The Athan J. Sterges
Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science
Learning and Innovation Hub

Bird's eye view

"We are creating a new state-of-the-art teaching laboratory designed to emphasize hands-on learning of engineering principles."

New teaching modules will employ sensors and wireless technology to bring real-time field data to the laboratory allowing students to observe, acquire, model and control real world systems.

Corner view

A visually-inviting learning environment for current and prospective undergraduate students:

  • State-of-art technology to reinforce engineering principles applied to biological systems
  • The teaching modules will employ sensors and wireless technology to bring into the laboratory real-time field data and observations to allow students to model response and design control systems.
  • Physical displays demonstrating engineering principles provide both current and future students insight to the engineering process.
  • Recent student and faculty designs and intellectual property will also be displayed

Teacher's view

Teacher's view

Hands-on educational learning units, including portable modules such as:

  • Growth chambers and cells for bioprocess engineering (metabolism and bioenergetics, enzyme reaction kinetics, cell growth kinetics and product formation)
  • Newtonian and Non-Newtonian fluid flow principles
  • Thermal conductivity, convection, radiation prototype
  • Material properties of biologically-sourced materials
  • Mechanical/hydraulic devices for transmitting energy
  • Instrumentation systems wireless sensor networks, IP interfacing, signal conditioning

Teacher's view

"The Learning and Innovation Hub not only functions as an active laboratory, but due to the prominent location, will become the signature focal point for our department at the entrance of the BESS Laboratory Building."


Current floor plan

Current floor plan

Current floor plan

Proposed floor plan with increased lab space
and redesigned foyer/entry way

Current entrance

Current lab entrance, room 166


Proposed glass partition allows display of modules
and serves as building entrance focal point

A development campaign is underway to raise funds for the following:

  • Upgrades of the lab space and reconfiguration of entry foyer
  • Development of the teaching modules demonstrating engineering fundamentals
  • Graduate Teaching Assistantships to support the enhanced hands-on teaching activities and the long term maintenance of the facility.

Space renovation and infrastructure implementation are in the range of $300k. Technology upgrades will be requested from existing university programs.

Enrollment in the Biosystems Engineering program is steadily growing, and the tools need to teach the next generation of engineers is changing. We have outgrown our current teaching laboratory and a new large space has been granted.


Want to Help?
Please contact:

Eric C. Drumm
Professor and Head
Biosystems Engineering & Soil Science
(865) 974-7266

Thomas K. Looney
UTIA Advancement
110 Morgan Hall
2621 Morgan Circle
Knoxville, TN 37996-4502
(865) 974-8622 Cell: (865) 607-2590