Cellular Biology

Bioengineering Explained



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Bioengineering is the fastest growing field of engineering. What do bioengineers do? They use a vast knowledge of various sciences combining them with biology to make an affordable way to improve human life. One example is bioengineers using genetics to create genetically modified organisms to help boost the food supply, from bigger cows to disease resistant tobacco. These creatures are also used for research like the pigs in whom they transplanted a jelly fish gene to make them green to watch the benefits of stem cell research, since the new tissue created by the stem cells would not be green and easily detectable. Also there creatures created called knockout mice. These mice are engineered with out a particular gene to study what the gene actually does.
The impact of bioengineering on the medical field is extremely vast. Bioengineers with a mechanical emphasis are responsible for creating things like MRI machines, prosthetics, and artificial hearts. Bioengineers who make artificial joints and stints not only have to make sure it will function properly but have to use knowledge of chemistry to make sure that blood doesn't clot on the artificial part's surface. Something else that is on the cutting edge is a computer chip that has been implanted in a paralyzed man's brain that allows him to write emails and surf the internet.
Those engineers who lean more towards chemistry are often found in the pharmaceutical industry. Some of the methods used are to use horses and chicken eggs to create vaccines. They have to pay attention to a chemical's chiral shape / handedness. Sometimes if a drug is not purified enough it could lead to things like severe birth defects.
Then there are the bioengineers who heavily emphasize biology in the things they create for medicine. An great example are tissue engineers who are responsible for things like skin grafting. A huge advancement in tissue engineering is the ability to create a functional human bladder from only a few cells. They place these cells on a scaffolding and they grow and multiply until they become a fully functioning bladder. Also there are the people who are doing research with stem cells and cloning.
Thus bioengineering impacts human society more than anyone thinks. Bioengineers are responsible for better food, cleaner water, and medical advancements. People tend to think more about machines than biology and so they miss the crucial role biology plays in their everyday lives. Because of bioengineering we eat better and don't have to worry about catching things like small pox. Yet, people need to be aware of this newly discovered power for it can be used in not so good ways. Examples include human cloning for organ replacement and the genetic alteration of viruses to make them more virulent. Humanity needs to keep vigilant to prevent such horrible things from happening. As the saying goes, "With great power comes great responsibility."

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