PRISM - American Society for Engineering Education - Logo - SEPTEMBER 2004 - VOLUME 14, NUMBER 1
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FACULTY'S FINEST: Kristi Anseth - By Thomas K. Grose

By Thomas K. Grose

Chemical and biological engineer Kristi Anseth has, at the tender age of 35, already built a distinguished career in the burgeoning interdisciplinary area of biomaterials, which uses chemistry, biology, and engineering to devise replaceable body parts. The University of Colorado-Boulder professor is a leader in the development of new materials to build scaffolds, or templates, on which cells can grow to replace diseased or damaged parts, like knees, hips, and even some structures of the human heart. Now Anseth has won the National Science Foundation's Alan T. Waterman Award, a $500,000, three-year grant given annually to outstanding young researchers under the age of 36.

Notes Anseth: "A scaffold is really just recreated tissues, and if you think of it like a building, this is a framework from which other structures can be formed." The materials are gel-like liquids, injected into the body. Lasers shape and harden the materials into flexible scaffolds. As the cells interact with the templates and grow into new tissue, the scaffolding biodegrades. It's hoped that injectable scaffold materials will someday provide replacement body parts without the trauma of major surgery.

The NSF considers Anseth's teaching talents award-winning, too. Students she's mentored have won eight NSF Graduate Research fellowships and many other awards, as well.

 

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FACULTY'S FINEST: Kristi Anseth - By Thomas K. Grose
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