Master’s and doctoral programs are available in Bioprocessing and Biotechnology within the BAE department. The program is designed to train students with a background in engineering or the life sciences. Students will have an option to choose courses from several departments including biochemistry, microbiology, biosystems & agricultural engineering and chemical engineering.

The Bioprocessing and Biotechnology program encompasses thermal and chemical processing together with aerobic and anaerobic fermentation. The option emphasizes the engineering aspects of biological and biochemical processes, which may involve plant systems, mammalian systems, bioenvironmental systems or industrial biological processes.

Developing biobased technologies is a component of the Bioprocessing and Biotechnology option. The purpose of this program is to provide students with skills necessary for developing a biobased economy in the United States. The lack of an educational infrastructure is a major barrier to the successful development of a biobased products industry. The program is designed to provide students with a multidisciplinary graduate education and to integrate knowledge from science and engineering fields. Students with training in the life sciences and engineering will enroll into a degree program via their home department. Participating departments include biochemistry, chemical engineering, civil engineering, biosystems and agricultural engineering, microbiology and plant and soil sciences.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

All plans of study are tailored to individual students based on their interests and the guidance of the advisory committee. Master’s students must complete 24 credit hours of course work and 6 hours of research, including a thesis. A minimum of 60 credit hours of research beyond the M.S. degree is required for each Ph.D. student.

The student’s plan of study will include BAE courses with additional courses in engineering, biochemistry, microbiology, mathematics, computer science, statistics, agriculture and related science. These advanced level courses taught by BAE and other faculty and supported by well-equipped laboratories provide students with a strong background for addressing problems in developing biobased technologies.

Students commonly start by taking three classes per semester. Master’s students generally take one and a half years to two years to complete their programs. Ph.D. students with a M.S. degree are expected to complete their programs within three years with course work usually completed by the end of the second year. Upon completion of the majority of courses and preparation of a research proposal, Ph.D. students take a written and oral qualifying examination covering the entire area of the student’s graduate study. In addition, M.S. thesis and Ph.D. dissertations must be successfully defended before the advisory committee at the completion of the research program. A non-thesis degree option is available for M.S. students, which require a creative component, including a written and oral report.

AREAS OF RESEARCH

Aerobic fermentation
Anaerobic digestion
Biomass collection and storage
Fermenter design and system optimization
Gasification
Process economics
Process modeling
Waste minimization and utilization

CORE COURSES

BAE 5213: Renewable Energy Engineering

BAE 5283: Advanced Bioprocess Engineering BAE 5413: Advanced Instrumentation and Control Systems for Biological Applications

CHE 5123: Advanced Chemical Reaction Engineering

CHE 5373: Process Simulation

CHE 5743: Chemical Engineering Process Modeling

STAT 5303: Experimental Design

FACULTY

Hasan Atiyeh, Associate Professor
Bioconversion and fermentation

Danielle Bellmer, Associate Professor
Gasification and fermentation

Timothy Bowser, Associate Professor
Food processing and Engineering

Michael Buser, Associate Professor
Design and evaluation of pneumatic and mechanical processing systems; product traceability and system logistics

Nurhan Dunford, Professor
Food, oil/oilseed, and bioprocessing

Doug Hamilton, Associate Professor
Waste management

Raymond L. Huhnke, Professor and
Director of the Biobased Products and Energy Center

Carol Jones, Associate Professor
Stored product engineering, packaging, storage, transportation, and logistics of biofeedstocks and physical properties of feedstock

Ajay Kumar, Assistant Professor
Biofeedstock processing and gasification

Jessie Mao, Assistant Professor
Biosensor technology and nanomaterials

Mark Wilkins, Associate Professor
Gasification and fermentation

In addition to the above faculty in Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering, collaborative faculty from other departments participating in the bioprocessing and biotechnology option includes the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the School of Chemical Engineering, the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

FACILITIES

The main BAE lab is a 28,000 sq. ft. facility, equipped with electronic, electric and machine shops. An addition, an outlying research facility has been dedicated to research on gasification and the syngas cooling and conditioning system. Equipment at this site includes a gasifier capable of 75 lb./hr. biomass feed rate, mass spectrometer for real-time syngas analysis, gas chromatograph capable of analyzing both liquid and gas samples, oxygen probe, spectrophotometer, centrifuge, and data acquisition software. A 320-sq. ft. laboratory houses the bench-scale bioreactor.

Three newest laboratories of 18,000 sq. ft. will contain state-of-the art equipment dedicated to biotechnology research. Equipment in this facility includes the bioreactor with pH control, bioreactor equipment (pumps, etc.), two gas chromatographs, ion chromatographs, high performance liquid chromatograph, two anaerobic glove boxes, warm and cold rooms, steam sterilizer, spectrophotometer, computers, and supporting non-perishable items