The BSE 4125 and 4126 Comprehensive Design Project is a two-course sequence that serves as the capstone experience for biological system engineering seniors. This capstone project allows students to experience working in a team environment and to apply the knowledge they have gained in their coursework to a "real-world" problem faced by the private sector. This course sequence creates an ideal environment for completing the undergraduate experience.

"Watching students apply what they've learned in the classroom to what they're passionate about and solving real world problems is why I love teaching this course," said Cully Hession, professor of biological systems engineering and instructor of the Comprehensive Design Project course.

Design projects can be developed with industry clients, faculty, or by students and these designs can take place on a local, regional, or international level. Teams have worked with various nonprofit groups, for-profit groups or companies, and government agencies.

High Protein Nutrition Bar Extrusion Team; Drew Brewster, Mian Chen, Sam Garbera, Ella Moore

Team Bar is formulating a protein bar and designing a manufacturing process for creating a product for health-conscious consumers. The bar will be gluten and dairy-free, under 200 calories, and include 20 grams of protein, while maintaining a low price point and meeting the taste preferences of consumers.

Culpeper County Best Management Practices and Stormwater Infrastructure Team; Kelly Ruffner, Chloe Wynns, and Amara Shareef

Culpeper County's waterways have stream impairments with water quality and local flooding concerns, due to fast-paced growth in the area. Flooding can affect public welfare and the growing population and should be managed through infrastructure. Team Green is working with the Friends of the Rappahannock to develop viable and cost-effective green infrastructure and best management practices at the Carver Center site to support the Watershed Implementation Plan. 

Peters Creek Stream Restoration Team; Nikki Borglin, Kai Lawson, Andy Steele, and Brian Wilson

The City of Roanoke has identified a 1,500 linear foot stretch of Peters Creek impaired from upstream residential and commercial development. Proper stream conditions are crucial in providing flood control, protecting ecological health, and improving water quality. Using evaluation techniques, such as the Rosgen stream classification system and nutrient reduction calculations, this team will develop conceptual design plans, cost estimates, and a design narrative for the restoration of Peters Creek through the completion of a Virginia DEQ Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (SLAF) application.

Raspberry Pi LED Fluorescence Microscope Team; Alyssa Scott, Kari Cochran, Kait Hosmer, Gino Chiotti

Tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis has been in and around human populations for over 70,000 years, and it is estimated to currently be infecting over 2 billion people. Raspberry Pi Assisted Tuberculosis Detecting LED Microscopes are needed to improve the accuracy of tests performed in low- and middle-income countries, but these microscopes require a lot of training and are high in cost. To meet WHOs Sustainable Development Goals, this senior design team will design new aspects and improvements to the current LED microscope to make it suitable for consistent tuberculosis detection and easier to operate with than current LED microscopes on the market. 

Hellbender Project-Little Stony Creek Team; Sophie Bosse, Tyler Leeser, and Michael Snead

Currently, there is a decline in hellbender populations in Little Stony Creek in Pembroke, Virginia. This decline could lead to negative environmental health impacts on other aquatic species in the region. To protect the current population and promote the success of future hellbenders, this team will design and incorporate habitat structures into existing Little Stony Creek stream restoration plans.

MOPP System for Heart Transplantation Team; Maggie Avellar, Anna Christovich, Gabi Dugan, Reilly Hatfield, Jack Longo, Dylan Pearson, Gina Rienzo, Kendall Staunton

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in America and the most common treatment option is transplantation. A significant limitation in current organ preservation techniques is their lack of ability to retain organ viability and the subsequent organ damage they can cause. To combat this limitation, Team Hokie Heart is designing a Machine Organ Perfusion Preservation (MOPP) System for heart transplantations that properly and efficiently sustains the heart during layover time between procurement, transportation, and delivery.

Minimal Footprint Urban Hydroponic Gardening Team; John Genter, Lydia Kidwell, Loiuse Koepele

Some Roanoke City residents lack access to healthy foods, particularly fresh produce and Carilion Clinic is seeking a way to meet the needs of these residents. Team Hydro will work to create a hydroponic garden to increase the resiliency of the local food system development and encourage healthy behaviors.

Bioprocess Plant Design for Protein Extraction from Microalgae Team; Dylan Foster, Ryan Bagalkotkar, Risa Dickerman, Matthew Duff, Juliana Michniak, Danese Mozley, Madison Petraglia, and Jack Whallon

Conventional oil extraction from microalgae typically results in low value yield waste streams and industrial applications require a specific protein value within its algal waste stream for extraction to remain profitable. This senior design team will develop a downstream bioprocess, with scale up capabilities, for DSM, a global company in health, nutrition, and bioscience, to extract high value proteins from a micro-algal waste steam to increase process profitability by May 2022.

Hellbender Project-Toms Creek Team; Rachel Lake, Nathaniel Abrahams, Sarah Loomis, Diana Schmidt, Jacob Bellinger

The Eastern hellbender, an aquatic giant salamander, is an important indicator of stream ecosystem health in the eastern United States and this species has recently been identified in the Tom’s Creek watershed in Montgomery County, Virginia. A section of Tom’s Creek on the Shorter Farm property is experiencing bank erosion, over-widened channels, and riparian buffer loss, all of which decrease hellbender habitat quality. This team will redesign two stream crossings on the affected area to limit bank erosion and downstream sedimentation, which will subsequently improve the Eastern hellbender habitat. 

Written by Cameron Warren