CU-Boulder Engineering Professor Named One Of Top 35 Young Innovators

Published: Sept. 19, 2005

Melissa Mahoney, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has been named one of the top 35 young innovators in technology, business and the arts in the October issue of Technology Review.

The group of innovators, all of whom are under the age of 35, is described by the magazine as "having the potential to profoundly impact the world." The magazine is published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The honorees hail from many well-known corporations and institutions, including Cornell, Harvard, IBM, Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs, MIT, Stanford, Sun Microsystems and Yahoo! Research Labs.

They were selected by a prestigious panel of judges from organizations including Boston University, GE Global Research, Georgia Tech, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, MIT, Northwestern University and Xerox.

Mahoney, 32, focuses her research on the development of polymer-based protein and cell delivery systems to enhance the success of transplanted neural tissue. Her long-term goal is to improve the treatment of neurodegenerative illnesses, such as Parkinson's Disease, and strokes affecting the central nervous system.

By using three-dimensional, soluble hydrogels to protect transplanted cells and supply them with protein for growth, Mahoney hopes to improve the survival rate of transplanted cells, the vast majority of which typically die off within a week of transplant. Testing of the new material is expected to take place in collaboration with scientists at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center within the next year.

Mahoney received her doctorate in chemical engineering from Cornell University in 2000 and then did postdoctoral research at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. She was awarded the Professor Demetrios Papahadjopoulos Award for excellence in drug delivery research and the Biomedical Engineering Society's Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award.

She joined the CU-Boulder faculty in the department of chemical and biological engineering in January 2005.

To view the issue of Technology Review online go to