Kristi S. Anseth is a pioneer in biomedical engineering, a leading researcher and inventor in the fields of biomaterials and regenerative medicine. She has shown that by controlling the chemical, biological, and physical properties of biomaterials, fundamental cell biology questions can be probed and the information used in applications to regenerate tissue. Her work on engineering tissues has improved medical treatments for many parts of the body, from helping broken bones heal faster to replacing diseased heart valves. Anseth’s seminal work on the ways extracellular cues are transmitted through cells and her proof of novel mechanisms for biomolecule delivery have revolutionized the field. She is widely recognized for blending modern molecular and cellular biology with engineering and mathematics to produce the next generation of biomaterials that are tissue substitutes able to restore, maintain, or improve tissue function. Her discoveries have led to 17 patents—so far. In order to make those discoveries useful, Anseth founded Mosaic Biosciences, which translates these breakthroughs into useful applications for today’s medicine.
Anseth, who grew up in North Dakota, received her bachelor’s degree from Purdue and then her PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado. After postdoctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue, she was hired as an assistant professor in chemical engineering at the University of Colorado in 1996. In 2002 she was promoted to professor, was named Tisone Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering in 2003, and became a distinguished professor in 2008.
Anseth was the first engineer to be named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. The American Institute of Chemical Engineers named her one of the “100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era,” and Popular Science named her one of its “Brilliant 10” in 2008. In 2009, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Anseth has been recognized by universities across the country and abroad, where she is frequently an invited speaker, and she is also a dedicated teacher who mentors and promotes the careers of her CU students. She serves on 10 editorial boards and is highly sought for service on federal review panels such as the National Institutes of Health.