CU-Boulder Professor Named One of Popular Science Magazine's 'Brilliant 10'

Published: Oct. 14, 2008

Popular Science magazine has named University of Colorado at Boulder chemical and biological engineering Distinguished Professor Kristi Anseth as one of its "Brilliant 10" for 2008, honoring her as one of the nation's top young scientists.

Anseth, 40, a faculty member in the College of Engineering and Applied Science and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, was 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 polymers that act as "scaffolds" to stimulate the growth of new human tissues to replace those lost by injuries and disease.

"The Brilliant 10 are the brightest researchers of 2008, making the breakthroughs of tomorrow," said Mark Jannot, editor-in-chief of Popular Science. "PopSci is paying homage to these young scientists, who explore the world with an altogether original eye." Founded in 1872, Popular Science is the world's largest science and technology magazine with a circulation of 1.3 million and 6.9 million readers.

Anseth and her colleagues anticipate the technology will be used in the coming years to help regenerate human cartilage and defective heart valves, mend shattered bones, produce insulin for diabetics and grow healthy neurons to replace diseased brain tissue. One of the most promising applications is to use tissue engineering to help repair injured knee cartilage by extracting healthy cartilage from a patient, blending it with the gel-like scaffolding and injecting it back into the knee to grow new, healthy cartilage.

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. 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.

One of only 37 CU-Boulder faculty members to hold the title of Distinguished Professor, Anseth also is an associate professor of surgery at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. She 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 consistently received outstanding ratings from students for her teaching, and is a past winner of the national Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award and the Hutchinson Teaching Award at CU-Boulder's engineering college.

Other Popular Science 2008 Brilliant 10 winners hail from Princeton University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, The California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Michigan, the University of British Columbia and MicroCHIPS Corp.

For more information on Anseth's research go to the Web site at

The November 2008 issue of Popular Science is on newsstands this week. For more information on Popular Science visit