Our goals are to pioneer the development of biomaterial systems for 3D cell culture to further fundamental understanding of how cells receive and exchange information with their extracellular microenvironment, and subsequently to use this knowledge to engineer material niches for translational applications in cell delivery and regenerative medicine. Our approach includes the development of synthetic, tunable extracellular matrix mimics by employing multiple orthogonal chemistries to fabricate hydrogel polymer systems. We exploit photochemical reactions to manipulate material biophysical and biochemical properties in both space and time. These 3D cell culture platforms have been applied to answer questions of fundamental biological and clinical importance, which include (i) demonstrating specific extracellular signals to control the survival, expansion and differentiation of bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells for applications in musculoskeletal regeneration, (ii) understanding the fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transition in cardiac cells as it relates to fibrotic disease and exploring the role of mechanotransduction in regulating the myofibroblast phenotype, and (iii) using spatiotemporal regulation of matrix properties to direct organoid development. Research projects in our group are funded primarily by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and DARPA.
Kristi S. Anseth is a Distinguished Professor, Tisone Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Head of Academic Leadership of the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her research interests lie at the interface between biology and engineering where she designs new biomaterials for applications in drug delivery and regenerative medicine. Dr. Anseth is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering (2009), the National Academy of Medicine (2009), the National Academy of Sciences (2013), and the National Academy of Inventors (2016). She is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the Materials Research Society. Dr. Anseth currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Board of Trustees for the Gordon Research Conferences, on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Allen Institute, and is an editor for Biomacromolecules and Progress in Materials Science