The 36th Annual ChEGSA Symposium will be held on October 16th and 17th, 2014.

The annual ChEGSA research symposium started in 1979 with the hopes of showcasing the work of our graduate researchers, promoting intra-departmental research collaborations and connecting our students to industry. Today we continue these traditions, with the hope of improving every year. This two-day event features graduate research presentations, a poster session, and a corporate-sponsored keynote address given by a distinguished professor from the field of chemical engineering. For a complete overview of the event, please see this year’s proceedings.


The Dow Chemical Company Keynote Address

Hydrogels as Dynamic Niches for Regenerative Medicine

Kristi S. Anseth

Dr. Kristi S. Anseth

Distinguished Professor, Tisone Professor, Associate Professor of Surgery, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
University of Colorado Boulder

Keynote Abstract

Methods for culturing cells in a biologically relevant context are increasingly needed to study cell and tissue physiology, expand and differentiate stem cells, and to grow replacement tissues for regenerative medicine. Two-dimensional culture has been the paradigm for in vitro cell culture; however, evidence and intuition suggest that cells behave differently when they are isolated from the complex architecture of their native tissues and constrained to petri dishes. As a result, researchers are often faced with the need for more physiologically relevant 3D culture environments, and advances in hydrogel materials are providing custom 3D culture microenvironments with highly controlled biochemical and biophysical properties. Since the native extracellular matrix (ECM) is far from static, ECM hydrogel mimics must also be dynamic in their chemistry to direct complex cellular behavior. Developing hydrogel mimics of the ECM is an archetypal bioengineering problem, requiring control of numerous properties on multiple time and length scales important in directing critical cellular functions. New materials systems have the potential to significantly improve our understanding as to how cells receive information from their microenvironment and the role that these dynamic processes may play in applications ranging from controlling the fate of stem cells to growing functional tissue replacements. This talk will highlight recent advances in hydrogel chemistries for 3D cell culture and methods to control their properties through orthogonal and photochemical reaction mechanisms.


About the Speaker

Kristi Anseth was awarded a B.S. degree from Purdue University in 1992 and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in 1994, both in Chemical Engineering. In 1996, she joined the faculty at the University of Colorado, where she is now a Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Professor Anseth’s background is in the area of polymer engineering, which she has applied with great success to tissue engineering and biomaterials. The Anseth lab designs photopolymerized biomaterials for use in applications including controlled drug release and tissue scaffolds. The lab creates three-dimensional cell culture environments designed to actively promote or suppress cell processes. Wide-ranging examples of these 3D architectures developed in the Anseth Lab include an osteo-compatible scaffold with applications in dentistry and orthopedics, hydrogels that promote differentiation of stem-cells, and encapsulation hydrogels for insulin secretion.

Kristi Anseth’s exceptional research, stemming from applying classic chemical engineering principles including kinetics and controls to engineering biomaterials, has been recognized through numerous awards. In 2008, she was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and she is now one of only a handful of Americans elected to all three branches of the National Academy: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineers, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. We are delighted to welcome her to the 2014 ChEGSA Symposium.