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Graduate Degree Programs
M.S. or Ph.D. in Biomaterials Engineering

The BME option in the Paper and Bioprocess Engineering program offers areas of study in:

  • Biocomposite Materials, Biopolymers (M.S., Ph.D.)
  • Bioactive Materials and Biosensors (M.S., Ph.D.)
  • Nanocomposites and Nanostructured Materials (M.S., Ph.D.)

Areas of Study

Bioactive Materials and Biosensors

  • Bioactive paper, cellulosic and natural fibrous materials
  • E-paper
  • Photosensitive polymers, fibers and materials
  • Antimicrobial coatings, fibrous and nonwoven products

Novel and designed materials displaying significant biological activity, e.g. antibody binding, antimicrobials, photosensitive or other kinds of stimuli responsives are being applied for a wide array of sensors and uniquely functional products. Wound and hygiene care, protective materials, identification materials are of interest. 

Biocomposite Materials, Biopolymers

  • Paper, cellulosic and natural fibrous materials
  • Natural rolled erosion control products
  • Bacterial cellulose and polyesters
  • Wood, lignocellulosics-based composites, fiber-based composites

Various composites incorporating materials derived from bioresources such as lignocellulosics are critical to the future of sustainable development. This research area is focused toward training students on the design and performance of various composites engineered from sustainable and renewable materials. Biopolymers such as polylactic acid (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are of particular interest for production from plant- or tree-based resources. These polymers, besides being produced from sustainable resources, degrade quickly in the environment and reduce the environmental footprint of the products. Therefore they contribute to sustainable living besides incorporating green processing principles. They also avoid the use of fossil carbon sources helping mitigate climate change effects in the environment.

Nanocomposites and Nanostructured Materials

  • Nanocrystallites of cellulose from wood
  • Nanostructured fibrous materials from lignocellulosics
  • Functionalized nanomaterials from lignocellulosic raw materials

A new area of research is nanocomposites and nanostructured materials. Many components of plants and trees are nanostructured. For example, cellulose microfibrils liberated from wood and plant cell walls can be incorporated into different polymers to yield composites of unique properties. These materials are usually derived from natural and renewable resources and contribute to sustainability.

Participating Faculty

  • Thomas E. Amidon;
    biorefinery, fiber properties, paper properties, management, pulping, bleaching, de-inking
  • Biljana Bujanovic;
    chemistry of lignocellulosics and products, lignin structure and reactivity, pulping, bleaching
  • Klaus Dölle;
    pulp & paper and related environmental topics, design, constructed wetlands,subsurface bioreactors, fossil energy, bioenergy, hydropower, water and waste water treatment, paper recycling, paper development, filler materials, energy savings, renewable energy & processes, engineering, machine & process design.
  • Raymond C. Francis;
    bioenergy, chemical engineering, pulping
  • Yuan-Zong Lai;
    chemistry of wood, pulping, bleaching, bioproduct development
  • Shijie Liu;
    bioengineering, fermentation, kinetics, separation, pulping, bleaching, fiber properties, sustainability, biofuel, renewable chemicals, biomaterials
  • Bandaru V. Ramarao;
    chemical engineering, separation processes, adsorption, chromatography, filtration, membrane, depth filtration, columns, cellulosic materials, lignocellulosics separations, hydrolysis, papermaking, paper physics.
  • Gary M. Scott;
    biotechnology, bioprocess engineering, paper machine operations, recycling, modeling