CU-Boulder Engineering Professor Elected to Institute of Medicine

October 12, 2009

Kristi Anseth, a University of Colorado at Boulder distinguished professor and the Tisone Professor in chemical and biological engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

Anseth, who also is an associate professor of surgery at the University of Colorado Denver and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, is among 65 new members and five foreign associates announced by the institute today. Membership in the Institute of Medicine recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

The institute was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1970, and is both an honorific and an advisory organization. By charter, at least one-quarter of its membership is selected from outside the health professions. CU-Boulder distinguished professors Tom Cech of chemistry and biochemistry, and Jane Menken of sociology also are members, along with 11 faculty members at the University of Colorado Denver.

Anseth was elected to the National Academy of Engineering earlier this year for pioneering the rational design of biomaterials for tissue engineering, drug delivery and biosensing applications.

She pioneered the use of 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 Ph.D. 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 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.

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