Add the National Academy of Engineering to Kristi Anseth’s array of honors. The University of Colorado distinguished professor of chemical and biological engineering and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator was one of 65 new academy members announced in February.
Election to the National Academy of Engineering is one of the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer. Anseth, who is just 40 years old, was recognized for her work "pioneering the rational design of biomaterials for tissue engineering, drug delivery, and biosensing applications."
She took the lead in using ultraviolet light to make repeating structures of complex molecules, called polymers, which can be implanted into tissues to create three-dimensional scaffolds to facilitate healing. The polymers dissolve after tissue regeneration, and Anseth has designed materials to accelerate bone healing, grow cartilage tissue and even help regenerate defective heart valves.
She received her doctorate in chemical engineering at CU-Boulder in 1994 and was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining the CU faculty in 1996. She was named an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2000 and a University of Colorado distinguished professor in 2008.
Anseth is the recipient of numerous other awards for research and teaching, including the Society for Biomaterials' Clemson Award, the National Science Foundation's Alan T. Waterman Award, the American Society of Engineering Education's Curtis W. McGraw Award and the CU-Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science's Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award. She was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2006 and named one of Popular Science's "Brilliant Ten" in 2008.