Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Biomolecular and Biomedical Engineering
The transformation of biology, in the 1960’s and 70’s, from a descriptive science to a molecular science and our increasing ability to manipulate biological cells at the genetic level have led in recent years to the emergence of what is often referred to as new biology and systems biology. These developments have at least two important implications to chemical engineers: (i) Biology at the molecular level is a chemical science, with biological processes controlled by the underlying reaction kinetics, chemical change (molecular transformation), transport phenomena, and their implications to cellular and metacellular behavior; and (ii) Biological cells are cellular factories. Both of these imply that chemical engineering can play a central role in developing a new breed of engineering scientists, with a solid background in biology and chemistry combined with the quantitative-integrative skills of the engineer.
The connection between biological sciences and chemical engineering has long been recognized in the profession. Our Department at NUS was, in fact, one of the first in the world to include basic biochemistry as a required module in the undergraduate program. The term Biomolecular Engineering is defined by the US National Institutes of Health as research (and, by extension, education) at the interface of chemical engineering and biology with an emphasis on studies at the molecular level, and the inclusion of the term in the name of the Department recognizes the role of biology as an enabling science in chemical engineering.
Faculty Members working in this Research Area
Examples of activities include:
Development of drug delivery systems
Biomolecular functionalization for biosensors
Molecular level control of biomolecules for fabricating biomolecular micro/nanodevices
Modification of proteins to target them for desired materials; Protein biosynthesis from genetically modified microbes
Genetic data mining for systems biology
Tissue engineering with synthetic and natural polymers; Biomaterials for biomedical application