Course Name: Biology for engineers and other non-biologists

Course abstract

It is well known that this is the century of biology in which significant advances in the understanding and application of biological systems are expected. The significant impact on the world is expected in terms of better healthcare, better processes, better products and an overall better quality of life. Thus, any person can be interested in knowing the fundamentals of biology to be able to understand, or participate in the biological revolution. For example, any engineer, irrespective of the parent discipline (mechanical, electrical, civil, chemical, metallurgical, etc.,) has a high probability of using the disciplinary skills toward designing/improving biological systems in the future. This course is designed to convey the essentials of cell and molecular biology to provide a frame-work for more specific understanding, and contribution by any interested person.

Course Instructor

Media Object

Prof. G.K.Suraishkumar

G. K. Suraishkumar is a Professor in the Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM). He has been at IITM as a Professor since May 2004, and was earlier a faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) from April 1993 until mid-May 2004. He was also an Associate Faculty member in the erstwhile Centre for Biotechnology, which is now the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, at IITB, between 1995 and 2004. He earned his Ph.D. from Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA in 1993, and his B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering from IITM in 1986. He also did his Masters work at the University of Cincinnati, USA, between 1986 and 1988.
Administratively, he played pivotal roles in the set-up of the Departments of Biotechnology, as the first formal Department Head, first at IIT Madras and later, at IIT Hyderabad. He was one of the main architects of the first postgraduate programme in Clinical Engineering in India, which is a multi-Institute program, and a first of its kind in India. In addition, he contributed as the Head of the Sophisticated Analytical Instrumentation Facility, Chennai. He continues to contribute on National level faculty selection/advisory/institution level committees in relevant areas.
His major area of research is reactive species – currently, the relevance of them in nanoparticle toxicity, and bio-oil. Earlier, his research group had made significant, original contributions in the area of reactive species applied to improve bioreactor productivities and bio-oil which were financially supported through many sponsored research grants. The research contributions have been better disseminated through publications in reputed international journals– the complete list of publications is available as a link from his Department webpage, He is also the inventor on four patents. Further, the technology developed in his group was successfully applied at Biocon industries, and has been featured in prestigious technology alerts such as the one by Frost and Sullivan. He has guided many Ph.D., and Masters theses.
He is passionate about improving student learning and has published papers in reputed international journals on the methods that he had developed for the same. He is the author of a book, Continuum Analysis of Biological Systems: Conserved Quantities, Fluxes, and Forces, which was published world-wide by Springer Publishing in March 2014. Recently, he created a 10-h MOOC on bioreactors as a NPTEL online certification (NOC) course. Earlier, he created a 40-lecture NPTEL video course on Classical Thermodynamics for Biological Systems, which is available on YouTube® ( and from NPTEL at . He has also created other short videos on biochemical engineering principles. Further, some recognitions of his work by others are listed in his web-page given above.

More info
Media Object

Prof.Madhulika Dixit

Madhulika Dixit is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM). She has been a faculty member in the Department since 2007. Prior to joining IIT Madras, she worked as Senior Scientist in the Institute of Cardiovascular Physiology, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany from 2003-2006. She earned her PhD in Molecular Biology from IIT Bombay in 2001 and her Masters in Life Sciences from University of Mumbai in 1996. She did her post-doctoral training in Cardio-vascular Physiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, USA from 2001-2003.
Her primary research interests are to understand molecular mechanisms governing Cardiovascular Diseases. Her research group employs cell culture, molecular biology and biochemical approaches to understand how settings of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome lead to aberrations in the behavior of vascular cells, particularly endothelial and smooth muscle cells. Additionally her team is involved in identifying plant derived phytochemicals for treatment and management of atherosclerosis. Her teams research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and the complete publication list is available at her departmental website: Dr. Dixit has received honors and awards for her research and teaching contributions. She is the recipient of the Innovative Young Biotechnologist (IYBA) and the ‘Senior IYBA award’ of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. She also received the Young Faculty recognition award for her teaching at IIT Madras.

More info

Teaching Assistant(s)

sonal omer

Msc Biotechnology


Abhiram Charan Tej Mallu



 Course Duration : Aug-Sep 2018

  View Course


 Enrollment : 18-Apr-2018 to 27-Aug-2018