CU-Boulder Professor Elected to National Academy of Engineering

Published: Feb. 9, 2009

Kristi Anseth, University of Colorado at Boulder distinguished professor in chemical and biological engineering and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer.

Anseth was among 65 new members and nine foreign associates of the academy announced Feb. 6.

Membership in the National Academy of Engineering honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice or education" and to the "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

Anseth, 40, was recognized 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 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 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 CU-Boulder 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.

She holds the Tisone Professorship in chemical and biological engineering at CU-Boulder and is an associate professor of surgery at the University of Colorado Denver. She holds courtesy appointments in the craniofacial biology department at the UC Denver School of Dentistry and the CU-Boulder departments of chemistry and biochemistry, and molecular, cellular and developmental biology.

Anseth joins 16 other faculty from the Boulder campus who have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering since its formation in 1962. Other CU-Boulder faculty and their years of election, are: Bernard Amadei, 2008; George Born and Kaspar Willam, 2004; Ross Corotis and Fred Glover, 2002; Frank Barnes, 2001; Delores Etter, 2000; Martin Mikulas, 1999; Valerian Tatarskii (foreign associate), 1994; Earl Gossard, 1990; Don Hearth and Richard Strauch, 1989; Jacques Pankove, 1986; Richard Seebass (deceased), 1985; Klaus Timmerhaus, 1975; and Max Peters, 1969.