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Kristi Anseth is a Tisone Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She designs synthetic hydrogel biomaterials to imitate the extracellular matrix surrounding cells. Her pioneering approach is to apply photopolymerization and photodegradation to enable precise control in space and time over hydrogels' structure and composition, enabling fundamental investigations into the molecular dynamics of processes at the cell-biomaterial interface. Her lab is also interested in tissue engineering, using similar materials to develop replacement cartilage and heart valves.
Kristi Anseth grew up in northwestern North Dakota and played on both the volleyball and basketball teams at Williston State College, earning the honor of Academic All-American in her second year. Kristi Anseth transferred to Purdue University where she began her research career as an undergraduate student in the lab of Nicholas A. Peppas. She obtained her PhD working under Christopher Bowman, himself a former graduate student of Nicholas Peppas, at the University of Colorado. Aside from being the first engineer, male or female, to be selected as a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator, Kristi Anseth is a member of the Institutes of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Sciences (a distinction she shares with chemical engineers Cato Laurencin, Robert S. Langer, Nicholas A. Peppas , Frances Arnold, and Rakesh K. Jain).