• Length:
    7 Weeks
  • Effort:
    2–3 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $49 USD

  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Intermediate
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

Prerequisites

  • A basic knowledge in cell biology and math up to calculus and differential equations
  • Anyone with knowledge of undergraduate engineering or science could successfully take the course

About this course

Living cells have unique functions that can be harnessed by engineers to tackle human problems in energy, water, food, and health.

Historically living cells were considered too difficult to predictably engineer because of their complexity, vulnerability, and continuous change in state. The elucidation of the design principles that underlie cell function along with increasing numbers of examples of hybrid cell based devices are slowly erasing that notion.

In this class you will be learn about these established and emerging cellular design principles and begin to view cells as machines. This knowledge can also then be applied to non-living devices that mimic and communicate with cells. You will also be introduced to current and emerging living/non-living biohybrid devices such as biohybrid robots and neural implants.

What you'll learn

  • How fundamental engineering principles apply to living cells.
  • What engineering principles can tells us about how cells function.
  • Established and emerging, equations, models, and design curves that can be used to tune, re-engineer, or build new cells.
  • A framework for measuring and controlling cells as microdevices.
  • An introduction to emerging biohybrid devices.

Module 1: Introduction

  • Cells by the Numbers
  • Cell as a Machine
  • Bioinspiration: The Photoreceptor as an organic microdevice

Module 2: Cell Architecture

  • Cell & Organelle Size
  • Organelle Number
  • Biological Networks

Module 3: Gene Expression & Circuits

  • Intro to Transcription Networks
  • Simple Model of Gene Expression
  • Protein Half Lives
  • Autoregulation
  • Feedforward Loops 

Module 4: Cell Dynamics

  • Basic Tools for Nonlinear Dynamics of Cells
  • Gene switches
  • Biological Oscillations

Module 5: Cellular Devices

  • Intro to Living Biohybrids
  • Cell Device Biointerface
  • Cells as Sensors
  • Cells as Actuators
  • Cell - Device Integration

Module 6:  The Future

  • Synthetic Life
  • Applications of Biohybrids
  • Ethics and Society

Meet your instructors

Jenna Rickus
Professor of Biological Engineering and Biomedical Engineering
Purdue University
James Nolan
Research Assistant / TA
Purdue University

Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain $49.00

View a PDF of a sample edX certificate
  • Official and Verified

    Receive an instructor-signed certificate with the institution's logo to verify your achievement and increase your job prospects

  • Easily Shareable

    Add the certificate to your CV or resume, or post it directly on LinkedIn

  • Proven Motivator

    Give yourself an additional incentive to complete the course

  • Support our Mission

    EdX, a non-profit, relies on verified certificates to help fund free education for everyone globally