Kristi S. Anseth

Kristi Anseth
Distinguished Professor • Tisone Professor • Associate Professor of Surgery • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

Office: JSCBB A315


BS, Purdue University (1992)
PhD, University of Colorado (1994)


  • Elected to the National Academy of Inventors (2016)
  • American Chemical Society, Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (2015)
  • Bonfils Stanton Foundation Science and Medicine Prize (2015)
  • Food, Pharmaceutical & Bioengineering Division Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2014)
  • Elected to the National Academy of Sciences (2013)
  • Hazel Barnes Award, University of Colorado (2013)
  • Mid-Career Research Award, Materials Research Society (2012)
  • Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, Purdue University (2012)
  • Distinguished Research Lecturer, University of Colorado (2011)
  • Elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (2009)
  • Professional Progress Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2009)
  • Elected to the National Academy of Engineering (2009)
  • Named as one of the ‘Brilliant 10’ Scientists,Popular Science (2008)
  • Named one of the “One Hundred Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era”, AIChE (2008)
  • Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, Research and Teaching, University of Colorado (2008)
  • Clemson Award for Basic Research, Society for Biomaterials (2008)
  • Alan T. Waterman Award, National Science Foundation (2004)
  • Allan P. Colburn Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2003)
  • Curtis W. McGraw Award, American Society for Engineering Education (2003)
  • David and Lucile Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering (1997)

Selected Publications

  • K.M. Mabry, S. Payne and K.S. Anseth, "Microarray analyses to quantify advantages of 2D and 3D hydrogel culture systems in maintaining the native valvular interstitial cell phenotype,” Biomaterials, 74, 31-41 (2016).
  • K.A. Kyburz and K.S. Anseth, “Synthetic mimics of the extracellular matrix: How simple is complex enough?” Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 43, 489-500 (2015). 
  • J.L. Leight, E.Y Tokuda, C.E. Jones, A.J. Lin and K.S. Anseth, “Multifunctional bioscaffolds for 3D culture of melanoma cells reveal increased MMP activity and migration with BRAF kinase inhibition,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112, 5366-71 (2015). 
  • K.S. Schultz, K.A. Kyburz and K.S. Anseth, “Measuring dynamic cell materials interactions and remodeling during 3D hMSC migration in hydrogels,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112, E3757-64 (July 21, 2015) 
  • S.P. Singh, M.P. Schwartz, E.Y. Tokuda, Y. Luo, R.E. Rodgers, M. Fujita, N.G. Ahn and K.S. Anseth, “A synthetic modular approach for modeling the role of the 3D microenvironment in tumor progression,” Science Reports, 5 Article Number ARTN 17814 7 Dec 2015.
  • J.C. Grim, I.A. Marozas, and K.S. Anseth, “Thiol-ene and photo-cleavage chemistry for controlled presentation of biomolecules in hydrogels,” Journal of Controlled Release, 219, 95-106 (2015). 
  • S. Wang, L.A. Leinwand and K.S. Anseth, “The cells and their matrix microenvironment in cardiac valves,” Nature Reviews Cardiology, 11, 715-27 (2014).
  • C. Yang, M.W. Tibbitt, L. Basta and K.S. Anseth,“Mechanical memory and dosing influence stemcell fate,” Nature Materials, 13, 645-652 (2014).
  • D.D. McKinnon, D.W. Domaille, J.N. Cha and K.S. Anseth, “Covalently adaptable networks as biophysical ECM mimics for cell culture,” Advanced Materials, 26, 865-72 (2014). 
  • M.A. Azagarsamy and K.S. Anseth, “Wavelength controlled photo-cleavage of multiple proteins for orthogonal and sequential release,” Angewandte Chemie, 52, 13803-807 (2013).    
  • H. Wang, M.W. Tibbitt, S.J. Langer, L.A. Leinwand and K.S. Anseth,” Hydrogels preserve native phenotypes of valvular fibroblasts through an elasticity-regulated PI3K/AKT pathway,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, 19336-341 (2013).
  • M.W. Tibbitt and K.S. Anseth, “Dynamic environments: The fourth dimension,” Science Translational Medicine, 4, 160ps24 (2012).
  • C.A. DeForest and K.S. Anseth, “Photoreversible patterning of biomolecules within click-based hydrogels,” Angewandte Chemie, 51, 1816-19 (2012). 
  • C.A. DeForest and K.S. Anseth, “Cytocompatible click-based hydrogels with dynamically-tunable properties through orthogonal photoconjugation and photocleavage reactions,” Nature Chemistry, 3, 925-31 (2011).   
  • C. Lin and K.S. Anseth, “Cell-cell communication mimicry with PEG hydrogels for enhancing b-cell function,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108, 6380-85 (2011).
  • A.M. Kloxin, M.W. Tibbitt and K.S. Anseth, “Synthesis of photodegradable hydrogels as dynamically tunable materials for 2D and 3D cell culture,” Nature Protocols, 5, 1-21 (2010).
  • B.D. Fairbanks, M.P. Schwartz, A.E. Halevi, C.R. Nuttelman, C.N. Bowman and K.S. Anseth, “A versatile synthetic extracellular matrix mimic through thiol-ene photopolymerization,” Advanced Materials, 21, 5005-10 (2009).   
  • C.A. DeForest, B.D. Polizzotti and K.S. Anseth, “Sequential click reactions for synthesizing and patterning 3D cell microenvironments,” Nature Materials, 8, 659-64 (2009).
  • A.M. Kloxin, A.M. Kasko, C.N. Salinas and K.S. Anseth,“ Photolabile hydrogels for dynamic tuning of physical and chemical properties,” Science, 324, 59-63 (2009).
  • D.S.W. Benoit, M.J Schwartz, A.R. Durney and K.S. Anseth, “Small molecule functional groups for the controlled differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells encapsulated in poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels,” Nature Materials, 7, 816 - 823 (2008).

Research Interests

Biomaterials, drug delivery, stem cells and regenerative medicine

Kristi Anseth and her research group pioneer the development of biomaterials to serve as synthetic extracellular matrix (ECM) analogs that capture key features of the biochemical and biophysical aspects of a cell’s niche – an environment that is not only tissue specific, but can be strikingly heterogeneous and dynamic. Unique to her approach is the ability to create cell-laden matrices in three-dimensional space in which the matrix properties can be changed on demand – so-called 4D biology. Ultimately, Dr. Anseth and her group seek to understand how cells sense, store, and exchange information with the ECM and then use this knowledge to engineer biomaterial niches as cell delivery vehicles for tissue regeneration, in vitro models of disease, and physiologically-relevant models for drug discovery and screening. Her materials-first approach provides tools to perform unique cell biology experiments and address major hurdles in regenerative medicine.

Anseth's recent progress includes innovations in both photochemical and bio-click reactions to manipulate biomaterial properties in space and time, along with lithographic processes and confocal microscopy to perform these reactions in real time and in cell-laden matrices. She pursues application of these bioscaffolds to: (i) elucidate how specific extracellular signals influence stem cell differentiation, (ii) promote and mimic cell-cell interactions and to protect transplanted cells from the immune response via bioactive interfaces, and (iii) understand the fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transition in fibrosis, with an emphasis on the role of mechanotransduction.