2015 Honoree: Science and Medicine
Dr. Kristi Anseth is a leading researcher and inventor in the fields of biomaterials and regenerative medicine, and regarded by many as the pioneer in tissue engineering. She has received prestigious awards, is widely published, sought-after as a speaker, and admired as a teacher.
A chemical engineer by training, Dr. Anseth says she has always been drawn to research with medical relevance. She works at the intersection of three fields — engineering, chemistry, and biology — where she designs biomaterials that can serve as scaffolds to grow living tissues. These scaffolds hold promise for replacing diseased or damaged body parts for people suffering from injuries or chronic conditions.
Dr. Anseth joined the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder as an Assistant Professor in 1996, and within ten years was named an endowed chair and a Distinguished Professor. She is also Associate Professor of Surgery in the School of Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.
As a faculty scientist, Dr. Anseth spends a great deal of time teaching students in the classroom and in her laboratory. Working with students is one aspect of the job Dr. Anseth most enjoys. Her creativity in the classroom and emphasis on risk taking to explore the unexpected have earned her the high regard of her students and acclaim in the field.
Dr. Anseth’s achievements have received national recognition. She was the first engineer to be named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and received the Alan T. Waterman Award, the highest award of the National Science Foundation for demonstrated exceptional individual achievement in scientific or engineering research. Dr. Anseth is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences. Her outstanding teaching has been recognized through four University Awards and she is the recipient of the American Society for Engineering Education’s Curtis W. McGraw Award. She serves on the editorial boards or as associate editor of several scientific journals. Dr. Anseth has filed for 18 patents, has published 290 research articles, and has lectured widely across the country.
Dr. Anseth earned her B.S. degree from Purdue University and her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado. She conducted post-doctoral research at MIT as a National Institutes of Health fellow.
As a young researcher, Dr. Anseth has already had a profound impact on the evolving field of tissue engineering. She is both rigorous and creative in her research, and an inspiration to her colleagues and students. Dr. Anseth is married to Professor Christopher Bowman (also with CU Boulder’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering) and they have an 8-year old daughter, Riley.