Mechanical engineers want to know what makes things work. Whether you're talking about automobiles, artificial hearts, industrial turbines or machinery manufacturing, mechanical engineers are involved with the design and continual refinement of them all. UC Davis offers mechanical engineering majors a nearly unparalleled variety of opportunities for hands-on projects that will satisfy your curiosity and drive to create as they help reinforce the fundamental engineering principles you've studied in lecture classes.
Biomedical engineering is an interdisciplinary field of study that integrates knowledge of engineering principles with the biomedical sciences. It is a very diverse field, with biomedical engineers working in areas ranging from medical imaging to regenerative medicine. Some major contributions of biomedical engineering include the left ventricular assist device (LVAD), artificial joints, hemodialysis, bioengineered skin, coronary stents, computed tomography (CT) and flexible endoscopes.
As biological sciences and biotechnology become ever more important sectors of our economy, engineers will be needed to work side by side with life scientists to bring laboratory developments into commercial production. Such industries as plant and animal production, tissue culture, biotechnology, food processing, aquaculture and forest production will all need engineers with strong backgrounds in biology.
Biochemical engineers apply the principles of biology, chemistry, and engineering to produce useful products such as biopharmaceuticals, biofuels, biopolymers and industrial enzymes. Biochemical engineering includes cell culture processes and separation processes for biopharmaceutical production, food processing, biofuels and biological waste treatment. As a biochemical engineering major at UC Davis, you'll learn to grow cells in bioreactors and to separate their products from solutions using the most up-to-date processes and equipment available.
A sea urchin, a gecko, a horse and a human are very different creatures at first glance. Yet each relies on a few basic functions for survival—including growth, reproduction and response to stimuli—that are common to all animals. Students who major in neurobiology, physiology and behavior study these vital processes: their functional mechanisms; the control, regulation and integration of these mechanisms; and the behavior relating to these mechanisms.
The trillions of tiny organisms dwelling around us and within us, far too small to be visible to the naked eye, affect our lives in profound ways. Some are vital to the functioning of our bodies or to aspects of our economy such as food production; others cause destructive diseases in humans or in species of special importance to humans. Microbiologists study the structure, function and environmental importance of bacteria, yeasts and other fungi, algae, protozoa and viruses.
Geneticists seek to answer fundamental questions about how organisms inherit characteristics and transmit them to their offspring. Concepts of heredity and evolution are important in many areas of modern science and industry, including biotechnology, medicine and agriculture. As a genetics major, you'll have the opportunity to participate in research projects with faculty members and develop your own interests in preparation for a science career or graduate study.
Cells—the basic unit of organization of all life—carry out the fundamental processes necessary for organisms to grow, reproduce and negotiate their environments. Cell biologists study these processes and the principles that govern the organization and function of cells within the body. Cell biology integrates principles from many disciplines, including chemistry, physics, genetics, biochemistry and physiology, for a more complete understanding of cell function.
A single nerve cell, transmitting electrical impulses in a continuous chain of stimulus and response. A wind-polished cypress tree, its roots digging deeper into the soil with every passing season. A patient receiving chemotherapy to help target and destroy the cancer invading her body. Each of these situations, and every function of every living being, is within the scope of interest of a major in biological sciences.
At its most fundamental level, the study of life is the study of chemical processes. A major in biochemistry and molecular biology trains you in the experimental techniques used to probe the structures and functions of biologically important molecules. The strong laboratory and research focus of this major prepares you for graduate study or to enter careers in high-growth areas such as biotechnology and health care research.