Carnegie Mellon Alumni Association Honors Jennifer Elisseeff with Young Alumni Award-Mellon College of Science - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Carnegie Mellon Alumni Association Honors Jennifer Elisseeff with Young Alumni Award

PITTSBURGH—Jennifer Elisseeff, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, has been selected to receive the 2003 Young Alumni Award from the Carnegie Mellon Alumni Association. The award recognizes her exceptional accomplishments in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine during her first 10 years as a Carnegie Mellon graduate. Elisseeff is only the second recipient of this award.

Elisseeff, who earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon’s Mellon College of Science in 1994, will accept her award at the Alumni Awards Ceremony at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 24, in conjunction with this year’s Homecoming Weekend. She also will make a research presentation, “Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering: from basic science to clinical use,” from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m., in the Mellon Institute Social Room.

Elisseeff’s work focuses on developing innovative materials and methods to replace cartilage, a tissue that does not naturally regenerate in the body. Central to her research is an injectable photopolymerizing hydrogel, a liquid polymer full of cartilage cells that solidifies when exposed to light. In a process known as transdermal photopolymerization, the liquid polymer is injected under the skin. Doctors then shine a light through the skin, causing the polymer to solidify into a hydrogel. Using the hydrogel as a scaffold, cartilage cells reproduce and form new tissue. This technique, which was patented and licensed by the former Advanced Tissue Sciences Inc., provides a minimally invasive method that circumvents the need for more extensive cartilage replacement surgeries.

In 2002 Elisseeff was named one of the country's top 100 innovators under the age of 35 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review. The following year Technology Review recognized her innovative technology as one of 10 technologies that will change the future.

Elisseeff earned her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, a collaborative endeavor that encourages multidisciplinary training in science, engineering and medicine. Elisseeff’s scientific ingenuity is attributable in large part to her training in synthetic organic chemistry, pharmacology and medicine.

Elisseeff’s long-term interests include starting her own company and becoming involved with science policy. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her daughter Sophie, riding horses, playing the piano and traveling.

By: Lauren Ward