Skip to comments.New Models for Healing and for Science Itself
Posted on 11/29/2005 4:16:45 PM PST by neverdem
Kristi S. Anseth, a professor of chemical and biological engineering at the University of Colorado, likes to break barriers. She does this almost obliviously, and in doing so, she is helping to change the culture of science.
At 37, Dr. Anseth is a professor in a field once the sole province of bookish men. Moreover, she is the first engineer, male or female, to become a Howard Hughes medical investigator, a prize usually reserved for Nobel-worthy researchers in the basic sciences.
Additionally, in 2004, Dr. Anseth won the $500,000 Alan T. Waterman Award, presented by the National Science Foundation to an outstanding young researcher.
These honors came because of Dr. Anseth's work in tissue engineering, a booming new specialty. So far, she has developed innovative methods for growing bones, skin and cartilage.
"I think tissue engineering is something that appeals because many of us can relate to the promise of the field," Dr. Anseth said on a recent visit to New York City.
"Our bodies are incredibly complex, and we still don't understand all that happens when a disease or a complex process takes hold and we get injuries," she continued. "There's a lot of hope in trying to solve these riddles and trying to come up with new healing strategies."
Q. Give us the job description of a tissue engineer, please.
A. We are the people interested in building living systems in humans and animals called the tissue. We start with the basic building blocks of these systems, which are cells or different proteins or molecules, and then we reassemble them into something that becomes living tissues within a body.
The promises of tissue engineering are many. In trying to regenerate cartilage, we're very far along. In terms of progress, things related to our cartilage, bones, skin, we're likely...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
Q. Within the scientific world, engineers have long been second-class citizens. How have you managed to win respect for what you do?
A. Engineers definitely pursue research with a practical application in mind. That hasn't always been respected. But this is a time when the boundaries between science and engineering are blurring.
So many problems require biologists, chemists, engineers acting together. I think the most exciting discoveries we're seeing are coming at the interfaces of disciplines.
You now see at almost every major research institution all these new types of institutes and buildings designed to put people together. Gone are all these academic silos where they put all the biologists in one building and all the engineers in another.
Thanks. This might be a thread for AntiGuv.
One possible aspect of this research is creating tissue for robots so they can appear human, a la' The Terminator.
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