Synthesis and processing of new generations of polymeric biomaterials have become increasingly sophisticated, allowing for introduction of multiple biological cues, their timed presentation, and even responsiveness to the local environment. However, with these innovative advancements in biomaterial synthesis and engineering, sometimes the critical question becomes “how simple is complex enough?” This talk will illustrate several examples where multicomponent biomaterials, from the simple to the complex, can serve as platforms to decipher the nature of biochemical and biophysical signals that are important in guiding tissue development, regeneration, or pathological disease. Yet bridging the gap between the petri dish and patient will require new emerging technologies, so the discussion will be placed in the broader context of challenges and future opportunities for research at this interface.
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 nearly 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals and presented over 250 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. Dr. Anseth is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering (2009), the Institute of Medicine (2009), and the National Academy of Sciences (2013). She 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, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the Materials Research Society. 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.