CU-Boulder Engineering Professor Wins Award For Biotechnology Research

February 11, 2003

Kristi Anseth, professor of chemical engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has been selected to receive the Curtis W. McGraw Research Award from the American Society of Engineering Education.

The award, given to only one young engineering faculty member across the country each year, recognizes Anseth for her "outstanding and far-reaching work on exploring, designing and characterizing new generations of photopolymerized bio-materials for medical applications."

Anseth's research, which is at the forefront of the interface between biology and engineering, focuses on the development of polymeric scaffolds that facilitate tissue regeneration. She has pioneered the use of ultraviolet light to make repeating chains of complex molecules called polymers into degradable, three-dimensional "scaffolds" that can be implanted into areas of bone or cartilage injury to accelerate healing.

In collaboration with a molecular, cellular and developmental biology group, she also is leading development of a new approach to engineering heart valves. This work extends the use of photopolymerization to create more advanced biomaterials that can act as a template for complex tissue formation.

"Professor Anseth is an exceptional scholar and teacher who in less than seven years on our faculty has made unparalleled contributions to engineering research and to advancing the careers of both students and colleagues," said engineering Dean Robert H. Davis. "She is clearly the best candidate for success that I have known during the 20 years that I have been a faculty member."

Anseth, 34, previously has been recognized with a National Institutes of Health FIRST Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a Packard Fellowship, a Dreyfus New Faculty Award, a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award and the Materials Research Society Outstanding Young Investigator Award. In 1999, she was selected to be part of the Technology Review 100, which honored 100 individuals under age 35 as leaders in driving science and technology advances in the 21st century. The following year, she became the first engineer named to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

She and the graduate students in her lab have published or submitted some 55 peer-reviewed articles in top journals, following 20 reviewed articles she published as a student and postdoctoral scholar. Anseth joined the chemical engineering faculty in 1996, after serving as a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She earned her doctorate at CU-Boulder in 1994.

Anseth also has won several awards for teaching, including the Hutchinson Teaching Award given by the College of Engineering and Applied Science, the John and Mercedes Peebles Teaching Innovation Award and the Boulder Faculty Assembly Teaching Excellence Award.

She is active in outreach to high school students and teachers through the High School Honors Institute and Women in Engineering Program. She has developed several hands-on experiments and demonstrations of the science and engineering principles behind the applications of polymers in microelectronics, food packaging and health care.

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