Introduction to Emerging Technologies

This course will examine emerging technologies with emphasis on biomedicine and biotechnology: stem cells in regenerative medicine, quantum computing, water purification, new batteries, and others. The first part will present the basic science underlying the emerging technology; the second part will discuss the hurdles that must be addressed to successfully to convert a good scientific concept into a commercial product that addresses needs in the market place.
Course capacity is 20.


  • Characteristics of emerging technologies. Why some exciting scientific advances do not make successful technologies.
  • Necessities for technological innovation: Manufacturability, patents, regulations, industry standards and specificiations.
  • Case study on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
  • Case Study on biomedical nanoparticles for cancer, heart disease and vaccines.
  • Case Study of synthetic biology for pharma, fuels and materials.



Matthew Tirrell, Dean and Founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering

Matthew Tirrell is the founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering (IME) and a Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. Prior to coming to UChicago in 2011, Professor Tirrell served as the Chair for the Department of Bioengineering at UC Berkeley, the Dean of Engineering at UC Santa Barbara, and Head of the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at University of Minnesota. Tirrell is a pioneering researcher in the fields of biomolecular engineering and nanotechnology, specializing in the manipulation of polymer surface properties, including adsorption, adhesion, surface treatment, friction, lubrication, biocompatibility and self-assembly. During his career, Tirrell has co-authored approximately 300 papers and one book, and supervised approximately 80 Ph.D. students and 40 postdocs.

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