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Cellular and Biomolecular Engineering

Much of this group’s bioengineering research is focused at the cellular and molecular scales.  This area has enormous potential to make truly significant contributions to mankind in both medical and non-medical fields over the next decades.  We believe that the next generation of therapeutics (following recombinant proteins and peptides) will utilize engineered cells and tissues, with the earliest examples only recently entering the clinic.  Many new technologies in fields, such as plant science, environmental engineering, and chemical production will also be based on these advances.  In some cases, bioengineers apply the principles and tools derived from engineering to problems from cellular and molecular biology, thus enabling new types of studies of biological systems.  In other cases, bioengineers purposefully modify the properties of cells to improve their performance in a specific application, be it production of specific chemicals or resistance to disease.  Research in this area benefits from strong collaborations with the Rice Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and with researchers at the Texas Medical Center (particularly the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at the Baylor College of Medicine).

Researchers in the Rice Department of Bioengineering that are involved in this field include: