The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE) at Iowa State University is an academia of faculty, staff and students immersed in nationally and internationally recognized chemical and biological research. It was formed in 1913 as one of the first chemical engineering departments in the country.
Orland Russell Sweeney, Department Head of chemical engineering at Iowa State from 1920-1947, said “Chemical engineers can solve all the world’s problems.”
The challenging field of chemical engineering combines the disciplines of chemistry, physics and math and is a growing area that encompasses a wide variety of specialties such as petrochemicals and gas, agricultural products, biomedicine, pharmaceuticals, and foods and beverages. Some college students use a chemical engineering major as a springboard to medical school.
- The department holds more than 47,000 square feet of modern laboratory and office space where 28 faculty teach and work in both traditional and emerging areas of chemical engineering.
- Undergraduate enrollment has increased more than 50 percent since 2008. For the Fall 2016 semester, 807 undergraduates were in attendance.
- CBE boasts the largest female undergraduate enrollment in the College of Engineering, and one of the largest number of chemical engineering female faculty members in the nation.
- Chemical engineering graduates from Iowa State earn some of the highest salaries among all ISU engineering grads.
The CBE Department spends about $12 million in research per year in areas like biocatalyst and separation engineering, reaction engineering and catalysis, crystallization, transport phenomena and thermodynamics. Through the CBE department, Iowa State University is nationally recognized for its initiatives in bioinformatics, biomaterials, bioproducts, metabolic/tissue engineering, multiphase computational fluid dynamics, advanced polymeric materials and nanostructured materials.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the CBE Department six NSF Young Investigator Awards. And, about 70 Iowa State CBE alumni hold faculty positions in chemical engineering or related fields nationally or internationally.
View a PowerPoint overview of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering here.
Chemical and Biological Engineering department governance document