Published: Jan. 23, 2008

Three University of Colorado at Boulder faculty members have been named distinguished professors, the highest honor bestowed by CU on its teaching faculty.

The prestigious designation was awarded to Professor Kristi Anseth, of the chemical and biological engineering department; Professor Margaret Murnane, of the physics and electrical and computer engineering departments and JILA; and Professor Norman Pace, of the molecular, cellular and developmental biology department, during the Jan. 24 meeting of the CU Board of Regents.

Anseth, Murnane and Pace join 34 other CU-Boulder faculty members who have been named distinguished professors since the Board of Regents established the designation in 1977.

"Professors Anseth, Murnane and Pace represent the best of our CU-Boulder faculty," said CU-Boulder Provost Phil DiStefano. "They have distinguished themselves through their scholarship and teaching and join a prestigious group of colleagues."

The distinguished professor title is bestowed on CU faculty members who have a record of distinguished performance in research and creative work, a record of excellence in both classroom teaching and supervision of individual learning and a record of outstanding service to the profession and to CU.

Anseth is nationally recognized for her research in biomedical engineering. She was the first engineer to be named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator in 2000, cited for her innovative materials science research including the creation of new biomaterials for medical applications. She is leading a team of faculty members and students that is developing degradable scaffolds, or frameworks, to stimulate the growth of new human tissues to replace those lost through injury and disease.

A member of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science, Anseth has won numerous awards for research and teaching. In 2004, she received the National Science Foundation's highest honor for a young researcher, the Alan T. Waterman Award, and in 2003 she was honored with the American Society for Engineering Education's Curtis W. McGraw Award, given to one faculty member under the age of 40 annually in recognition of contributions to both engineering education and research.

Anseth received her doctorate in chemical engineering from CU-Boulder in 1994 and was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining the CU-Boulder faculty in 1996. She has received outstanding ratings from her students for her classroom teaching. She also frequently accompanies the chancellor and provost to visit prospective students and their parents.

Murnane is recognized as a world leader in the field of experimental, ultrafast optical science. Ultrafast lasers developed from her work are in use throughout the world and have applications in science, engineering, industry and medicine.

Murnane and her husband, Henry Kapteyn, lead a team of students that has achieved significant developments in the field, such as generating laser-like beams of X-rays. Their pioneering research removed a major obstacle in the decades-long quest to build a tabletop X-ray laser that could be used to produce a super-high resolution microscope for biological, materials, nano and medical imaging.

Murnane received a MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the "genius grant," is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2004 became only the fourth woman ever elected to the National Academy of Science's physics section. On campus, Murnane is currently advising a highly multidisciplinary group of 16 doctoral students. She also dedicates her time to outreach efforts such as the popular science education program CU Wizards, and to improving the climate for women in science and engineering at the national level. She joined the CU-Boulder faculty in 1999.

Pace is known for his pioneering use of molecular genetic techniques to rapidly detect, identify and classify microbe species using nucleic acid technology. New perspectives on microbial diversity, the rapid development of molecular ecology techniques and the recent use of genomic methods in microbial ecology can all be directly traced to Pace's research efforts.

An expert on ribonucleic acids, or RNA, Pace is a leading authority on extreme life in deep-sea thermal vents and has applied his research group's findings to challenges ranging from studies of human inflammatory diseases to potential life on other planets.

A member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Microbiology, Pace also is a MacArthur Fellow. Pace and Murnane join only five other CU-Boulder faculty members who have received the fellowship. On campus Pace teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses and serves as the head of a committee to enhance and improve interaction among the life sciences departments.

Pace came to the CU-Boulder faculty in 1999 from the University of California, Berkeley, where he established a reputation as one of the world's leading authorities on the evolution of primitive underwater life forms.