Biochemical Engineering

Spring 2014


Nam Sun Wang
Class Hours: MWF 11:00am-11:50am, Rm 1100 ITV
Office Hours: MWF 12:00noon-1:00pm, Rm 1208 Chemical Engineering Bldg.
Phone: 301-405-1910 (call for appointment outside the office hours)

Required Textbooks:


Senior standing or permission of both the instructor and the department.


The course will be guided by the following description taken from our university catalog: Introduction to biochemical and microbiological applications to commercial and engineering processes, including industrial fermentation, enzymology, ultrafiltration, food and pharmaceutical processing and resulting waste treatment. Enzyme kinetics, cell growth, energetics and mass transfer.


The objective of the course, as implied by the course content above, is to introduce fundamental biochemical engineering concepts primarily to chemical engineers. The course does not assume any biological background or any prior courses in biology or microbiology, although it certainly helps to have some. To accommodate those who do not have the biological background, the course will first survey the basic ideas from microbiology, biochemistry, and the central dogma of biology. Subsequently, the emphasis will be application of the following core chemical engineering concepts to biological problems. These concepts will be conveyed primarily through conventional lectures supplemented by in-class demonstrations Computer simulations will help students gain a feel for the effect of various model and operating parameters.

We will touch upon the issues of ethics surrounding gene cloning, the balance between biotechnology's benefit to the society and profiteering, and the regulatory issues.

A student who wishes to pursue a career as a patent examiner, chemical process engineer, or bioprocess engineer, or one who intends to continue graduate studies (in chemical engineering, medicine, law, or business) will benefit from the course. Upon successful completion of this course and the subsequent biochemical engineering laboratory sequence, the student should be employable by the biopharmaceutical industry as a bioprocess engineer.


The outcomes will be measured by homework assignments, 2 mid-term examinations, and a final examination. The semester grade will be based on the following assessments.
Assessment Weight

Homework (weekly) 30%
Quizzes (3/03/14, 4/14/14) 30%
Final Exam (5/17/14, 8am-10am) 40%

Students are guaranteed the following letter grades. That means the instructor will not raise the cut-off points. However, the instructor shall reserve the right to lower the cut-off points at the end of the semester; this allows for different degrees of difficulties in the assessment and variations among graders. Students manage their time accordingly.

Fraction of Points Earned Letter Grade
0.80- A
0.67-0.80 B
0.55-0.67 C
0.40-0.55 D
0.00-0.40 F
For example, if you earn a total of 250 regular points out of a possible 300 points plus another 30 extra-credit points on the homework assignments, a total of 150 points out of a possible 200 points based on two quizzes, and a total of 50 points out of a possible 100 points on the final examination, your fractional grade at the end of the semester is:
  (250+30)/300*0.25 + 150/200*0.35 + 100/200*0.40 = 0.696
       Homework        Quizzes     Final Exam
The above lookup table shows that 0.696 translates to a semester letter grade of "B". Thus, you can easily track your own letter grade during the semester.

Homework is due at the beginning of the class on the specified due date; no late homework will be accepted unless individually arranged with the instructor before the due date with a valid excuse. Discussion among classmates is allowed in solving homework assignments, but each student must do his/her own work (no copying!).

Plagiarism and academic dishonesty absolutely will NOT be tolerated, and suspected incidence will be referred to the Student Honor Council of the Judiciary Programs. It is your responsibility to consult the instructor whenever there is any doubt on the definitions of these terms or on the allowable materials on each specific homework assignments or quizzes/exams. See Policy on Academic Integrity.

Whether or not you sign explicitly in each assignment or exam, it is assumed that you adhere to the following University of Maryland's Honor Pledge.

"I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this assignment/examination."

If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations with the instructor, please do so as soon as possible.

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Biochemical Engineering -- Syllabus
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Nam Sun Wang
Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-2111
301-405-1910 (voice)
301-314-9126 (FAX)
e-mail: ©2014 by Nam Sun Wang
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