CU-Boulder Engineering Professor Wins National Award For Excellence

Published: July 28, 2003

For the second time in three years, a University of Colorado at Boulder professor has been selected to receive the American Institute of Chemical Engineers' Allan P. Colburn Award for Excellence in Publications.

Kristi Anseth, CU-Boulder professor of chemical and biological engineering and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute assistant investigator, will receive the national award and $5,000 prize at the annual AIChE meeting Nov. 16-21 in San Francisco.

The Colburn Award is the most prestigious award in the field of chemical engineering, going to only one member of AIChE under the age of 36 each year. Christopher Bowman, who chairs CU-Boulder's department of chemical and biological engineering, received the award in 2001.

Anseth, 34, was selected for her far-reaching work on designing and characterizing new generations of photopolymerized biomaterials for tissue engineering and other medical applications.

She has 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 as well as grow cartilage tissue.

She also collaborates with Professor Leslie Leinwand of CU's molecular, cellular and developmental biology department to develop new approaches to engineer a heart valve, extending the use of photopolymerization to create more advanced biomaterials that can act as templates for the formation of complex tissues.

Anseth has published more than 74 articles in peer-reviewed journals and holds, or has filed for, seven patents.

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 assistant investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2000 and received the American Society of Engineering Education's Curtis W. McGraw Research Award earlier this year.

Anseth is the recipient of numerous other awards for research and teaching, including the National Institutes of Health FIRST Award, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Packard Fellowship, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the Materials Research Society Outstanding Young Investigator Award, 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.