mathematics, and physics) to examine the emergence of higher-level properties of complex biological systems. Discover how current software tools have been developed and how they function in systems biology. Students become familiar with network and pathway analysis using "omics" data and are able to use high-throughput data to identify biologically significant features using systems biology approaches

NS433 / Biochemical Engineering

Successful manufacture of large-scale recombinant proteins is a recent chapter of a long and glorious history, stretching back at least to the earliest uses of fermentation for alcoholic beverages. Understand the technology of fermentation through case studies on the production of industrial enzymes and therapeutic proteins. Usage of antibodies to detect and follow signal transduction pathways and their application as drugs.

NS434 / Tissue Engineering

Tissue defects or loss of function may occur through injury, disease or birth defects. Tissue engineers design and develop biomaterials as well as new methods for coaxing regeneration or growth of new tissues and organs. Delve into the primary biological factors and polymer science related to engineering specific tissues to replace lost function. Review the roles of extracellular matrix and cell growth, differentiation and migration in the context of skin, nerve, pancreas, liver, adipose, and other tissues. Consider recent progress on the uses of 3-d printing of biological tissue.

NS532 / Advanced Neural Prosthetics

Explore the design and development of devices that substitute for a function lost in development or through injury or disease. Prostheses — designed to be minimally invasive, biocompatible and able to communicate their operation to the patient or health care support — help repair lost functions, including motor, sensory and cognitive abilities. Examples include cochlear implants, microscale electrode arrays for visual prostheses and cognitive prostheses (for Parkinson’s disease, paralysis or traumatic brain injury).

NS533 / Biology of the Neuron

Delve into the morphology of neurons and the nature of their electrical behavior by studying the resting and action potentials of cells along with the biochemical basis of synaptic transmission. Characterize the structure and function of sodium and potassium ion channels, and research the propagation of an action potential in the context of membrane properties. Further topics include the formation of synapses and the roles of axon path finding and neurotransmitters. Analyze how novel techniques for neuronal repair such as stem cells and optogenetics advance medical treatment and our understanding of disease.

NS534 / Biomembranes, Biofilms, and Compartmentalization

Explore the structure and function of the phospholipid bilayer membrane as the fundamental mechanism of compartmentalization in biology. Different molecular components and concentrations exist across a membrane and communication across membranes requires special channels, transporters and molecular machinery. Exploit the unique composition of specific membranes to control drug delivery to relevant targets in the cell. Study the evolution and maintenance of microbial biofilms, their cellular and extracellular structure, anaerobic survival, and their role in infectious diseases. 

NS535 / The Bioethics of Enhancement

Examine bioethics from both historical and contemporary perspectives with a special emphasis on cutting-edge technologies that increase cognitive processing. Is there a difference between a hearing aid and an auditory prosthetic that increases hearing capacity above normal limits? Should cognitive enhancing drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall be banned in Universities and Chess competitions? Applying ethics studies to the biological sciences and health care more generally. [Recommended: ArtsHum 330]

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