Bill Bentley Receives Amgen Biochemical and Molecular Engineering Award

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William E. Bentley, director of the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices and the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), was recently awarded the Amgen Biochemical and Molecular Engineering Award.

Supported by Amgen Inc., a leading biotechnology company, this prestigious award is given in memory of James E. Bailey to recognize research excellence and leadership in biochemical and molecular engineering.

The award includes $5,000 cash and a commemorative plaque, which will be presented at the Biochemical and Molecular Engineering XXIII: Accelerating Biotech Solutions to Aid a Changing World conference in Dublin, Ireland, July 21–25, 2024.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by the Amgen Award in the name of one of the truly inspirational leaders of modern biochemical and molecular engineering, James Bailey, who passed away in 2001 after battling cancer,” said Bentley. “The Amgen Award is bestowed upon an influential leader in the field only every other year, and it is a privilege to be on its list.” 

The conference brings together researchers from across engineering disciplines and the natural sciences to discuss recent progress in the fields of biochemical and molecular engineering. Attendees will network with experts across various specialties and brainstorm new approaches to address global challenges facing biotechnology and society.

Bentley joined the University of Maryland in 1989 in a joint position between the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute’s Center for Biosystems Research and the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

He has held administrative positions continuously throughout his career at the university. From 1994-2002, Bentley was director of the Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility, which featured upstream pilot-scale systems (up to 350L bioreactors) and facilitated many interactions with the state's  biotechnology industry. He started the interdisciplinary graduate program in bioengineering in 2002 and was the founding chair of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering in 2006.

Throughout his 30-plus years as a leading researcher, he has pioneered the development of molecular biological tools for enhancing recombinant protein expression, for understanding and manipulating cell physiology, especially in biomanufacturing environments, and for engineering bacterial cell-cell communication (quorum sensing) systems. More recently, he has focused on the interface between electronics and biology and has created electrogenetics to actuate genetic circuits using electronic means.

Bentley has mentored 50 Ph.D students, authored over 400 papers and patents, and has received awards from the American Institute for Chemical Engineers (Food, Pharmaceutical, and Bioengineering Division Award), the American Chemical Society (BIOT Marvin Johnson Award & D.I.C. Wang Award, joint w/AIChE), the Society for Industrial Microbiology (Charles Thom Award), the Department of Defense, and the Washington Academy of Sciences. He was also named a Distinguished University Professor and received the University System Regents Award for Outstanding Research and Scholarly Activity.

Published June 6, 2024