Kristi S. Anseth earned her B.S. degree from Purdue University in 1992 and her Ph.D. degree from the University of Colorado in 1994. She then conducted post-doctoral research at MIT as an NIH fellow and subsequently joined the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder as an Assistant Professor in 1996. Dr. Anseth is presently a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering. 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’s research group has published over 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals and presented over 180 invited lectures in the fields of biomaterials and tissue engineering. 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. In 2009, she was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Anseth is also a dedicated teacher, who has received four University Awards related to her teaching, as well as the American Society for Engineering Education’s Curtis W. McGraw Award. Dr. Anseth is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. She serves on the editorial boards or as associate editor of Biomacromolecules, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research — Part A, Acta Biomaterialia, Progress in Materials Science, and Biotechnology & Bioengineering.
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 time 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 novel techniques to characterize and screen cell-material interactions, rapidly detect biological molecules through controlled surface chemistries, and develop models to study cellular pathology.