Background: The rapidly evolving discipline of biological and biomedical engineering requires adaptive instructional approaches that teach students to target and solve multi-pronged and ill-structured problems at the cutting edge of scientific research. Here we present a modular approach to designing a lab-based course in the emerging field of biofabrication and biological design, leading to a final capstone design project that requires students to formulate and test a hypothesis using the scientific method. Results: Students were assessed on a range of metrics designed to evaluate the format of the course, the efficacy of the format for teaching new topics and concepts, and the depth of the contribution this course made to students training for biological engineering careers. The evaluation showed that the problem-based format of the course was well suited to teaching students how to use the scientific method to investigate and uncover the fundamental biological design rules that govern the field of biofabrication. Conclusions: We show that this approach is an efficient and effective method of translating emergent scientific principles from the lab bench to the classroom and training the next generation of biological and biomedical engineers for careers as researchers and industry practicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
JournalJournal of Biological Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 21 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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