ChE alumna receives AIChE Founders Award

One of AIChE’s Board of Directors’ Awards, The Founders Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Chemical Engineering, is presented to engineers who have had a profound impact on the way chemical engineering is applied, and whose achievements have advanced the profession in any of its aspects. 


The recipient of the 2021 Founders Award is Kristi S. Anseth (BSChE ’92, HDR ’16), the Tisone Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder). Anseth is being lauded for her “seminal contributions to the application of foundational aspects of chemical engineering to the design of advanced biomaterials, hybrid medical devices, and bionanoscale-based processes.”

Kristi Anseth
Kristi Anseth

Anseth, who also serves as Associate Faculty Director of CU-Boulder’s BioFrontiers Institute, has pioneered the field of biological engineering and polymers by using chemical engineering principles to come up with the rational design of biomaterials for tissue engineering, drug delivery, and biosensing applications. She was one of the earliest researchers to contribute novel biomaterials design based on molecular engineering and chemical engineering principles. 

A pioneer in providing an understanding of how cells receive information from biomaterial microenvironments to promote tissue regeneration, Anseth was one of the first engineers to fabricate microfluidic devices for cell culture and to functionalize biomaterials for rapid biological detection schemes. She has developed a photobiomaterial microfluidic-based cell culture platform that affords opportunities for high throughput screening assays for tissue engineering applications and biosensing and has established two start-up companies on biomaterials and tissue engineering.

She is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Inventors, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Recently, she received the L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award in the Life Sciences.  

Anseth is also a recipient of the Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation and an appointment to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as an investigator. Among many other honors, she has also received AIChE’s Professional Progress Award and the James E. Bailey Award from AIChE’s Society for Bioengineering. 

An AIChE Fellow, former board member, and former chair of AIChE’s Awards Committee, Anseth has also represented the chemical engineering community by serving as president of the Materials Research Society; on the Board of Governors for Acta Materialia, Inc; on the NIH Advisory Council for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; and as chair of the National Academy of Engineering’s U.S. Frontiers of Engineering meetings.