What is Computational Bioengineering?

Computational Bioengineering combines principles of engineering, biology, and medicine to improve human health using computational approaches. These approaches are applied from atomic resolution up to an entire organ or system of organs, including the following examples that draw from on ongoing research in the department: 

  • at atomic resolution, cellular building blocks (e.g., proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, sugars) are simulated to understand their function in healthy cells, and how genetic mutations cause disease, and that can ultimately lead to the design of new therapeutics.
  • at the resolution of cells and tissues, computational bioengineers simulate response to injury to understand and facilitate wound healing and design implants.
  • at the resolution of organs and organ systems, imaging methods (e.g., CT, MRI) are used to understand the biomechanics and model organs (e.g., lung, heart, brain, etc.).
  • across multiple resolutions and time scales, “multi-omics” analysis of large data sets generated from nucleic acid sequencing (DNA and RNA), metabolomics, and etc., are used to help understand the genetic basis of disease mechanisms and design precision treatments.

Given the scope and complexity involved in probing biology across resolutions, this area builds on fundamental disciplines (e.g., mathematics, physics, chemistry, statistics, computer science, engineering) to model, analyze, and understand biological data. This understanding forms the basis for translational biomedical applications that improve human health. Students in Computational Bioengineering will pursue careers in a broad range of fields including:   biomedical software engineering, biomolecular engineering, biotechnology, cell-based therapy development, gene therapies, genetic engineering, computational drug design and/or modeling, medical technologies, biological devices and/or embedded systems, biological sensors, systems and network biology, bioinformatics, computational biology, machine learning, or health informatics.

Computational Bioengineering Academic Advisors

Biomedical Engineering - Program Map: Computational Bioengineering Focus Area

Semester 1 Chem Ⅰ & Lab CHEM:1110  Engr Math Ⅰ MATH:1550   Intro Engr Prob Solving ENGR:1100 Rhetoric RHET:1030 Engr Success First Year ENGR:1000
Semester 2 Chem Ⅱ & Lab Chem:1120 Engr Math Ⅱ MATH:1560 Engr Math Ⅲ MATH:2550 Intro Engr Computing ENGR:1300 Physics Ⅰ / Lab PHYS:1611 BME Forum BME:1010
Semester 3 Foundations of Biology BIOL:1411 Engr Math Ⅳ MATH:2560 Statics ENGR:2110 Elec Circuits ENGR:2120 Thermodynamics ENGR:2130 or *Intro AI & Mach Learning ENGR:2995* BME Prof Seminar BME:2010
Semester 4 HHP:3500 Human Physiology OR BME:2260 Quantitative Physiology Systems, Instrum, & Data Acquisition / Lab BME:2200 Biomaging & Bioinformatics / Lab BME:2210 Comp in Engr ENGR:2730 Biostatistics BIOS:4120 or STAT:3510  
Semester 5 Cell Biology for Engr / Lab BME:2400 Intro to Software Design ECE:3330 Computational Biochemistry BME:4310 Focus Area Elective #1 Diversity & Inclusion  
Semester 6 Computational Bioinformatics BME:5335 Focus Area Elective #2 Focus Area Elective #3 Be Creative Approved GEC Course  
Semester 7 BME Senior Design Ⅰ BME:4910 Biomaterials & Biomechanics / Lab BME:2500 Focus Area Elective #4 Focus Area Elective #5 Approved GEC Course  
Semester 8 BME Senior Design Ⅱ BME:4920 Focus Area Elective #6 Focus Area Elective #7 Physics Ⅱ / Lab PHYS:1612 Approved GEC Course  


*If ENGR:2995 is not offered in Fall, it can be taken the following Spring. Students who want to take ENGR:2995 and not ENGR:2130 can take ENGR:2730 Computers in Engr in Semester 3 and ENGR:2995 in Semester 4.

ENGR:2730 Computers in Engineering F/S P: ENGR:1300
ECE:3330 Intro to Software Design F/S P: ENGR:2730
BME:4310 Computational Biochemistry F P: MATH:1560 or MATH:1860, CHEM:1120
BME:5335 Computational Bioinformatics S P: (ENGR:1300 or CS:5110), (BIOS:4120 or STAT:3510)


Engineering Topics (must choose two)    
ECE:5450 Machine Learning F P: ECE:2400 or BME:2200
ECE:5330 Graph Algorithms & Combinatorial Optimization S P: ECE:3330
ECE:5820 Software Engineering Languages & Tools F P: CS:2820 or ECE:3330
*ENGR:2130 Thermodynamics All P: PHYS:1611, CHEM:1110; C: MATH:1560
*ENGR:2995 Intro to AI and Machine Learning S P: ENGR:1300 and sophomore standing; C: MATH:2550
Suggested Electives    
ANTH:2320 Origins of Human Infectious Disease F  
BIOL:2512 Fundamental Genetics All P: BIOL:1411, BIOL:1412 or PSY:2701, CHEM:1110; Recommended: CHEM:2210
BIOL:3314 Genomics S P: BIOL:2211 or BIOL:2512 or BIOL:2723
BIO:4213 Bioinformatics F P: BIOL:2512 or BMB:3120 or MICR:3170 or BMB:3110
BME:5435 Systems Biology for BME S P: BME:2400, BME:2200
CHEM:5431 Statistical Thermodynamics Ⅰ S § Recommended: CHEM:4431
CHEM:5436 Electronic Structure & Informatics Chem. See MyUI Recommended: CHEM:4432
CS:3330 Algorithms All P: CS:2210 and CS:2230 (min C-), MATH:1850 or MATH:1550 or MATH:1860 or MATH:1560
CS:5350 Design and Analysis of Algorithms See MyUI P: CS:3330 or CS:5340
ECE:5800 Fundamentals of Software Engineering F/S P: CS:2820 or ECE:3330
ECE:5995:0001 Cont. Topics in ECE:Applied Machine Learning S P: ECE:2400 or BME:2200
BME:5441 Numerical & Statistical Methods for Bioengineers F § P: MATH:2560 and MATH:2550
**BIOL:1412 Diversity of Form & Function All P: BIOL:1411 w/min C-
CHEM:2210 Organic Chemistry Ⅰ All P: CHEM:1120 w/min C-
CHEM:2220 Organic Chemistry Ⅱ All P: CHEM:2210 w/min C-
CHEM:2410 Organic Chemistry Lab All P: CHEM:1120 & CHEM:2210 w/min C-; C: CHEM:2220 
BMB:3110 Biochemistry All See MyUI for requirements
BIOL:2512 Fundamental Genetics All P: BIOL:1411, BIOL:1412 or PSY:2701, CHEM:1110; Recommended: CHEM:2210


*Computational Bioengineering students can take ENGR:2130 as an Engineering Topic if they have taken ENGR:2995 as an Engineering Core (and vice versa)
**Pre-medicine students should check with their Pre-medicine advisor regarding the need for this course.
§ Offered in academic years with odd fall and even spring semesters
§§ Offered in academic years with even fall and odd spring semesters

Note:  In addition to the four required focus area courses, an additional seven elective courses (21 s.h.) are also required (suggested electives list, minor, or certificate courses).  At least two of these electives (6 s.h.) must be from the list of Engineering Topics.  Electives not listed above may be approved via the Plan of Study form.

Please consult this guide when selecting electives that have machine learning content.

Check MyUI for the current course offerings and pre-/co-requisites.

Check the Computational Bioengineering Curriculum Map and Sample Four-Year Plan links at the top of this page for more details.

Link to previous Computational Bioengineering Focus Area Curriculum Map

Updated 10/16/23