Associate Professor Justinus Satrio works with a student in a lab.

Updated 1/25/2024

In the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, exciting opportunities exist for students and faculty at all levels to address some of the Earth's greatest challenges. We consider it our mission as engineers to serve the common good, encompassing humanity and the natural world.



Biological Engineering encompasses traditional biochemical engineering (design of bio-based unit operations) and chemical engineering approaches to biomedical designs, such as protein engineering, systems biology, and cellular engineering. At Villanova, its applications include drug discovery and development, biomaterials and drug delivery, pharmaceutical processes, and biological and environmental systems.

Affiliated Faculty: Dr. Laura Bracaglia, Dr. Noelle Comolli, Dr. Jacob Elmer, Dr. Zuyi “Jacky” Huang, Dr. William Kelly

Grounded in socially responsible engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering faculty focus their environmental and sustainability research on wastewater and hazardous waste treatment, alternative energies and biomass resources and conversion.

Affiliated Faculty: Dr. Vito Punzi, Dr. Dorothy Skaf

Research is conducted in the use of nanomaterials as catalysts and adsorbents to engineer improved inorganic materials for energy storage and transformation.

Affiliated Faculty: Dr. Charles Coe, Dr. Weijian Diao, Dr. Chris Kitchens, Dr. Michael Smith





NovaCell, the Center for Cellular Engineering, is leading efforts to improve cell and gene therapy products, and the bioprocesses used to make them.





Chemical and Biological Engineering research funding comes from:  

Air Products


National Institutes of Health

National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals

National Science Foundation


Extracting Value from the Air

Extracting Value from the Air

Though less prevalent than oxygen and nitrogen, argon—air’s third most abundant component—plays an important role in industry, including the production of silicon wafers. Recovering argon from air is an expensive process, and for the past five years, with a sponsored research grant from Air Products and Chemicals, Villanova’s Dr. Charles Coe has investigated new, cost-effective means for achieving this separation. His team’s findings have led to two U.S. patents and related publications.

Dr. Jake Elmer

New State-of-the-Art Instrumentation to Support Professor’s Research

A new liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometer, used to identify and characterize small quantities of chemical species in complex samples, will support the work of Associate Professor Dr. Jacob Elmer. The instrumentation can be used for elucidating host cell response to gene therapy and improving transgene expression by inhibiting or circumventing host cell defenses. In addition, it benefits the development of earthworm hemoglobin as a possible blood substitute.

Dr. Jacky Huang

Villanova Engineering Professor Identifies Chemical Compounds to Inhibit COVID-19 Related Enzyme

Chemical and Biological Engineering Associate Professor Dr. Zuyi “Jacky” Huang and his team developed a computational platform that has accelerated the discovery of chemical compound inhibitors against 3CLPro, a protease that is essential for the replication of COVID-19. These inhibitors may provide a quick solution to cure people infected with new virus strains.