Biological Systems Engineering
Head: D. Edwards
Professors: J. R. Barone, B. L. Benham, Z. M. Easton, R. D. Grisso, W. C. Hession, S. Mostaghimi, M. L. Wolfe, and C. Zhang
Associate Professors: J. Arogo Ogejo, L.-A. H. Krometis, D.J. Sample, D. T. Scott, R.S. Senger, V. R. Sridhar, and T. M. Thompson
Assistant Professors: J. Chen, J. A. Czuba, J. E. Shortridge, and R. C. Wright
Instructor: S. C. Mariger
The Biological Systems Engineering program integrates biology, chemistry, and physics with engineering to solve engineering problems associated with the environmentally sound production, processing, and utilization of renewable resources. The curriculum differs from other engineering programs in that it focuses on the sustainable production of biological products and the management of natural resources. Biological Systems Engineering graduates have rewarding careers working with biological materials and both large and small biological systems, for the benefit of society and the environment.
The BSE program is designed to graduate engineers who apply engineering principles to biological systems in fields/professions such as biotechnology, watershed science, environmental health, and food engineering. The BSE program prepares graduates to accomplish the following objectives in their careers within a few years after graduation:
- Design solutions to problems at the intersection of biology and engineering at scales ranging from molecular to global.
- Address societal and ecological needs in food and fiber production and processing, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, green chemicals, renewable energy, environmental protection, and sustainable development.
- Collaborate effectively as members of multidisciplinary teams and communicate effectively across a diversity of audiences.
- Advance professionally through mentoring and life-long learning.
These educational objectives are supported by a curriculum that provides its graduates with:
- an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
- an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
- an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
- an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
- an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
- an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
- an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies
The BSE program provides a strong, broad-based engineering education with opportunity for specialization utilizing the 33 credits of technical electives available in the curriculum. Using these electives, BSE students prepare for careers in biomedical engineering, biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, food engineering, or watershed science and engineering. Many BSE graduates also choose to pursue graduate studies or professional degrees from medical, veterinary, or dental programs.
Recognizing the importance of "hands-on" experience in engineering education, instructional laboratories are included in many of the Biological Systems Engineering courses. These laboratory courses are designed to enhance understanding of theoretical concepts through hands-on activities. In addition to providing a strong and broad-based engineering education, the program emphasizes communication, team work skills, and design experience. The department participates in the Cooperative Education Program, which gives qualified students valuable work experience while pursuing an undergraduate degree. Students are also encouraged to participate in undergraduate research and study abroad programs. Many BSE students are employed in departmental research laboratories.
Design and teamwork experiences are integral parts of the program. In the second year, students work in teams to design, build, and test a solution to an assigned design problem. Throughout the junior year, students acquire knowledge and analytical skills required for successful and professional engineering design through course assignments. The senior year design sequence gives students a comprehensive design experience in which they utilize much of the knowledge they have acquired through their other courses. Students work in teams to solve "real-life" engineering problems.
The Bachelor of Science in biological systems engineering is offered through the College of Engineering and is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org.
The relatively small class sizes in Biological Systems Engineering promote excellent interaction between faculty and students.
The department offers over 20 endowed scholarships to students enrolled in Biological Systems Engineering; students are also eligible for College of Engineering and other university scholarships.
In addition to the undergraduate degree program, programs of study leading to master of engineering, Master of Science, and Ph.D. degrees are available in the department. The BSE department also participates in the Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate degree program. Through this program, undergraduate students with a GPA of 3.4 or above can apply for admission to the Graduate School during their junior year. If admitted, students may apply up to 12 hours of graduate coursework to both their graduate and undergraduate degree requirements, thus accelerating completion of a master's degree in BSE.
The graduation requirements in effect at the time of graduation apply. When choosing the degree requirements information, always choose the year of your expected date of graduation. Requirements for graduation are referred to via university publications as "Checksheets". The number of credit hours required for degree completion varies among curricula. Students must satisfactorily complete all requirements and university obligations for degree completion.
The university reserves the right to modify requirements in a degree program. However, the university will not alter degree requirements less than two years from the expected graduation year unless there is a transition plan for students already in the degree program.
Please visit the University Registrar website at http://registrar.vt.edu/graduation-multi-brief/index1.html for degree requirements.
Undergraduate Course Descriptions (BSE)
2004: INTRODUCTION TO BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS ENGINEERING Introduction to the fundamental concepts of Biological Systems Engineering, including statistics, heat and mass balances, protein separation, microbial metabolism, and enzyme kinetics. Engineering design process, engineering problem-solving tools and techniques, development of oral and written communication skills, and the importance of teamwork and ethics in Biological Systems Engineering. Pre: ENGE 1024 or ENGE 1215 or ENGE 1414. (1H,3L,2C)
2094: INTRODUCTION TO METAL FABRICATION Introduction to metal working tools, equipment, and processes. Fundamentals of gas and arc welding. (3L,1C)
2294: ANIMAL STRUCTURES AND ENVIRONMENT Functional considerations in facilities development for production agriculture. Concepts of farmstead planning and system development emphasized. Techniques for providing production animal environment, especially for confinement facilities. Pre: (MATH 1016 or MATH 1025). (3H,3C)
2304: LANDSCAPE MEASUREMENTS AND MODELING Introduction to land surveying, computer-aided design, and drafting for land and water resources engineering. Representation of features in two and three dimensions for documentation and visualization of watershed engineering projects. Create plans, cross sections, detail drawings, and three dimensional visualizations using computer-aided design and drafting tools. Pre: (MATH 1206 or MATH 1226). (2H,3L,3C)
2484: ENGINE AND POWER TRAIN TECHNOLOGY Fundamentals of the construction and operation of current internal combustion power units. Control of power utilizing clutches, transmissions, drive shafts, and differentials. Pre: (MATH 1016 or MATH 1025). (2H,3L,3C)
2974: INDEPENDENT STUDY Variable credit course.
2984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
3134: BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS ENGINEERING SEMINAR Critical review of technical and professional articles on current topics in Biological Systems Engineering. Development of oral presentation and technical writing skills. Contemporary ethical, professional, and global issues in Biological Systems Engineering. Pre: 2004. (2L,1C)
3144: ENGINEERING ANALYSIS FOR BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS USING NUMERICAL METHODS Solving engineering problems related to biological systems using numerical analysis including root finding, numerical integration, differentiation, interpolation and numerical solution of ordinary differential equations. Error analysis and programming with engineering software. Course requirements may be satisfied by taking MATH 2214 prior to or concurrent with course. Co: MATH 2214. (2H,2C)
3154: THERMODYNAMICS OF BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS Fundamental concepts, first and second laws, psychrometrics applied to plant and animal environments, introduction to Gibbs energy, and application of calorimetry to gain basic understanding of energy flow in a biological system. Course requirements may be satisfied by taking CEE 3304 or CHE 3114 or ESM 3234 or ESM 3024 or ME 3404 prior to or concurrent with course. Pre: ESM 2304, (MATH 2224 or MATH 2224H or MATH 2204 or MATH 2204H). (3H,3C)
3324: SMALL WATERSHED HYDROLOGY Precipitation, soil physics, infiltration, evapotranspiration, groundwater hydrology, overland flow, open channel flow, flow routing, hydraulic analysis. Course requirements may be satisfied by taking CEE 3304 or CHE 3114 or ESM 3234 or ESM 3024 or ME 3404 prior to or concurrent with course. (3H,3C)
3334: NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION ASSESSMENT AND CONTROL Erosion prediction and control; transport and fate of sediment, nutrients, and microorganisms; design of nutrient management plans, wetlands, detention facilities and other management practices for rural and urban nonpoint source pollution control. Pre: 3324. (2H,3L,3C)
3494: ADVANCED WELDING TECHNOLOGY Techniques in welding that include gas, submerged metal arc, metal inert gas, pulsed arc, and tungsten inert gas welding. Design of welding structures, fundamentals of heat treatment, and plasma arc cutting. Consent required. (3L,1C)
3504: TRANSPORT PROCESSES IN BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS Introduction to material and energy balances in biological systems. Fundamentals of heat and mass transfer in biological systems. One and two dimensional conduction, convection, and diffusion of thermal energy and mass. Heat and mass transfer rates, steady and unsteady state conduction, convection, diffusion; design of simple heat exchangers. Application of these topics and fluid mechanics to fluid handling, bacterial growth, plant nutrient uptake, enzymatic reactions. Pre: 3154, ESM 3024. (3H,3C)
3524: UNIT OPERATIONS IN BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS ENGINEERING Unit operations for processing biological materials including heat exchangers, evaporation, drying, mixing, homogenization, extrusion, phase and multi-phase separation, and size reduction. Laboratory hands-on experience in various unit operations. Course requirements may be satisfied by taking BSE 3504 prior to or concurrent with course. Co: 3534, 3504. (2H,3L,3C)
3534: BIOPROCESS ENGINEERING Engineering concepts for biological conversion of raw materials to food, pharmaceuticals, fuels, and chemicals. Metabolic pathways leading to products, enzyme kinetics, cell growth kinetics, and analysis of bioreactors and fermenters. Co: 3504, (BIOL 2604 or BIOL 2604H). Pre: 3154. Co: BIOL 2604, 3504. (3H,3C)
3954 (GEOG 3954): STUDY ABROAD Variable credit course.
4125-4126: COMPREHENSIVE DESIGN PROJECT 4125: Identify and develop an engineering design project using the team approach; use of literature resources to define project objectives and approach; present project proposal in a professional written and oral manner; engineering ethics, professionalism and contemporary issues. Pre: Completion of 96 hours, overall GPA of 2.0 or better. 4126: Complete a comprehensive design project using the team approach, test approach, test prototype, and prepare and present a professional engineering design report. Pre: 3334 or 3524 for 4125; 4125 for 4126. 4125: (1H,3L,2C) 4126: (1H,6L,3C)
4204: INSTRUMENTATION FOR BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS Introduction to instrumentation and sensors for measurement and control of biological systems. Sensor response dynamics, data acquisition, sensor selection, signal processing and signal conditioning principles. Experimental determination of velocity, pressure, strain, displacement, forces and chemical constituents. Data analysis focused on uncertainty, error and statistical concepts. Pre: PHYS 2306, ESM 3024. (2H,2L,3C)
4224: FIELD METHODS IN HYDROLOGY Site characterization: surveying, channel and floodplain mapping, land use, electronic data acquisition. Techniques for measuring surface and subsurface hydrologic processes: water flow, hydrologic conductivity, precipitation, evaporation. Sampling techniques: surface water, groundwater, and soil pore water sampling. In-situ monitoring: automatic samplers, dataloggers, water quality sondes. Laboratory analyses: good laboratory practices, selection of analytical method, calibration, quality assurance/quality control. Co: 3324 or CEE 3314 or FREC 3104 or WATR 3104. (2H,3L,3C)
4304: INTRODUCTION TO WATERSHED MODELING Fundamental modeling principles used to quantifywatershed hydrology, energy budgets,and associated ecosystem functions, such asplant dynamics and biogeochemical processes, at scales ranging from soil poresto watersheds. Code development and model integration to simulate watershed hydrologyandnutrient and sediment transport. Model calibration and performance assessment. Data discovery, acquisition, and processing of data relevant to hydrologic/watershed modeling. Pre: 3334. (2H,3L,3C)
4344: GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS FOR ENGINEERS Conceptual, technical, and operational aspects of geographic information systems as a tool for storage, analysis, and presentation of spatial information. Focus on engineering applications in resource management, site selection, and network analysis. Laboratory work and senior standing required. Pre: 3324 or CEE 3314 or FREC 3104 or WATR 3104. (2H,3L,3C)
4394: WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES Social, economic and engineering principles of water supply and sanitation in developing countries as affected by climate, cultural and sociological factors, and material and financial resources. Pre: Junior or Senior standing. (3H,3C)
4524: BIOLOGICAL PROCESS PLANT DESIGN Engineering principles for design of systems for processing biological materials into primary and secondary products. Delivery, scheduling, storage requirements, economic analysis. Process control and instrumentation of bioprocessing plants. Pre: 3524. (3H,3C)
4534: BIOPROCESS ENGINEERING LAB Unit operations commonly used in processing biological materials, including filtration, heat transfer, ultrafiltration, crystallization, and protein expression by fermentation, purification by chromatography, and characterization by gel electrophoresis. Pre: 3524, 3534. (3L,1C)
4544 (CHE 4544): PROTEIN SEPARATION ENGINEERING Concepts, principles and applications of various unit operations used in protein separations. Properties of biological materials, such as cells and proteins, and their influences on process design. Design of processes for protein purification based on the impurities to be eliminated. Concepts and principles of scale-up of unit operations. Case studies in practical protein recovery and purification issues, with a focus on enhanced protein purification by genetic engineering. Protein purification process simulation and optimization using process simulation software. Pre: 3504 or CHE 3144. (3H,3C)
4554 (FREC 4554) (HORT 4554) (LAR 4554) (SPIA 4554): CREATING THE ECOLOGICAL CITY Multidisciplinary, team oriented, problem-solving approaches to creating cities that foster healthy interconnections between human and ecological systems. Analysis of problems from practical and ethical perspectives in the context of the diverse knowledge bases and values of decision-makers. Formation and utilization of integrated design teams to solve complex urban design and planning problems at a variety of scales. Senior standing. Pre: HORT 2134 or FREC 2134. (3H,3C)
4564: METABOLIC ENGINEERING Engineering concepts for analyzing, designing, and modifying metabolic pathways to convert raw materials to food, pharmaceuticals, fuels and chemicals. Cell metabolism, pathway design, bioenergetics, regulatory mechanisms, metabolic modeling, and genetic tools. Pre: 3534. (3H,3C)
4604: FOOD PROCESS ENGINEERING Analysis and design of food processing operations including thermal pasteurization and sterilization, freezing, extrusion, texturization, and mechanical separation. Pre: 3504, 3524. (3H,3C)
4974: INDEPENDENT STUDY Variable credit course.
4984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
4994: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH Variable credit course.