93923 - Biological Engineering

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Moduli: Emanuele Domenico Giordano (Modulo 1) Joseph Lovecchio (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Cesena
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Biomedical Engineering (cod. 9266)

Learning outcomes

Biological engineering encompasses engineering theories and practices applied to biological science. A basic goal of this approach is to design technology that operates in harmony with the biology of living systems. Attending this course Students will learn how to use theoretical and practical tools useful for the design and fabrication of biosynthetic parts, devices and systems. At the end of the course, Students should be able to: - design genetic circuits based on a standard modular approach, - know the general specifications of suitable cells and biomaterials and applicable tissue engineering protocols in dedicated devices (bioreactor systems); - experimentally evaluate the functionality of engineered molecular and cellular constructs; -formally describe and predict the dynamics of engineered molecular and cellular constructs by using computational modeling. -respect the regulatory framework governing experimental and clinical use thereof.

Course contents


Stem cells in tissue engineering (TE).

TE scaffolds: chemical, physical and biological properties of natural and synthetic biomaterials of interest for the aim; scaffold fabrication methods; bioactive substance delivery; cell/biomaterial interactions (biocompatibility e differentiation assessment).

TE bioreactor systems: cell culture in bioreactors for TE; examples/applications.



Unconventional applications for nucleic acids, e.g. a) DNA nanodevices; b) DNA computing; c) autonomous molecular computers for logical control of gene expression.
What is synthetic biology?
The international Genetically Engineered Machine competition
The Registry: a promoter and a terminator for transcription, a ribosome binding site (RBS) for translation
Small regulatory RNAs
The lab room and the equipment
Safety is priority: Biological safety and disposal
E. coli DNA: Chromosomes, plasmids and copy number
Chemical solutions and agar plates
BioBrick™ standard assembly and agarose gel electrophoretic analysis
Preparation of competent E. coli cells using CaCl2
Transformation of CaCl2-competent E. coli cells
Fluorimetry, fluorescence microscopy or flow cytometry to measure a fluorescent reporter?
Mathematical modeling to describe and to predict the behavior of a genetic circuit

The lac operon
Rational design of modular circuits for gene transcription: a test of the bottom-up approach
A synthetic post-transcriptional controller to explore the modular design of gene circuits


Slides from classes will be available.

Current literature will be circulated in class.

Teaching methods

Traditional lectures in class, and practical activity in the lab for small students' groups attendance.

Assessment methods

A maximum of 5/30 will be acquired with an individual Multiple Choice Test (MCT = 15 questions with 4 possible answer each).

A maximum of 25/30 will be obtained submitting a proposal (a paper + an oral presentation with slides).This will be a small-group work (2-3 individuals).

Such a proposal will deal with a technological solution to a diagnostic/therapy/research open problem (at molecular/cellular level). The proposal should be conceived as if you were trying to attract financial resources for its development. i.e. you should (virtually) convince a funding body to support your proposal. Key enabling technology presented during the course should be included in the methods used in the project.

The paper should contain (at least) the following sections 1) state-of-art in the field, 2) aim(s) of the proposal, 3) materials and methods to implement the proposal, 4) expected results, 5) references.

The same proposal will be orally presented with the aid of slides highlighting the above mentioned sections. All the proponents of each project will take the floor during the oral presentation, and are expected to declare their personal contribution in the collaborative work.

The [MCT + paper + oral presentation] bundle is compulsory to earn up to 30/30.

Brilliant work will receive 30/30 cum laude.

Teaching tools

Mol Cell Engn Lab "Silvio Cavalcanti" #3014

Office hours

See the website of Emanuele Domenico Giordano

See the website of Joseph Lovecchio


Good health and well-being Industry, innovation and infrastructure

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.