Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Chemistry was an essential part of the curriculum for all students when Stevens Institute of Technology opened its doors in 1870. Stevens’ first president, Dr. Henry Morton, was a well known popular lecturer on chemical subjects. Another well known former faculty member in chemistry at Stevens was Dr. Irving Langmuir, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1932, for “his discoveries and investigations in surface chemistry”. Chemistry is still important at Stevens today, and Stevens faculty have played leading roles in the areas of polymer chemistry and engineering, ‘layer-by-layer’ formation of polymer coatings and ‘smart’ polymers, organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, instrumentation for chemical analysis, mass spectrometry, radiation chemistry, and computational chemistry.
The Stevens Chemistry Program is Certified by the American Chemical Society and includes foundation courses in the five areas of chemistry: Analytical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, and Biochemistry, and in-depth courses in four of these areas. Additional upper level courses in chemistry complete the program, and research is a requirement at all degree levels. The M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Chemistry entail advanced study and original research in one of these areas or a combination of areas.
Whereas biochemistry is an area of chemistry, Chemical Biology is an area of biology. Chemical Biology focuses on those disciplines of modern biological science that employ chemical knowledge, chemical instrumentation, and the quantitative rigor of chemistry in understanding biological phenomena. Chemical Biology also includes human physiology. Chemical Biology arose when faculty in other science and engineering departments felt the need for a more quantitative study and application of biological phenomena. Inaugurated in 1978, Stevens' undergraduate program in Chemical Biology was the first undergraduate program in Chemical Biology. Chemical Biology is an excellent choice for medical school preparation and research in modern biology.
The Stevens Chemical Biology Program includes a significant preparation in chemistry as well as modern biology and also meets the requirements for ACS Certification in Chemistry. The undergraduate program includes courses in cell biology, biological systems, molecular biology, and advanced courses in human physiology and immunology. The graduate program is a continuation of chemical biology into areas of specialization such as molecular genetics, immunology, gene therapy, cellular signal transduction, biochemistry and computational biology.
Participation in research is a distinguishing feature of the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Programs. In addition to the Ph.D. degree and M.S. degree programs which are research-intensive, research is required for the Certified ACS degrees in Chemistry as well as in Chemical Biology. UPTAM (Undergraduate Projects in Technology applied to Medicine) originated in 1972 and was the first program of its kind initiating exposure of undergraduate students to research and development that could be applied to medicine and healthcare. Today, undergraduate students gain access to laboratories through Stevens Scholarships or Technogenesis Scholarships, as well as simply by volunteering. Graduates of the Stevens' programs in Chemistry and Chemical Biology have an excellent record of admission to graduate, medical, and other professional schools and of obtaining employment in industry.
Today, Biomedical Engineering (BME) is the most popular undergraduate engineering major in the country. US News and World Report recently (2012) rated BME as the best undergraduate engineering major for future job growth.
The Stevens BME program started in 2002 and now has over 180 undergraduate and 40 graduate students enrolled including 12 PhD students and was ABET accredited in 2010. For program mission, objectives, outcomes, enrollment and graduation data, click here.
What distinguishes a BME degree from other engineering disciplines? The BME degree at Stevens includes all the general engineering courses taken by all the other engineering disciplines, including 8 semesters of design. Students are taught to work in teams as well as individually. The last 3 semesters of design are program specific, with the last 2 semesters being the “Capstone Design”. This is typically a team effort to design, build and test a medical device. The culmination of this effort is a working device presented to the public at Design Day at the end of April. A typical BME senior design has 2 or more faculty advisors including a Stevens faculty member and a physician from one of our collaborating medical facilities.
To answer the question posed above: A BME is, first of all, an engineer. His or her application of their engineering training is directed to helping people live a better life. To do this, the BME must understand Biology and Human Physiology. The BME training includes courses in Bio-Transport Phenomena, Biomaterials, Biomechanics, and advanced Biomechanics, as well as electronics, digital signals processing, medical imaging and mathematical modeling of physiological processes. The BME must also be able to work at the cell level, the organ level and the systems level. Our laboratories include hands on experience in taking and analyzing data at all these levels of Biology/physiology.
Major faculty research areas include Biorobotics, Brain-Machine Interface, Spinal Implants, Lung Mechanics, Emergency Medicine (with HUMC) and Tissue Engineering. Our BME faculty encourage undergraduate participation in their labs.
Stevens presently has a collaborative research and teaching agreement with Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) and UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School. Our senior design students regularly win prizes for their designs at regional and national competitions. Every year, several of student-owned intellectual property (IP) is converted to patents and some students have gone on to form their own start-up companies. BME faculty members regularly involve undergraduates in their research labs.
Over the years our graduates have been employed by all the major Medical Device companies, including Medtronic, J&J, Stryker and BD as well as other major and startup Biotech companies. Each year several of our graduates are accepted to Medical Schools including UMDNJ, Baylor and Cornell as well as graduate schools, including Columbia, Brown and Cornell.
Our department offers a Bachelor of Science in Biology, a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Biology and a Bachelor of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering. Within the Chemical Biology program there are concentrations available in Bioinformatics and Bioanalytical Chemistry. An accelerated program in Chemical Biology exists for students enrolling in a special combined program in medicine or dentistry.
Current program curricula are:
- Chemical Biology
- Biomedical Engineering
- Chemical Biology - Bioinformatics Concentration
- Chemical Biology - Bioanalytical Chemistry Concentration
- Accelerated Chemical Biology
Bachelor of Science in Biology
The Biology Program offers students an opportunity to delve more broadly and deeply into life science course offerings while maintaining a rigorous preparation in chemical and physical sciences that are necessary to participate in the future research and development in the field of biology or health sciences.
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
Chemistry is often known as the central science, bridging the gap between the life sciences and physical science, and ranging from the very practical to the highly theoretical. It is the science of matter - its structure, its properties and how it changes.
Bachelor of Science in Chemical Biology
Chemical biology is the application of exact science, particularly chemistry, to the understanding and utilization of biological phenomena. The scientific approach to understanding living systems ultimately leads to the cell - the basis of all living systems. Modern biology focuses on how cells originate, differentiate, multiply and function, with emphasis on their molecular components, their chemical and physical properties and their interaction.
Stevens also offers a Special Program in Accelerated Chemical Biology and a B.S. in Chemical Biology with a Concentration in Bioinformatics.
Bachelor of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering
Biomedical Engineers apply engineering design and analysis techniques to problems at the interface between physical and biological systems. Our program is broad-based and multidisciplinary, designed to produce graduates who are prepared for careers in the biotech industry, to enter medical school, or to continue their education in graduate or professional school.
Dr. Hazelwood explains how biomedical engineers make a difference.
Read how Stevens is innovating:
- Progeria Protein Discovery
- New Methods Create Functional Artificial Tissues
- Creating Next-Gen Prosthetic Coatings
Dr. Patricia O’Rourke Muisener, Ph.D.
CCB Program Director
Dr. Marissa Gray
Associate Director for Graduate Programs