Biomolecular Engineering

BIOMOLECULAR ENGINEERING

Director: Prajna Dhar, Ph.D.

Biomolecular engineering research integrates the fundamentals of biology, chemistry and mathematics with engineering problem-solving methods to prepare students for careers in industry, academia and public service. Program faculty solve biological problems to increase understanding of a variety of biological systems.

Chemical and biological systems are studied to ultimately provide solutions—in the form of measurement of properties and function, imaging, diagnosis or therapeutics. Research in this area involves collaborations among engineers, biological scientists, chemists, physicians and pharmaceutical scientists in industry, academia, surgery and clinical settings.

Students in this track use a core background of mathematics, basic sciences and therapeutics and engineering courses to conduct interdisciplinary research. Elective courses are selected to prepare each student for their unique problem in such areas as drug design or development, biological materials design, characterization of cellular function or malfunction, transport in biological systems or analysis of complex data.

 

 

Track Faculty

Headshot of Cory Berkland
785-864-1455
320E Multidisciplinary Research Building

Titles

-Professor, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
-Professor, Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Associated Tracks

-Bioimaging
-Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering
-Biomedical Product Design & Development
-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Nanoparticles and Colloids in Pharmaceuticals and Biomedicine

Headshot of Kyle Camarda
785-864-2908
4154 Learned Hall

Titles

-Associate Professor, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

Associated Tracks

-Computational Bioengineering
-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Computational Molecular Design of Pharmaceuticals
-Polymers and Other Biomaterials
-Optimization Algorithms Applied to Engineering Systems

Headshot of Prajna Dhar
  • Track Director, Biomolecular Engineering
  • Assistant Professor, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
785-864-4969
4132E Learned Hall

Associated Tracks

Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering
-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Molecular Engineering and Interfacial Nanomedicine

Dan Dixon
(785) 864-0169
4035 Haworth

Titles

-Associate Professor, Molecular Biosciences
-Co-Leader, Cancer Prevention Program, University of Kansas Cancer
 Center 

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Regulation of gene expression in colon cancer; Development of biomarker screening devices; Drug design and screening.

Headshot of Robert Dunn
785-864-4313
220G Multidisciplinary Research Building

Titles

-Professor, Chemistry

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Single Molecule Spectroscopy
-Model Membranes
-Protein Channel Dynamics
-Optical Microscopy/Spectroscopy
-Fiber Optic Sensors
-Development of Novel Microscopy Techniques

Headshot of Chris Fischer
785-864-4579
2056A Malott Hall

Titles

-Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Kinetics and thermodynamics of protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid interactions; development and implementation of new biophysical methodologies and techniques for the study of these phenomena

Headshot of Laird Forrest
785-864-4388
121B Simons Laboratories

Titles

-Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Applying Polymeric Nanomaterials to the Treatment and Diagnosis of Cancer

Headshot of Stevin Gehrke
  • Graduate Studies Director
  • Professor, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
785-864-4956
4149A Learned Hall

Associated Tracks

-Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering
-Biomedical Product Design & Development
-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Biomimetic Materials
-Hydrogels
-Tissue Engineering
-Drug Delivery
-Bioprocessing

Headshot of Andrew Godwin
913-945-6373
4005B Wahl Hall East, KUMC

Titles

-Chancellors Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Sciences and Endowed Professor
-Professor and Director of Molecular Oncology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
-Deputy Director, The University of Kansas Cancer Center
-Director, Biospecimen Shared Resource
-Kansas Bioscience Authority Eminent Scholar

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Molecular Oncology

Headshot of Lisa Harlan-Williams

Titles

-Senior Scientist, University of Kansas Cancer Center

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Development of a three-dimensional breast cancer model to develop a novel anticancer agent that targets BRCA1

Justin Hutchison
785-864-6170
LEEP2 2429

Titles

-Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering
 

Associated Tracks

-BioMolecular Engineering
-Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering

Research Interests

-Biocatalytics
-Sustainability Analysis
-Quantitative Sustainable Design

 

Headshot of Roy Jensen
913-588-2568
2017 Wahl Hall West, KUMC

Titles

-Director, University of Kansas Cancer Center
-Director, Kansas Masonic Research Institute (KMCRI)
-Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
-William R. Jewell, MD Distinguished Kansas Masonic Professorship in
 Cancer Research 
-Chief Executive Offier, Midwest Cancer Alliance

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Expression and function of BRCA1 in breast tumorigenesis

Photo of Russ Middaugh
785-864-5813
320G Multidisciplinary Research Building

Titles

-Distinguished Professor, Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Associated Tracks

-Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering
-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Physical Biochemistry
-Stabilization of macromolecules
-Vaccines

Photo of Ted Peltier
785-864-2941
4112D Learned Hall

Titles

-Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Metal-microbe interactions and effects on antibiotic resistance
-Analysis of environmental contaminants

Headshot of John Ralston
785-864-4020
6050H Malott Hall

Titles

-Professor, Physics & Astronomy

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-High Energy Theory
-Single Molecule Methods
-Pharmaceutical Data Analysis

Headshot of Christian Ray
785-864-3206
4006B Haworth Hall

Titles

-Assistant Professor, Molecular Biosciences

Associated Tracks

-Computational Bioengineering
-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Transitions in single cells verses evolutionary fitness

Headshot of Mark Richter
785-864-3334
4031 Haworth Hall

Titles

-Chair, Molecular Biosciences
-Professor, Molecular Biosciences

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Protein Structure and Function
-F1 ATPase Rotary Motor
-Mechanism of Torque Generation and Nanodevice Fabrication

Headshot of Teruna Siahaan
785-864-7327
201D Simons Laboratories

Titles

-Professor, Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Associated Tracks

-Bioimaging
-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Utilizing cell adhesion molecules for targeted drug delivery and tissue engineering

Headshot of Steven Soper

Titles

-KU Foundation Distinguished Professor, Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering 

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering
-Biomaterials
 & Tissue Engineering
-Biomedical Product Design & Development

Research Interests

-Nano Devices and Microfluidics

Headshot of Marylee Southard
785-864-3868
4152 Learned Hall

Titles

-Associate Professor, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Design and analysis of chemical transport processes in which bioactive agents are released

Headshot of Susan Stagg-Williams
785-864-2919
4142 Learned Hall

Titles

-Professor, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Fabrication of selective oxygen permeable membrane reactors
-Production of biodiesel
-Production of synthesis gas (autothermal reforming)
-Production of hydrogen (CO oxidation/LTWGS)

Belinda Sturm, Ph.D.
785-864-1739
4112C Learned Hall

Titles

-Professor, Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Wastewater Treatment
-Biological Processes
-Algal Growth and Biodiesel Production
-Molecular Methods

David Volkin
785-864-6262
320C Multidisciplinary Research Building

Titles

-Distinguished Professor, Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Elucidation of protein-drug degradation pathways during storage, shipping and handling
-Development of new analytical approaches to characterize macromolecules and vaccines for use as pharmaceuticals
-Design and evaluation of formulations to improve stability of biopharmaceutical drugs and vaccines

Headshot of Laurence Weatherley
785-864-3553
4132B Learned Hall

Titles

-Chair, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
-Albert P Learned Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering

Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Liquid-liquid Systems and Intensification
-Enzymatic Catalysis
-Ion-exchange and Adsorption

Danny Welch
913-945-7739
2003 Wahl Hall West, KUMC

Titles

-Professor and Chair, Cancer Biology
-Associate Director for Basic Sciences
-Associate Director for Education

Associated Tracks

-Bioimaging
-Computational Bioengineering
-Biomolecular Engineering

Research Interests

-Tumor progression, invasion, metastasis

Yong Zeng
  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry
785-864-8105
Malott Hall, Room 3027

Titles

-Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Associated Tracks

-Analytical Chemistry
-Micro/Nanofluidics
-Single Cell Analysis
-Genetic Analysis
-Proteomics
-Cancer Biology and Diagnostics
-Systems Biology
-Nanobiotechnology

Research Interests

Quantitative analysis of dynamic and heterogeneous biological processes is key to deciphering complex biological systems, such as cancer.  Drawing on microfluidics, analytical chemistry, molecular/cell biology, bioengineering, and material science, our research is dedicated to advancing quantitative biology and personalized medicine through technology innovation and translational research.  We currently focus on three main areas: