What do ChemE's do in the field of health & medicine?
Chemical engineers use their knowledge of physics, math, chemistry, materials & energy balances, thermodynamics, kinetics, and transport phenomena to transform raw materials into useful products. Their roles typically entail designing new processes, improving existing ones, reducing manufacturing costs and developing new products.
Innovations made by chemical engineers are reflected in medical advances from devices and imaging to drug delivery and manufacturing. Chemical engineers are able to understand the way multi-component processes interact in a complex system across length and time scales, which makes them especially well suited for engineering applications for the human body. For example, they may model fluid flows such as blood through the heart to learn how stress on the vessel wall changes; design treatments that can reach a diseased site in the body; or engineer materials that can replicate spatial and temporal properties of a tissue.
What problems are chemical engineers trying to solve in health & medicine?
Chemical engineers design, build and analyze processes at a range of size and time scales. ChemE's work on:
- How can we scale up a process developed in a lab to reach as many people as possible?
- How can we deliver drugs right to the site they’re needed AND produce them in a way that people can afford to take them?
- Can we optimize processes to be more economical, environmentally friendly, and safe?
Where do ChemE alumni go in the field of health & medicine?
ChemE alumni work on improving drug delivery, imaging, diagnostics, and other problems requiring an understanding of transport processes and chemical reactions within the body. Many alumni pursue careers in synthetic biology, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals. We also have alumni who are pursuing careers as medical doctors or as health-focused researchers in academic institutions.
- W.L. Gore
- Juno Therapeutics
- Just Evotec Biologics
- Bristol Myers-Squibb
- National Institutes of Health
- Philips Healthcare
- process engineer
- project engineer
- test engineer
- manufacturing engineer
- quality engineer
- procurement engineer
Student opportunities & project examples in ChemE
Options, Focus Areas, and Curriculum Plans
See the Bio & Biomedical Materials, Interfaces and Systems focus area and Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering (NME) Option in our curriculum. Students interested in medical school can check out our Pre-health Planning page.
Student Projects and Capstones
- ElectroSolar Oxygen: An award-winning capstone design's simple formula for generating medical oxygen in underserved areas (2020)
- Pallicera developed a new drug formulation to mask taste for essential but bitter drugs for children. (2020)
- Novo Nordisk InsuCon: Insulin Pen Injection Confirmation (2020)
- Stryker C-O-You: Custom etCO2 Validation (2020)
- Novo Nordisk: High-Throughput Peptide Library Purification (2019)
- Large-scale Manufacturing facility for vaccine production (2014)
- Zetection: development of improved medical diagnostics with zwitterionic materials (2014)
- Aurora Plasmonics: Plasmonic emulsions for biomedical applications (2014)