Anseth named 2013 Hazel Barnes Prize winner

By Staff

Kristi Anseth (Photo: University of Colorado)

Distinguished Professor Kristi Anseth of the University of Colorado Boulder’s chemical and biological engineering department has been selected to receive the 2013 Hazel Barnes Prize, the highest faculty recognition for teaching and research awarded by the university.

Anseth, also a faculty member at CU-Boulder’s BioFrontiers Institute, will receive an engraved university medal and a $20,000 cash award, the largest single faculty award funded by CU-Boulder. She will be recognized at CU-Boulder’s spring commencement ceremony on May 10 and at a reception following the event that will include former Hazel Barnes Prize winners, family members, colleagues and students.

Anseth is known internationally for her innovative biomaterials and regenerative medicine research. She leads a team of faculty and students who are developing biodegradable “scaffolds” to stimulate the growth of new human tissues to replace those lost by injury or disease.

Technology developed by the team is expected to be used in the coming years for tasks such as helping regenerate human cartilage and defective heart valves, mending shattered bones, producing insulin for diabetics and growing healthy neurons to replace diseased brain tissue. A promising material that has been in clinical trials involves extracting healthy cartilage cells from damaged knees, blending the cells with light-activated hydrogels and injecting the material back into the knees to facilitate healing.

“Kristi has an outstanding record as both a teacher and a researcher,” said CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano. “Her impressive publication record in the fields of biomaterials and tissue engineering as well as her numerous national awards speak to her strong research commitment.  We appreciate her dedication to this institution and her commitment to academic excellence.”

Anseth, who also is an associate professor of surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, has won numerous awards, including her election to the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine in 2009.  She is the first engineer to be named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator (in 2000) and she received the 2004 Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation for her research excellence.

In 2008 Anseth was named one of Popular Science magazine’s “Brilliant 10,” honoring her as one of the nation’s top young scientists. To date, 34 students who worked under her have received doctorates and she currently is advising 14 doctoral students.  She also has mentored more than 100 undergraduates in laboratory research.

In addition, Anseth has won a number of teaching awards, including the 2008 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award for Education; the 2002 College of Engineering and Applied Science Hutchinson Teaching Award; the national 2000 Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award; and the 2000 Boulder Faculty Assembly Teaching Excellence Award.

The Hazel Barnes Prize was established in 1991 to recognize the enriching relationship between teaching and research. The prize was named in honor of CU-Boulder philosophy Professor Emerita Hazel Barnes, who taught at CU-Boulder from 1943 to 1986 and is noted for her interpretations of the works of French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre. Barnes died in 2008 at the age of 92.