MSE-212 / 2 credits

Teacher: Bastings Maartje Martina Cornelia

Language: English


This course consists of an introduction to biology and more particularly to biology as a multidisciplinary field, emphasizing natural examples of materials engineering. It should therefore allow engineering students to find inspiration from biology in future materials research problems.


BLOCK 1: Introduction and engineering with cellular components

Lecture 1.        Intro to engineering in biology

Lecture 2.        Proteins and protein-based materials

Lecture 3.        DNA and DNA-based materials

Exercise 1.       Proteins, peptides and DNA

BLOCK  2: Inter- and intracellular action

Lecture 4.        ECM, adhesion and artificial matrices

Lecture 5.        Virus, antibodies and immune engineering

Lecture 6.        Bacteria and living materials

Exercise 2.       Nanoparticles and scaffolds

BLOCK 3: Physics of biological action

Lecture 7.        Multivalency: Receptors and targeting

Lecture 8.        Endocytosis and drug delivery

Lecture 9.        Measuring cell signaling and communication

Exercise 3.       Engineering Functionality


Lecture 10.      Revision and conclusion

Open office.     Questions, discussion, exam prep


Life, Cells, Tissues, Interactions, Natural Materials, Bioengineering, Bioinspired Engineering, Molecular Biology, Structure - Function relationships in Biology

Learning Prerequisites

Important concepts to start the course

Students should appreciate that many materials engineering problems have been solved by nature.

Evolution is always billion years ahead of what we can engineer as humans.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

  • Describe the building blocks of life and how their interactions dictate structure and function in biology
  • Identify materials and architectures found in nature
  • Realize how cellular communication mechanisms are important in the engineering of biomaterials
  • Integrate examples from nature in materials engineering challenges

Teaching methods

Classroom teaching and handouts

Expected student activities

Be present at lectures and actively participate in discussions on the subject.

Assessment methods

Written exam at the end of the semester (exam period)


Office hours Yes
Assistants Yes
Forum No
Others Moodle, 3 exercise sessions, 1 per themed-block to practice the materials and prepare for the exam, guided by TAs



Materials will be distributed on Moodle

Moodle Link


Prerequisite for

MSE 471: Biomaterials

In the programs

  • Semester: Spring
  • Exam form: Written (summer session)
  • Subject examined: Biology for engineers
  • Lecture: 2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks
  • Type: mandatory

Reference week

Related courses

Results from