CHEM_ENG 372: Bionanotechnology

Quarter Offered

Winter : MWF 2:00 ; Kourkine


Bionanotechnology, defined as “atom-level engineering and manufacturing using biological precedents for guidance,” is an emerging field that holds promise for such paradigm-shifting technologies as targeted drug-delivery vesicles, MRI contrast-enhancing agents, and even cancer-fighting nanobots.  To achieve these lofty goals, however, scientists and engineers must in the very least have an idea of how to rationally design bio-mimetic and bio-inspired structures.  Hence, the first objective of this course is to develop a feeling for the sizes, shapes, times, and energies of biological entities and processes.  We will achieve this objective by examining nanoscale phenomena using a small number of simple physical models, as described in the course textbook, Physical Biology of the Cell by Rob Phillips et al. (ISBN 978-0-8153-4450-6).  For example, we will apply the ideal gas and ideal solution models to biological molecules, characterize DNA as random walks, use the Newtonian fluid model and Navier-Stokes equation to describe the movement of bacteria, and employ the Taylor series to approximate all kind of equilibrium processes.  The second objective of this course is to explore a bionanotechnology “landscape” through guided self-directed learning, in which teams of students will pursue a bionanotechnology project and share knowledge with their classmates. 

Why information grows: the evolution of order, from atoms to economies.
Hidalgo, C. A. (2016). 
London: Penguin Books.


The vital question: energy, evolution, and the origins of complex life.
Lane, N. (2016)
New York: W.W. Norton & Company.