Johnson to Publish New Textbook
Fischell Department of Bioengineering Professor Art Johnson will be publishing a new textbook scheduled to hit bookstores and classrooms in time for the Fall 2008 semester. Titled Biology for Engineers, the book presents a new approach to teaching biology specifically to engineering students interested or majoring in bioengineering, biological engineering, biomedical engineering, and other health-related research.
According to Johnson, the book is the first of its kind, and very necessary in light of the sharp rise in students pursuing degrees and careers in bioengineering and related fields. "It became apparent to me that my students needed more," he explains. "Although they were taking courses in biological sciences, they weren’t able to see clearly the relationships between what they were learning in general biology, microbiology, and cell biology in their freshman and sophomore years, and the biological engineering courses they were taking in their junior and senior years. While I still think it's important for engineering students to be taught biology by biologists, there is the possibility that the subject matter can be disconnected from what they learn in their engineering courses.
"Biology taught to engineers should be principle-based, viewed as a system, and lead to predictive expectations about typical behavioral responses," he says. “Engineers may not be interested primarily in evolution or taxonomy, but should be familiar with typical reactions by biological organisms or groups of organisms to conditions imposed by natural and human activities. This is why the approach to introducing biology to engineers should be different from introducing biology to biologists."
While Biology for Engineers is not yet on the shelves, it has been used in Johnson's classes in draft form for several years, during which time he has received feedback and suggestions from students, and has continued to refine the text. Until the book is published, anyone interested may download the draft text in PDF format from Johnson's web site at http://www.bioe.umd.edu/artjohnson/books/bioforengineers.html.
Biology for Engineers, offered by publisher Taylor & Francis, is Johnson's third book. The second edition of another of his books, Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology, available from CRC Press, was published in 2007.
November 1, 2007