Excellence in engineering education and research in IITs has been recognized internationally. However, entry of biology in technical institutes such as IITs in India happened almost after 40 years. IIT Kanpur has produced several eminent biologists throughout its existence. However, the need for a formal biology department was stressed in a "Report of Committee of Mega Projects" submitted in the year 2000. BSBE HistoryIt was a happy coincidence that Mr. Arun Shourie, then Rajya Sabha M.P. from Uttar Pradesh, pledged Rs. 11.9 crores from his MPLADS funds to establish a full-fledged Biological Sciences & Bioengineering (BSBE) Department at IIT Kanpur. BSBE department was formally established on 13th September 2001.


The department has been established with the vision to provide quality teaching and research training in basic biology, biomedical and bioengineering fields. Its aim is to produce quality professionals in modern biology and allied fields who will engage in addressing country's challenges by advancing the discovery in biology and applying the knowledge that can help to increase the quality of life of the citizens. The department currently offers three academic programs; B. Tech, M. Tech and PhD in biological sciences & bioengineering. The department is currently housed in a three storied building, with 16 research labs, and 3 teaching labs, besides the office space. From the initial strength of 4 faculty members in 2002, today the BSBE department has grown with 13 faculty members and about 100 post-graduate (75 PhD and 25 M. Tech) and 145 under-graduate students. The faculty members are engaged in doing multi-disciplinary research in cutting-edge problems. Ongoing research projects are spread in broadly three major domains that include (a) molecular, cellular and developmental biology, (b) structural and computational biology and (c) bioengineering. Projects investigating the mechanism of diseases such as several types of cancer, epilepsy, neurodegenerative disorders and osteoarthritis are currently under progress. The researchers have attracted funding from major national and international agencies including the Wellcome-DBT India Alliance, Indo-UK Science bridge program, DBT, DST, CSIR, DAE, ICMR and DRDO.


The department has graduated close to 40 PhD students and most of them are currently working as post-doctoral fellows in Europe and USA. Some of them have already taken up independent faculty positions in reputed institutes and universities in the country or working in pharmaceutical companies. Within the next five years, many of our PhD students are likely to return to the country to take up positions in academia and industry. Nearly 100 M. Tech students have graduated from the BSBE Department. Beginning 2008, the department has graduated over 175 B. Tech students. Many of them continued their academic interest in biology by joining in PhD programs within India and aboard, while many others are working in biopharma companies, besides the IT, banking and finance sectors.