Integrating Biology and ChE at the Lower Levels


  • Kathryn A. Hollar Rowan University
  • Stephanie H. Farrell Rowan University
  • Gregory B. Hecht Rowan University
  • Patricia Mosto Rowan University


Integration of biological and engineering principles is a target for chemical engineering programs nationwide. Rowan University's efforts to address this need include a unique chemical engineering curriculum with an intensive biology component. Freshman-year modules introduce students to biomedical and biochemical processes through engineering physiology and beer-making processes. A sophomore biology course taught by biology faculty introduces students to an array of topics relevant to engineering. A concurrent engineering module on microbial fuel cell design reinforces the concepts covered in the biology course. This paper describes the impact and benefits of this collaborative approach.

Author Biographies

Kathryn A. Hollar, Rowan University

Kathryn A. Hollar received her BS in Chemical Engineering and English from North Carolina State University and her PhD in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University Her research expertise is in the field of recombinant protein production. Her current focus is on developing laboratory experiments and course activities in food processing, biochemical engineering, and green engineering, particularly at the freshman and sophomore levels.

Stephanie H. Farrell, Rowan University

Stephanie H. Farrell received her BS in 1986 from the University of Pennsylvania, her MS in 1992 from Stevens Institute of Technology, and her PhD in 1996 from NJIT. Prior to joining Rowan in 1998, she was a faculty member at Louisiana Tech University Her research expertise is in the field of drug delivery and controlled release, and she is currently focusing efforts on developing laboratory experiments related to membrane separations, biochemical engineering, and biomedical systems for all level students.

Gregory B. Hecht, Rowan University

Gregory B. Hecht has extensive research experience in prokaryotic genetics and molecular biology With Dr. Mosto, he has developed a new course for chemical engineering students, "Biological Systems & Applications." He is the creator and coordinator of the Rowan University Student Research Symposium, an annual forum at which Rowan students from all of the STEM disciplines present the results of their independent research.

Patricia Mosto, Rowan University

Patricia Mosto has extensive environmental science experience. She has been actively involved with field and laboratory projects related to water quality and water pollution issues for the last thirty years. She worked with the Department of Water and Power and the Department of Sanitation in Los Angeles for ten years. During her ten years at Rowan, she has supervised 41 independent undergraduate projects, taking many students to national and international conferences.