Biochemical & Pharmaceutical Engineering

Subject BIEN90004 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours of lectures + 8 hours of tutorials + 12 hours of practicals + 6 hours of industrial site tours
Total Time Commitment:

Estimated 200 hours


Entry to MC-ENG Master of Engineering (Chemical) or (Biochemical)


Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:


Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering applications for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005) and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Objectives, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry. It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit


Assoc Prof Sally Gras


Assoc Prof Sally Gras


Subject Overview:


This subject aims to build on the principles introduced in CHEN90031 Bioprocess Engineering to provide a more advanced understanding of biochemical production processes with a focus on pharmaceutical production. Students will learn about pharmaceutical and biochemical production processes in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.


Pharmaceutical products will include opiates, blood plasma products, vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and other medicines. Unit operations will include the growth of animal, plant and fungal cells, cell disruption and methods for product purification, such as chromatography. Case studies will include the production of recombinant proteins and amino acids and the genetic techniques required to make these products. The sustainable production of other biochemicals will also be discussed, including biofuels and the growth of algae. Students will learn how cellular processes can be used by chemical engineers to improve process efficiencies, clean up our environment and reduce chemical waste. Regulation, Good Manufacturing Practice and Validation processes will be introduced, along with the design of laboratories, pilot plants and manufacturing facilities and associated utilities and services. Students will also be introduced to relevant analytical techniques used to track production and purity and will become familiar with the research literature in this field.

Learning Outcomes:


On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Describe typical production processes for common pharmaceuticals
  2. Discuss the role of chemical engineering in pharmaceutical development, the regulatory standards that apply to such products and the business drivers for product development
  3. Apply systems approaches to describe how changes to a cell can be used to make new biochemical products
  4. Describe the processes in research, development and practice that may increase the sustainability of biochemical and other production processes
  5. Describe a range of biochemical products and develop create strategies to produce and purify these products
  6. Discuss the synergies between biochemistry and chemical engineering.
  • Three assignments not exceeding 2000 words, due around week 4, 6 and 8 of the semester (30%). Total time commitment of approximately 35 -40 hours
  • One 3 hour written end of semester examination (70%).

All Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) addressed in both assignments and exam.

Hurdle requirement: A mark of 40% or more in the end of semester examination is required to pass the subject.

Prescribed Texts:


Recommended Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • In-depth technical competence in at least one engineering discipline
  • Ability to function effectively as an individual and in teams
  • Capacity for independent critical thought, rational enquiry and self-directed learning
  • Ability to communicate effectively, not only with engineers but also with the community at large.


The subject will be delivered through a combination of lectures, self managed assignments, and self managed work on tutorial questions supported by tutorial classes.


These will be provided through the subject LMS site.


Biochemical engineers explore the development of large scale processes that use microbial, plant or animal cells. Career opportunities exist in bioprocessing industries such as food, beverage and pharmaceutical production, the petrochemical, minerals and energy industries and in new fields made possible by the advances of biotechnology. Graduates may also work in environmental fields.

Related Course(s): Doctor of Philosophy - Engineering
Master of Philosophy - Engineering
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: B-ENG Chemical Engineering stream
B-ENG Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering stream
Master of Engineering (Biochemical)
Master of Engineering (Chemical)

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