Breaking New Ground

Nanette BoyleThe Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at Colorado School of Mines has a comprehensive research program and counts among its faculty eight NSF CAREER Award winners, one PECASE Award winner, and one DOE Early Investigator Award winner. CBE faculty conduct cutting-edge fundamental as well as applied research with the support of federal and state agencies, industry and private foundations. The Department’s research may be broadly divided into three thrusts:

  • Renewable & Unconventional Energy
  • Advanced Materials
  • Bioengineering and Biotechnology

Many CBE faculty working in Energy have strong ties with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Agarwal, Herring, Koh, Kwon, Samaniuk, Wolden), located just 10 minutes from Mines. Much of this collaboration is facilitated through Nexus, a strategic Mines-NREL partnership. The variety of research topics includes solar cells, fuel cells, batteries, electrons to molecules, circular economy for energy materials, and biomass conversion. The department houses the world’s foremost center dedicated to understanding the critical role of hydrates in energy production as well as their potential for energy storage and CO2 sequestration (Koh, Sum, D. Wu).

The second core strength focuses on the design and synthesis of Advanced Materials for a host of applications.  Examples include atomic layer processing and nanoscale thin films (Agarwal, Wolden), biomaterials (Barbari, Chauhan, Krebs, Farnsworth, Pak), catalysts (Gomez-Gualdron, Herring, Kwon), inorganic and polymeric membranes (Gomez-Gualdron, Herring, Way, Wolden), and nanostructures based on self- and directed assembly (Marr, Pak, Samaniuk, N. Wu, D. Wu).  CBE faculty participate and advise graduate students in the interdisciplinary Materials Science program.

The third thrust within the department is Biotechnology.  Strong research programs exists in the areas of biomedical devices (Cash, Krebs, Marr, N. Wu), drug delivery (Chauhan, Krebs), tissue engineering (Farnsworth, Krebs), and metabolic engineering (Boyle). Much of this research is done in collaboration with local medical institutions such as the Children’s Hospital of Colorado and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver. CBE faculty participate and advise graduate students in the interdisciplinary Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering program.

Our graduate student recruiting page provides an excellent overview of the current research occurring in CBE laboratories as well as additional links to individual investigators. Much of the research is organized through internal centers that provide shared facilities and resources for their members. These include the Center for Hydrate Research (CHR), the Colorado Institute for Energy, Materials, and Computational Sciences (CIEMACS), the Colorado Fuel Cell Center (CFCC), and Microintegrated Optics for Advanced Bioimaging and Control (MOABC).