Chemical engineers began large-scale production of penicillin, the first antibiotic, in 1943.

Achievements in Biomedicine

Systems developed by chemical engineers isolate and prepare cellular materials for use in the research and manufacture of biopharmaceutical products. Photo by George Nemeth.

By deciphering the complex phenomena occurring within the human body, biomedical researchers are able to devise new therapeutic approaches to manage and treat disease.

Working alongside these researchers, chemical engineers add their unique expertise to turn many of these promising new concepts into reality. The resulting techniques and devices are now being successfully used to help lengthen and improve our lives.

Kidney dialysis

Over the past 50 years many pioneering breakthroughs in kidney dialysis have been made by chemical engineers. Often called artificial kidneys, kidney dialysis machines cleanse the blood of impurities. Since the early 1940s, when the first practical artificial kidney was developed, work has continued to create smaller, more effective, and more affordable dialysis machines. Learn more >>

Treating diabetes

The incidence of diabetes is on the rise. To control this chronic disease many patients must test glucose levels in their blood and regularly inject themselves with insulin. Through the combined efforts of chemical engineers, physicians, and biomedical researchers, improved techniques for monitoring blood glucose levels and administering insulin have been developed. Learn more >>

Tissue Engineering

Tissue engineering involves the use of living cells as building materials. Engineered tissues are being created to repair or replace damaged or diseased organs and tissues. And now some of the functions performed by the human body can be augmented or replicated by this innovative, multidisciplinary technology. Learn more >>

Drug Delivery

Historically, the conventional method of delivering medications to patients has been by mouth or injection. Early advancements have included nasal sprays, dermal patches, and controlled-release products. Now, with the help of chemical engineers, targeted drug-delivery vehicles distribute medications directly to the desired location within the body and release it on demand. Learn more >>