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Biobased Materials
230 Cheatham Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
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Certificate Overview

This certificate is offered by the Bio-based Materials Center. Information on how to apply for the certificate can be found here.
How to Apply:
Fill out the online application for participation in the certificate program.
Upon processing of the application, you will be contacted
with information about the submission of additional
required materials. Thank you for your interest.

Admission Requirements

Admission into the program for the Certificate in Biobased Materials requires:

  • a bachelor’s degree in a scientific or engineering discipline
  • enrollment at the graduate level at Virginia Tech as
    • a degree seeking student,
    • a non-degree seeking student, or
    • a Commonwealth Campus student
  • good academic standing (for currently enrolled Virginia Tech students)
  • submission of a completed application form

Please note that the graduate school will not grant the certificate unless at least one of the courses has been taken in or after the 2011 Spring Semester (i.e., after approval of the certificate program).

Course Requirements

The certificate requires completion of a minimum of nine credit hours from the following list of courses. Students must attain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the courses counting towards the Certificate. Related Virginia Tech courses not included in the list may be substituted. Course substitution requests must be approved by the certificate faculty in the Department of Wood Science and Forest Products.

BCHM 5124 – Biochemistry for the Life Sciences
Basic principles of biochemistry including protein structure, enzymology, gene expression, bioenergetics, and pathways of energy metabolism. Not available to Biochemistry majors. I. (3H, 3C)

BCHM 5224 – Protein Structure and Function
Structure and function of proteins. Topics include special techniques in protein purification and characterization, techniques for studying protein structure, posttranslational modification of proteins and selected topics to study the structure-function relationship of proteins. Taught alternate years. I. (3H, 3C)

BCHM 5304 – Enzyme Kinetics and Reaction Mechanisms
Analysis of the mechanisms of enzyme-catalyzed reactions using kinetic and spectroscopic measurements, inhibitors and other chemical probes, or enzyme modification via sitedirected mutagenesis. Development and interpretation of kinetic rate equations. Theory and models of enzymatic catalysis. II. Alternate years. (3H, 3C)

BSE 5504G – Advanced Bioprocess Engineering
Study of the engineering concepts for biological conversion of raw materials to food, pharmaceuticals, fuels, and chemicals. Emphasis is placed on enzyme kinetics and technology, bioreaction kinetics, analysis, and control of bioreactors and fermenters, and downstream processing of bioreaction products. II. (3H, 3C)

BSE 5544G (CHE 5544G) – Advanced Protein Separation Engineering
Concepts, principles and applications of various unit operations used in protein separations. Properties of biological materials, such as cells and proteins, and their influences on process design. Design of processes for protein purification based on the impurities to be eliminated. Concepts and principles of scale-up of unit operations. Case studies in practical protein recovery and purification issues, with a focus on enhanced protein purification by genetic engineering. Protein purification process simulation and optimization using process simulation software. (3H, 3C)

BSE 5644 – Biobased Industrial Polymers
Importance of renewable feedstocks (i.e., proteins, polysaccharides, and fats) to industrial polymers and the future economy. Chemistry and processing of plant- and animal-based feedstocks into polymers. Properties of renewable materials. (3H, 3C)

BSE 5624 – Enzyme Engineering
Introduction to enzymatic biocatalysis. Enzyme kinetics on solid and soluble substrates. Directed enzyme evolution vs. rational enzyme design. Cell-free synthetic enzymatic pathway engineering. (3H, 3C)

CHE 5214 (BMES 5434) – Polymeric Biomaterials
This is an interdisciplinary course intended for graduate students. The major objective of this course is to introduce principles and concepts critical to the successful design of polymerbased biomaterials, drug-delivery devices, and bio-implants. The course will be broken down into the following four areas, polymer design and processing, inflammatory responses to polymers, interaction of blood with polymeric materials, and the effect of mechanical, chemical, and surface properties of polymers on cells. Students will be expected to know undergraduate engineering, polymers, and, biology. (3H, 3C)

WOOD 5424 (CHEM 5424) – Polysaccharide Chemistry
Structure, properties, and applications of natural polysaccharides. Natural sources and methods of isolation. Synthetic chemistry and important polysaccharide derivatives. Relation of structure and properties to performance in critical applications including pharmaceuticals, coatings, plastics, rheology control, and films. Conversion by chemical and biochemical methods of polysaccharide biomass to fuels and materials. Graduate standing required. (3H, 3C)

MACR 5015 or* 5016 – Macromolecular Fundamentals Laboratory I and II
The course will cover fundamentals and experimental techniques for the synthesis and characterization of polymeric materials. MACR 5015 includes statistical experimental design, step-growth and chain-growth polymerization, natural polymers, molecular modeling, thermal properties of polymers, molecular weight analysis, morphology, and melt and solution rheology. MACR 5016 includes static and dynamic mechanical analysis, rubber elasticity, spectroscopy, surface analysis, fracture behavior, and basic polymer processing. Must meet pre-requisites or equivalent. (2H, 1L, 3C)

*only one of the two courses, either MACR 5015 or MACR 5016, may be applied toward the certificate