Dorothy Skaf, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, works with a student in the lab.

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering is a dynamic community of undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.

Our professors excel in both the classroom and the laboratory, with many possessing decades of experience in traditional chemical engineering industries such as fuels, alternative energy, bulk chemicals and polymers. Other faculty are leading the way in the rapidly growing fields of biotechnology, biomedical engineering, cell therapy, bio-inspired materials, pharmaceuticals and more.

Regardless of your area of interest, at Villanova, you will be taught to creatively solve relevant technical problems with solutions that respond to economic constraints as well as social, ethical, environmental and safety implications.

At a Glance

  • 15 Full-time faculty members
  • 224 Chemical Engineering undergraduates (50% female)
  • 29 Master's students (Chemical)
  • 30 Master's students (Biochemical)
  • 15 PhD students

The size of our department allows for a variety of hands-on research opportunities and the ability for focused faculty mentorship.



The department is associated with the College of Engineering’s research center:

NovaCell, the Center for Cellular Engineering

NovaCell’s mission is to lead efforts to improve cell and gene therapy products, and the bioprocesses used to make them.


Students at all levels are encouraged to pursue research opportunities with Chemical and Biological Engineering faculty in the areas of:

  • Biopharmaceutical processing
  • Biomaterials for drug delivery
  • Cell and gene therapy
  • Computational chemistry models to improve catalyst design
  • Decontamination of wastewater
  • Systems biology approaches to understanding antibiotic resistance
  • Utilizing biomass for energy and bio-sourced materials
  • Zeolite and catalyst design for increased process efficiency



Chemical Engineering Senior Completes Grand Challenges Scholars Program

Chemical Engineering Senior Completes Grand Challenges Scholars Program

The National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars Program is an engineering education supplement that broadens the reach of undergraduate study. The 2021 class of scholars included Simon Brooks, Bridget LaSala, Siobhan Merrill and Aldo Pierini.

Jessica McKean ’21

Eleven Villanovans Win Prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Grants for 2021-22

Among the University’s winners was Chemical Engineering graduate Jessica McKean ’21. Jessica’s undergraduate research in the field of cellular and genetic engineering led to an interest in an interdisciplinary opportunity within the fields of biology, material science, civil engineering and architecture. She will spend her Fulbright year at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, where she will research the potential of genetically engineering bacteria to improve a sustainable bio-cement technology.

Research suggests that moringa oleifera seeds have potential for the removal of copper from water.

Students Investigate the Use of Natural Materials to Treat Drinking Water Sources

A highlight of Villanova’s Chemical and Biological Engineering program is the department’s two-semester Senior Project Studio through which undergraduates can participate in an industry-sponsored or faculty-advised design or research project. This year, three teams are working with professors Dorothy Skaf and Vito Punzi to explore the use of natural materials to treat water for colloidal suspended solids removal.