About BioEMB Problem Bank

The idea of developing a web site repository of solved problems was discussed at an education session held at the 227th American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting in Anaheim, California (March 2004).  This session was attended by many biochemical engineers, both from industry and academia, who agreed that a web site would enable faculty to obtain bioX content to be used alongside traditional ChE content.  Following that meeting, three faculty developed a proposal to the NSF Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement program.  After multiple submissions, the proposal was funded in January of 2007. The faculty developers included:

  • Claire Komives, Dept of Chemical and Materials Engineering, San Jose State University
  • Robert Beitle, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, University of Arkansas
  • Erik Fernandez, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, University of Virginia

A workshop was held July 9-11, 2007, with chemical engineering faculty from 19 different universities interested in a basic course in BioX as related to solving chemical engineering material and energy balance problems.  Five universities in addition to SJSU are beta test sites for the project.  These include

  • UC Riverside  (Prof. Wilfred Chen)
  • Princeton (Prof. David Wood)
  • Johns Hopkins (Prof. German Drazer)
  • UC Santa Barbara (Prof. Frank Doyle)
  • U. Tennessee (Prof. John Prados)

An advisory board has also been formed to provide direction to the project.  The members include a mix of academic and industrial professionals.

  • Prof. Michael Betenbaugh, Johns Hopkins University
  • Prof. George Georgiou , U. T. Austin
  • Prof. Margot Vigeant, Bucknell University
  • Dr. Jonathan Coffman, Wyeth
  • Prof. Nancy Da Silva, U. C. Irvine
  • Dr. Eliana Clark , Genzyme
  • Dr. Brian Davison, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Prof. Jerome Schultz, U. C. Riverside
  • Dr. Carole Heath, Amgen
  • Dr. Kent Goklen, Merck
  • Prof. Anne Skaja Robinson, Delaware University
  • Dr. Gopal Chotani, Genencor
  • Prof. Jackie Shanks, Iowa State University

Likewise, an editorial board has been established to help review problem submissions.  The goal of their efforts is to ensure the relevance, accuracy and efficacy of the posted problems.  The members of the editorial board include


  • Prof. Paul Frymier, U. of Tennessee
  • Prof. Lane Gilcrist, City University of New York,
  • Professor Randy Lewis, Brigham Young U
  • Professor Mark Riley, University of Arizona
  • Professor Bruce Dale, Michigan State University
  • Dr. Robert Balcarcel, Beckton Dickinson
  • Professor David Shonnard, Michigan Tech
  • Professor David Wood, Princeton


We welcome standard textbook-type problems, case studies, laboratory modules, podcasts, videos and other educational media designed to facilitate the application of engineering principles to biological applications.  As this project only addresses materials for one (the initial) ChE course, the we intend to submit a Phase II proposal to NSF that will include the development of educational materials for transport/unit operations, thermodynamics, kinetics, process control, plant design, laboratory, and process safety courses.  With input from both students and a community of educators and practitioners we can develop materials that will be appropriate for the needs of students, and determine their utility in increasing the bioX content.  The website format is intended to facilitate the expansion of the resource for the comprehensive project.

Please don't hesitate to contact us with comments, suggestions, and constructive criticism!!

The BioEMB Team