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Biotechnology (Ph.D.)

The Biotechnology Ph.D. program offered through the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering is strongly research-oriented with coursework in Principles of Cell and Microbe Cultivation, Biochemistry and Cellular Metabolism, Protein Purification, Molecular Biology, and Biochemical Engineering.

Biotechnology (Certificate)

The ability to manipulate the genetic content of microbial, insect, animal, and plant cells has led to a variety of commercial applications in medicine, nutrition, materials science, and the environment. New biotechnology-derived pharmaceutical products are gaining FDA approval, and the sequencing of the human genome will lead to tremendous new opportunities in disease prevention. The Biotechnology certificate program gives you the skills employers are looking for to develop today’s products: biochemical process engineering principles, molecular biology practices, and state-of-the-art cloning and expression techniques.


The Biotechnology Certificate program is designed to train electrical engineers in the medical uses of diagnostic imaging instrumentation, biotechnology professionals with training in tissue engineering to develop tissue implants, and mechanical engineers who are well-versed in biomaterials to design artificial joints. The certificate program allows students to focus on biomedical instrumentation, biomedical optics, biomaterials/biotechnology and tissue engineering or other related areas of study.

Through industry-based projects and case studies, the four-course, graduate-level Biotechnology Certificate programs provide you with the fundamentals and practical considerations in the field, including construction of recombinant DNA and the production of enzymes, therapeutic proteins, vaccines and small-molecule primary and secondary metabolites. The curriculum features modern techniques for separation and purification of small and large biomolecules. In addition, production and separation case studies emphasize process economics, GMP, and QA/QC.

Two certificate tracks are available. Each track requires four courses.

  • Engineering: Emphasizes biochemical process engineering principles and state-of-the-art biotechnology production techniques.
  • Science: Emphasizes molecular biology practices and state-of-the-art cloning and expression techniques.


Kyongbum Lee
Department Chair and Professor
Ph.D. , Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Metabolic Engineering
Ayse Asatekin
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. , Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Clean water, membranes, polymer science, separations, surface chemistry
Prashant Deshlahra
Prashant Deshlahra
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. , University of Notre Dame
Experimental and Computational Catalysis
Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos
Robert and Marcy Haber Endowed Professor in Energy Sustainability
Ph.D. , University of Minnesota
Catalysis, Clean Energy Technologies
Jerry H. Meldon
Associate Professor
Ph.D. , Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mathematical Modeling, Membrane Transport
Professor Derek Mess, headshot
Derek Mess
Professor of the Practice
Ph.D. , Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Thermal Barrier Coating (TBC); Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) Ceramics
Professor William Moomaw, headshot
William Moomaw
Research Professor
Ph.D. , Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nikhil U. Nair
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. , University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Synthetic Biology, Systems Bioengineering, Protein Engineering, Metabolic Engineering, Biofuels, Biocatalysis
Matthew J. Panzer
Associate Professor
Ph.D. , University of Minnesota
Sustainable Energy, Soft Electronics, Green Technologies
Daniel F. Ryder
Associate Professor
Ph.D. , Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Process Control
James Van Deventer, headshot
James Van Deventer
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. , California Institute of Technology
Protein engineering, non-canonical amino acids, cancer, directed evolution, yeast display
Darryl Williams, headshot
Darryl Williams
Research Associate Professor and Dean of Undergraduate Education
Ph.D. , University of Maryland
Nanobiotechnology, STEM education
Hyunmin Yi
Associate Professor
Ph.D. , University of Maryland
Nanobiofabrication, Smart Biopolymers, BioMEMS

Application Deadline

Spring: September 15
Fall: December 15

Applicants to the Ph.D. in Biotechnology program are generally expected to hold a B.S. or M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, or Biology. Competitive applicants are expected to already have working knowledge of the core course content of this program (i.e., enzyme and cell growth kinetics, biochemistry and cell metabolism, molecular biology).

Application Requirements:

> Application Fee
Personal Statement
Official GRE scores
> Official TOEFL or IELTS, if applicable
Three letters of Recommendation