Talk:Biological engineering

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Please note:[edit]

that is should be: i.e., for example should be: e.g.,

Relationship to Agricultural Engineering[edit]

Biological/Biosystems/Bioresource Engineering, for all intensive purposes is simply a renaming of Agricultural Engineering. In fact, when I was studying Agricultural Engineering in university, we came back after one summer break to find the course names changed to Biological Engineering, etc... There have been some changes in the dicipline in the last 20 years with a broader focus than just the biological systems relating to agriculture. The name change is more for "poltical correctness" as Ag. Engineers had found themselves working in diverse fields such as biomedical engineering, aquacultural engineering, food processing, waste treatment, etc... I often have trouble explaining to others exactly what my training is, suffice it to say that at university I took classes with civils, mechs, and chemical engineers. I would say the dicipline is a combination of the heat/mass transfer and processing end of chemical engineering, the classic machine design, HVAC, and controls of mechanical engineering, and the soils and light wood structures portion of civil. Some studies unique to Bioengineering are: negative pressure HVAC, irrigation/drainage engineering, biomechanics, machine-plant/soil interaction. There needs to be some sort of combination/connection to the Agricultural Engineering article. --Mf135gas 06:21, 3 December 2005 (UTC)


I think that this article is regarding the term bioengineering as it relates to the application of engineering to the solution of medical problems. This would exclude topics on irrigation/drainage, HVAC, etc. and focus on tissue engineering, neural engineering, prosthesis, etc. What you are referring to is still called mainly agricultural engineering, bioresource engineering, and agricultural engineering. I would consider these separate fields.

I placed the merge tag because, at least in the US, bioengineering and biomedical engineering are terms that are used with little distinction between the two. Is there a source? This may come from the use of the term "bioengineered" to refer to food that has been genetically modified, when in reality these techniques rely mostly on molecular biology than engineering techniques.

--ChrisTN 04:04, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

I would agree that what I am referring to is still mainly referred as Ag. Engineering by the un-informed public. However, as a profession we have adopted the name Bioengineering to refer to the discipline engineering formerly known as Ag Engineering, but also includes all branches of engineering that relate to biological systems. For instance, the national organisation for Bioengineering in Canada is: [1], formerly known as CSAE up until the annual general meeting last year. Our sister institution in the US also changed its name last year. The ASAE is now the ASABE: [2]. It is not uncommon to find someone holding a degree in Bioengineering, who studied irrigation at one point in their undergrad life now working on degisn of human prosthetics. Biomedical engineering is a sub-discipline of Biological engineering, but is really a multi-disciplinary field also involving Medical professionals. Bioengineering is a very diverse field, required syllabus, at least in Canadian Universities (a lot of American ones from what I understand too) includes everything from classical biology to control engineering (root locus, state-space analysis and all that fun stuff). There does definitly need to be some sort of distinction between Bioengineering and "genetic engineering" which is not a discipline of engineering.

A good side note here is the study of environmental engineering which, has become a buzz in the last number of years. In most universities it is a branch of civil engineering, which is odd seeing as how most of the civil profs have backgrounds in reenforced conrete or traffic control and have never taken a microbiology, or transport phenomena course beyond Darcy's equation. Part of the thrust behind the name change from Ag. Engineering to Bioengineering was the feeling that the emerging discipline of Environmental Engineering was "coopted" from Ag. Engineering.

I don't mean this to be a bit of a tirade, although it is ironic as a member CSAE I voted against the whole name change. Hope this makes sense.--Mf135gas 03:42, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

I do not think that the articles of bioengineering and biomedical engineering should be put within the same article. Unless biomedical engineering is regarded as some subdivison of bioengineering. Biomedical engineers use many aspects of biological engineering and manipulation of biological systems to create health related devices and molecules. Bioengineering is a wide field and many people who major in bioengineering will not be working in a medical related field. Especially bioengineers working in the animal-health or food industry. Bioengineers who might in the future use biological systems to find alternate sources of energy would also not be doing health related studies. These two articles represent two differant fields of study, that although are related, are not the same thing. The two articles should be cept seperate.--franci 09 (april 2, 2006)

I guess the problem is that I come from a US background where the terms are used interchangeably. In addition, labs that conduct research into optimization of biofuel resources use the same engineering techniques in order to develop antibiotics. It doesn't make sense to call one person a "biomedical engineer" and one a "bioengineer" when they may be working side-by-side on the lab bench. Nevertheless, I see your point. I just hope that someone looking into a degree programm in a "bioengineering" department will assume that it is substantially different than a program in "biomedical engineering". If you compare the bioengineering program at UCSD to the biomedical engineering program at Washington University you will see what I mean.ChrisTN 00:01, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

General Confusion

I don't think they should be merged. I actually think that there should be some type of warning that states that this is bioengineering which is not to be confused with biomedical engineering or biological engineering which are related fields but not the same thing. Also as a graduate of a bioengineering program I am generally confused as to how graduates of agricultural engineering could be a bioengineer. In my program we learn how to model biological systems in order to mimic these systems. It is more of a field that understands complex systems then a field that makes biological products or modifies food. We learned things areas like neural networks, genetic algorithms, evolutionary programming, and other biomemitic tools. I never studied anything that mechanical engineers or electrical engineers did. I was always told that they would deal with the simple linear systems, where the bioengineers would deal with the complex non-linear systems. If anyone has any feedback on this I would love to hear it. Thank You. --Lefevre18 04:10, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Mechanical engineers and electrical engineers do deal with nonlinear systems. Much research has been conducted on nonlinearities in heart rate and balance control that relates to device development which might be considered the mechanical engineering portion of BME/BE. Electrical engineering knowledge is used in order to understand how to exert external control over nonlinear systems or to use nonlinear systems to introduce beneficial noise, for example.ChrisTN


This is not a real clear piece. I recommend dividing the first par into two. The first par should give the definition then the second present the distinction between medical and agricultural applications. Also, the (proposed) second par is not very clear as stands. I had to read it twice silently and aloud a third time to make sense of it.

I suggest an edit for clarification. Is it okay for me to implement this? Pb1 Done! :-)

I would like to confirm the bioengineering does not have any "real" association with agricultural engineering and is essential the same thing as biomedical engineering. There may be some slight distinctions between bio- and biomed-, however, if you review the course requirements at any of the leading institutions, they are nearly identical, and in my program (UCSD) and many others the terms are used interchangeably. So not to flame MF135gas too bad..but your statement is not reflective of the Bioengineering discipline as a whole...oh and it is not "all intensive purposes".... its "all intents and purposes". —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mjsandiego (talkcontribs) 00:33, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

I'd like to add to the discussion on merging these pages. The distinction between "bioengineering" and "biological engineering" is truly an academic endeavor. That is, the differences only seem matter to those from a training perspective. To practitioners these are effectively the same topics with the same skill sets, tools, and approaches. The NIH definition of "bioengineering" is most certainly only medically-related engineering; this neglects environmental, agricultural, bioprocess, and bioenergy areas. ABET (Accreditation board of engineering and technology) in the US does group bioengineering with biomedical engineering and biological engineering as being distinct. The differences practically between the two definitions is small with the biomedical engineering programs requiring measurements on living systems. This is done routinely in biological engineering programs also, although the living systems do not need to be humans (as implied for biomedical). The different names of academic programs for the most part is due to local politics or personal preferences of a few individuals. There is no consensus. I suggest leaving the pages separate until there is some agreement. MRRiley16 (talk) 04:36, 5 January 2010 (UTC)


Synthetic Biology[edit]

I would like to note that bioengineering seems to include synthetic engineering (wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_biology ) and that this article should both mention/list synthetic biology and explain or create a separate page explaining what differentiates the two. The synthbio and the bioengineering pages should be linked somehow. I say this because I have trouble understanding the differences between the two. And obviously I would do this myself but I don't know squat about the topics. I'm a humanities kind of guy. Maybe I'll post this on the synthbio talk page too. Djdoobwah (talk) 09:10, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Cleanup[edit]

This article was obviously the result of a merger between similar articles a while ago, and reading through it I feel that it is in dire need of a clean-up. I'll give it a going over now, but if anyone has any comments or issues with what I change please raise them! Gumbacious (talk) 06:01, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

I have rewritten the start of this article, but I think a merger between bioengineering and Biological Engineering is in order. Both articles contain much the same content, using slightly different language. Gumbacious (talk) 06:36, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Merger between Bioengineering and Biological Engineering[edit]

Both articles cover effectively the same material, and in my opinion the two are interchangeable. It is because of this that I am proposing the merger between the two. If the merger is successful, I propose that the page be named Bioengineering, with searches for Biological Engineering redirecting here. Any ideas/comments? Gumbacious (talk) 06:59, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

  • Support sounds reasonable, though I am no expert in the field.--Utahredrock (talk) 04:38, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Support for the same reason I would support mergers between biophysics and biological physics, or biochemistry and biological chemistry. --chodges (talk) 19:05, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Do Not Support As an active member of several professional societies that use these terms, I believe the consensus view is that these are distinct. Biological Engineering is a fundamental engineering discipline founded on the science of biology, while Bioengineering (synonymous with Biomedical and Medical Engineering) is an applied engineering discipline focused on applications related to human health. While Biological Engineers do work with medicine, that is only one of many biological sciences they work with (others include plant biology, animal science, microbiology, ecology, to name a few). With the advent of Biological Engineering one can argue that there are now four science-based engineering disciplines (Biological Engineering - Biology; Chemical Engineering - Chemistry; Electrical Engineering - Physics/Electromagnetism; and Mechanical Engineering - Physics/Classical Mechanics, Statics, and Dynamics). Similarly, Bioengineering can be classed in the larger group of industrial sector-based engineering disciplines: Aerospace Engineering, Civil Engineering, Agricultural Engineering, Architectural Engineering, Industrial Engineering, etc. These two biology-related engineering disciplines are both evolving, but their communities are not showing signs of merging. While the similarity between these names is admittedly confusing (especially in a world where we commonly collapse "biological" to "bio"), in this case forcing a merger is likely to alienate professionals in one or the other of these two legitimate and distinct engineering fields. 64.178.106.74 (talk) 23:31, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Just wanted to say that the above post is hilarious. Mr. (or Ms.) Professional Society above dare not give his or her name, and has never contributed to Wikipedia beyond the above post. Genius! There are also no sources given for the distinction he cites between bioengineering and biological engineering. At Berkeley, for example, there is no "biological engineering" department but rather the "Department of Bioengineering," while at MIT, there is the "Department of Biological Engineering," which offers the graduate degree of "bioengineering." Finally, according to the BioE department at MIT, they say that "[bioengineering] is a term often used to encompass facets of both Biological Engineering and Biomedical Engineering" [3]. I support the merger, but encourage cited perspectives on the topic (rather than appeals to authority and personal involvement in the field). --chodges (talk) 22:54, 27 September 2008 (UTC)


Need to Establish Hierarchy of Sciences & Fields of Study[edit]

I support the merger, but with a caution that neither article refers to the hierarchy of sciences & field of study. As a chemical engineer I was taught that chemical engineering began near the 1900's as a merger of paper science and mechanical engineering. As organic chemistry evolved and chemical reactions were required to produce products chemical engineering became a field in its own right, as mechanical engineering lacked the more in-depth study of chemistry and paper engineering dealt with a specific product line only.

According to Dr. Schuler of Cornell University & Dr. Kargi of Washington University in their book Bioprocess Engineering, the term bioengineering is the umbrella from which all subsequent sciences follow under (pg 2 of Bioprocess Engineering Basic Concepts 2nd ed ISBN 0-13-081908-5). Bioengineering embodies both the work of agricultural engineers as well as biomedical engineers and biotechnology. "Biotechnology usually implies the use or development of methods of direct genetic manipulation for a socially desirable goal." "Bioengineering is a broad title and would include work on medical and agricultural systems; its practitioners include agricultural, electrical, mechanical, industrial, environmental, and chemical engineers, and others. Biological engineering is similar but emphasizes applications to plants and animals. Biochemical engineering has usually meant the extension of chemical engineering principles to systems using a biological catalyst to bring about desired chemical transformations. It is often subdivided into bioreaction engineering and bioseparations. Biomedical engineering has been considered to be totally separate from biochemical engineering, although the boundary between the two is increasingly vague, particularly in the areas of cell surface receptors and animal cell culture. Another relevant terms is biomolecular engineering, which has been defined by the National Institute of Health as "...research at the interface of biology and chemical engineering and is focused at the molecular level." (all quotes from pg 2 Schuler/Kargi Bioprocess Engineering Basic Concepts 2nd ed) —Preceding unsigned comment added by HOPeterson (talkcontribs) 15:08, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

In the spirit of WP:BRD I would like to start a disccusion on the External Links. I don't see why we need a link to every University that offers a course on Biological Enginneering. As my edit suggested I don't think we need any. This is not supposed to be a collection of links. Currently there are 19 external links and only one that is worth keeping in my opinion is the link to the Journal of Biological Engineering. AIRcorn (talk) 10:25, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

I undid the removal of external links, because there are revelant informations for those interested in learning more about Biological engineering. In the other hand, there are some links which doesn't contribute to this article, and can be seen as just advertisement. Maybe an article relating universities' courses and laboratories could be started, to where some of these links could be moved. --Rudolf Hellmuth (talk) 10:31, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that once one is here then it justifies anyone adding their own University to the article, which then ruins the point having external links. If one is particularily well recognised it could probably be justified. Ideally would be a impartial site or one that then links to the Universites. You could try to start an article about Universities and Biological Enginneering, but I am not sure that it would survive. AIRcorn (talk) 10:42, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you. I think the best option is to remove all links University's departments and keep the links to scientific societies and journals. --Rudolf Hellmuth (talk) 13:10, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Need for clarity[edit]

I only looked up the term "bioengineering" to clarify what I thought it might mean. The article itself and the discussions in the 'talk pages' on how to define bioengineering have been a revelation. I think a segment on the evolution of the term could be very useful as well as interesting to the unitiated. However, the larger problem with the main article is that there are no real world examples of what the terms mean or how they're applied. What makes the article confusing is less that's it's too technical than too full of self referential jargon -- a very easy trap to fall into when you're completely immersed in what you do. Whether or not the terms 'bioengineering', 'biological engineering' are merged or distinct, there have to be clear, contextual examples. And, it sounds as if there are many. This is coming from someone who is neither an engineer nor formally trained in the sciences, but who works with landfill (environmental/civil) engineers, and part of whose job is to explain what's going on in our agency in non- or at least less- technical terms for the ordinary public. Eslgal (talk) 21:40, 29 April 2013 (UTC)eslgal

Bold links[edit]

The article has some bold blue links which are hard to read. Normal blue links are likewise hard to read, but bold blue links are much more. Χρυσάνθη Λυκούση (talk) 05:07, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Merge discussion for Bioadhesive[edit]

Merge-arrows.svg

An article that you have been involved in editing, Bioadhesive, has been proposed for a merge with another article. If you are interested in the merge discussion, please participate by going here, and adding your comments on the discussion page. Thank you. Leprof 7272 (talk) 23:39, 11 June 2014 (UTC)