Kristi S. Anseth

University of Colorado Boulder

Election Year: 2013
Primary Section: 31, Engineering Sciences
Secondary Section: 14, Chemistry
Membership Type: Member


Kristi S. Anseth is an HHMI Investigator and Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Anseth earned her BS degree from Purdue University in 1992, her PhD degree from the University of Colorado in 1994, and completed post-doctoral research at MIT as an NIH fellow.  Her research interests lie at the interface between biology and engineering where she designs new biomaterials for applications in drug delivery and regenerative medicine. She was the first engineer to be named an HHMI Investigator and received the Alan T. Waterman Award, the highest award of NSF for demonstrated exceptional individual achievement in scientific or engineering research. Dr. Anseth is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering (2009), the National Academy of Medicine (2009), and the National Academy of Sciences (2013).  She is also a dedicated teacher, who has received four University teaching awards, as well as the ASEE Curtis W. McGraw Award.  Dr. Anseth is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the Materials Research Society. She serves as an associate editor for Biomacromolecules, Progress in Materials Science, Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Biotechnology & Bioengineering.

Research Interests

A major focus of research in the Anseth group is the development of biomaterial scaffolds with highly-controlled architectures and chemistries for three-dimensional cell culture, tissue regeneration, and biological arrays and/or assays. We are particularly interested in understanding how cells receive information from materials and what happens to cell function over time when assembled within three-dimensional microenvironments. Our approach exploits classical engineering principles and modeling, as control is required on many times scales, from seconds to months, and on many size scales, from the molecular to macroscopic. Our methods include the design of passive biomaterial niches that simply permit cells to function, as well as bioactive environments that dynamically promote or suppress specific cellular responses, including proliferation, differentiation, and extracellular matrix production. Our research spans the spectrum of fundamental studies to better understand the role of the biomaterial environment on cell function and the biology of tissue formation to targeted clinical applications in the design of in situ forming cell carriers that promote healing. Further, we use these materials to develop innovative techniques to characterize and screen cell-material interactions, rapidly detect biological molecules through controlled surface chemistries, and develop models to study cellular pathology.

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