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Biological & Chemical Engineering Program Area

The Biological & Chemical Engineering (B&CE) Program Area uses fundamental principles of biology, chemistry, and mathematics to educate students in bio-inspired systems, circuits, and processes as well as biotherapies and biofuels. The B&CE Program Area puts a particular emphasis on intellectual paths with human-centered impact.

B&CE Program Area Lead: Margie Ackerman

The Student Experience

We are committed to offering individualized mentoring of our student's professional development toward becoming enabled, independent professionals, and to maximizing the quality our student's experience through scholarship, coursework, and community.

Griswold lab and student

Students are expected to propose a plan of study that supports their interests, potentially including distinctive intellectual paths unconstrained by disciplinary boundaries and enriched by interdisciplinary synergies.

Most graduate study is advanced through the research thesis and disseminated through contributions to the peer-reviewed literature, presentations at professional meetings, and in some cases patents and other forms.

We seek to foster stimulating and accessible intellectual communities among students and faculty interested in B&CE within Thayer, across Dartmouth, and among researchers and practitioners from around the US and the world.


B&CE research at Dartmouth has been chosen strategically to address key trends and challenges—such as applying deep learning to biological problems with a focus on sustainability, accessibility, and implementation—and is supported by leading faculty in their fields.

Margaret Ackerman in lab

These fields include:

  • Biological circuits and systems
  • Biomass energy
  • Immunoengineering
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Process simulation
  • Protein engineering

Learn more

Lab Spotlight

F12 Structural Model sq

Treatment for Drug-Resistant Bacterial Infections

A study by the Griswold Research Group shows promise for a lysin-based antibacterial agent that may enable safe, repeated dosing to treat life-threatening staph infections.

Learn more


Classroom Mac Lean

Individualized plans of study are developed by students with their faculty mentors pursuant to gaining both a broad understanding of science and engineering relevant to B&CE, and also depth in one or more technical area within the student's focus area. Technical depth is addressed through courses often relevant to the research areas listed above.

To foster a broad understanding, students select one course each from groups based on three different scales of engineering:

  1. Systems
  2. Cellular
  3. Molecular

Graduate Degrees

Students interested in obtaining a PhD, MS, or MEng focused on B&CE are encouraged to contact faculty lead Margie Ackerman or other individual faculty in their areas of interest. Applicants are also invited to visit campus and meet with engineering students and faculty.

Undergraduate Degrees

Students interested in the AB/BE, or Dual-Degree program with a focus on B&CE are encouraged to contact Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Doug Van Citters. Applicants are also invited to visit campus and meet with engineering students and faculty.