Cellular engineering is a rapidly emerging, inherently interdisciplinary field integrating research in biology, chemical engineering, computer science, animal science, microbiology and materials science. Understanding cellular function and manipulating cells/tissues to perform in a particular manner is the basis for many ventures in the biomedical, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, including drug production from cell culture, methods for improved drug delivery, generation of artificial organs for replacement of diseased tissues, development of biofuels, and design of bioremediation processes for waste water clean-up. Analysts forecast that cellular engineering approaches to human therapeutics, bioremediation, biomanufacturing, homeland security, and energy production will begin to significantly impact the marketplace over the next five to ten years. Similar to the biotech industry, which grew from embryonic and experimental to mature and mainstream in just twenty years, the emerging cellular engineering industry is expected to advance rapidly and have broad applications.
Cellular Engineering at UMass Amherst
The UMass Amherst Institute for Cellular Engineering (ICE) was established to coordinate and expand cellular engineering educational and scholarly activities on campus and to enable translational research through strategic industry partnerships. ICE exploits the synergistic interface between engineering and the life sciences, providing a platform upon which to build novel infrastructure, technologies, and training opportunities. ICE spans ten departments and comprises three research thrusts: applied systems biology, cell delivery, and protein engineering.