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Q&A with Chelsea Magin

by Diddiery Santana, student writer

Chelsea Magin, assistant professor of bioengineering, joined the CU Denver College of Engineering, Design and Computing in 2020 from the CU School of Medicine where she holds a joint appointment. Magin earned her both MS and PhD from University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where she was named a 2021 “40 Gators Under 40” awardee.

Assistant Professor Chelsea Magin

Q: What initially drew you to CU Denver and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus?

A: I spent four years working at Sharklet Technologies located on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. My first introduction to campus occurred when leading research collaborations between Sharklet and CU Anschutz faculty. I was immediately impressed by how co-locating scientists and engineers with physicians and other hospital providers creates unprecedented opportunities for translational research. It was this interdisciplinary, collaborative, and entrepreneurial spirit that first drew me to CU Denver | Anschutz and continues to inspire me today.

Q: Tell me about your research and your lab?

A: My lab is an interdisciplinary team of students, trainees, and researchers with backgrounds ranging from engineering to cellular and molecular biology. Together we invent new biomaterials and biomanufacturing processes to build 3D models of human lung tissues. Our goal is to use these models to better understand the mechanisms underlying chronic pulmonary diseases and apply this knowledge to discover new treatments.

Q: How does your location on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus benefit/bolster your individual research/lab?

A: We collaborate with physicians on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus to engineer models of human lung tissue and learn more about how to treat chronic pulmonary diseases. The results of our work are very translatable and have already produced several patent applications that were filed with CU Innovations. We are currently working on an initial business strategy for engaging key commercialization partners. This nexus of engineering, medicine, innovation, and entrepreneurship is one of the main goals of the medtech initiative.

My experience in industry enables our team to identify opportunities to protect intellectual property early in the process, file patent applications quickly, and collaborate with local industry. As for students and trainees, they have published peer-reviewed research articles, become patent investors, interacted with industry partners, and landed jobs right after completing their degrees.

Q: What excites you the most about the new Bioscience 3 facility?

A: My lab is so excited to be located next door to other engineering labs and in the same building as industry leaders in Bioscience. I’m thrilled to have a brand new space to perform our research and to reunite with friends and former Sharklet colleagues.

Q:What do you enjoy doing outside of work/research?

A: I’m usually busy with a home improvement project. The most recent update to my house was a small pottery studio in the basement. I’m also an avid gardener, I love cycling, and enjoy hiking/backpacking. Before the pandemic, she backpacked through Patagonia with her best friends.

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