Elizabeth Nance, Ph.D.

Jagjeet and Janice Bindra Career Development Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering

Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies

Affiliate Assistant Professor of Radiology | eSciences Institute | Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute | Center for Human Development and Disability

Office: Benson Hall 363
Phone: 206-543-2216
Email: eanance@uw.edu

Dr. Nance’s interdisciplinary background lies at the interface of engineering, neurosciences, data sciences, and translational medicine - she is an extensive collaborator in the pediatric, neurology, pathology and neurobiology fields. Elizabeth has expertise in (1) developing nanoparticles that are capable of focally targeting disease tissue and specific cells within the brain, while providing sustained action of a therapeutic agent; (2) evaluating uptake, distribution, and transport of nanoparticles in healthy and perinatal/neonatal models of inflammation-induced brain injury, and in other disease models or organs; (3) live animal imaging, live tissue imaging, and complex immunofluorescent staining and imaging; (4) developing neurobehavioral assessments of nanoparticle efficacy in neuroinflammation-mediated animal models of brain disease, in 3 different species (rabbit, rat, mouse); and (5) integration of multi-scale, multi-modal data sets to better understand the underlying biology and pathology, and implementation of nanotechnology as probes or therapeutics.

Elizabeth joined the University of Washington in September 2015 as the first Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering. She received her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering under the advisement of Dr. Justin Hanes, and Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University in Chemical Engineering. At NC State, she participated in undergraduate research in the lab of Dr. Bob Kelly, and in the lab of Dr. Steven Peretti. Prior to starting her faculty position, she completed a postdoc with Dr. Sujatha Kannan in Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.


Elizabeth lives in Washington with her husband Dr. Tommy Wood, and their two boxers, Parker and Bowen.


2020     Faculty Appreciation for Career Education & Training Award, University of Washington

2020     Celebrate Womxn award, University of Washington Residential Life

2019     Presidential Early Career Achievement in Science & Engineering (PECASE) award, Office of Science and 

             Technology Policy, White House

2019     Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, University of Washington

2019     Faculty Appreciation for Career Education & Training Award, University of Washington

2019     College of Engineering Junior Faculty Award, University of Washington

2018     Early Career Achievement Award in STEM, Association of Women in Science (AWIS)

2018     45 Under 45 Young Innovator Award in Nanobiotechnology, Nano Research Editorial Board

2018     NANOMED Young Inspiring Scientist, European Union’s Horizon 20/20 Program

2015     Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professorship, Luce Foundation

2015     30 Under 30 for Science & Medicine, Forbes Magazine

2015     Paper of the Year Award, Controlled Release Society

2014     Career Award at Scientific Interfaces Awardee, Burroughs Wellcome Fund

2014     Award for Research Excellence, Johns Hopkins Center for Nanomedicine

2014     Annual Scientific Award Winner, Society of Critical Care Medicine

2013     Annual Research Award Winner, Johns Hopkins Anesthesiology/Critical Care Medicine

2013     Postdoctoral Fellowship, Hartwell Foundation

2013     Applications in Neural Stereology Certification, Stereology Resource Center

2012     Award for Research Excellence, Johns Hopkins Center for Nanomedicine

2005     Frank and Doris Culbertson Endowed Scholarship, NC State University

2005     Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Society, Inducted

2005     Master Certification, College Reading and Learning Association

2004     Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, Inducted

1998     Good Citizen Award, Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington D.C.


  1. Kannan R., Kannan S., Nance E., Blue M., Johnston M.V., Baumgartner W., Zhang F., Wilson M.A., Slusher B. (2017). Dendrimer compositions and use in treatment of neurological and cns disorders. US 20170232120 A1

  2. Hanes J., Nance E., Woodworth G. (2019). Rapid diffusion of large polymeric nanoparticles in the mammalian brain. USPTO 10307372

WChE Logo.png

Women in Chemical Engineering

In January 2016, Elizabeth founded Women in Chemical Engineering (WChE), an organization for graduate and undergraduate student women ChemEs, and their male allies, focused on empowering, strengthening, and promoting the network of women ChemEs across all levels, while not enabling self-stereotyping or stereotype threat.

The organization's first chapter started at UW. The 2nd chapter was founded in 2018 at the University of Virginia, and the 3rd chapter was founded in 2019 at the University of Southern California.


If you are interested in starting a WChE chapter at your institution, please contact eanance@uw.edu

To learn more, go to www.wcheuw.com


UW Chemical Engineering Departmental service

2020                   Graduate admissions application reviewer, Ad hoc

2020                   Undergraduate admissions application reviewer, Ad hoc

2020 – present  Committee Chairs Advisory Council, Member

2019 – 2020       Faculty Search Committee, Co-Chair

2019 – present  Undergraduate Affairs Committee, Member

2018 – present  Departmental Diversity Committee, Chair

2018 – 2019       Faculty Search Committee, Member

2017 – 2018       Faculty Search Committee, Member

2017 – present  Microscopy Shared Laboratory, Lead

2016 – 2017       Strategic Planning Committee – Health and Medicine in ChemE, Member

2016 – present  Annual Industry Event Committee, Lead/Faculty Advisor

2016 – present  Women in Chemical Engineering (WChE), Seattle WA, Founder, Faculty Advisor

2016 – 2020       Discovery Days Department Committee, Co-Chair

2016 – 2018       Departmental Diversity Committee, Member

2016 – present  Pre-health track, Faculty Advisor

2015 – 2019       ABET committee: undergraduate curriculum accreditation, Member

2015 – 2020       Department Seminar Series, Committee Co-Chair


UW College of Engineering service

2020                 COE Strategic Planning, Steering Committee Member

2020                 COE Awards, Reviewer

2016 – present  Engineering Discovery Days, Faculty Participant and Exhibit Leader

2016 – 2018      NSF STARS Scholarship grant, Faculty Mentor

2016 – 2017      UW SWE Welcome night, Speaker


University of Washington service

2020                 UW STARS Program, Research Supervisor

2018                 UW Royalty Research Fund, Ad hoc Reviewer

2017 – 2019      Pre-Health Planning: Getting Great Recommendation Letters, Panelist

2017 – 2019      Faculty Senate Chair’s Council

2016 – present  Interdisciplinary Training Grant in Cancer, Steering committee member

2016 – present  STEMM Prep program, Distance Learning Center, Research Mentor

2016 – 2019      UW Goldwater Candidate Selection Committee, Member

2016 – 2018      UW WiSE Bridge-Up Summer Research Program, Research Mentor

2016 – 2018      UW Math Academy, Workshop host

2015 – 2018      Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE), UW Chapter, Seattle WA, Faculty Mentor, speaker

Editorial Responsibilities

2020 – 2021      Springer Publishing, Book Editor: Engineered Biomaterials for Neural Applications

2018 – 2019      Science Translational Medicine Associate Scientific Advisor


Proposal Reviewer

2019                 Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research, Ad hoc Reviewer

2019                 Arkansas Breast Cancer Research Program Pilot Award Program, Ad hoc Reviewer

2019                 NIH National Center for Advancing Translation Sciences Clinical and Translational Science Awards 

                         Program, Ad hoc Reviewer

2019                 National Science Centre (Poland), Ad hoc Reviewer

2019                 Charles Hood Foundation, Ad hoc Reviewer

2018                 Luxembourg National Research Fund, Ad hoc Reviewer

2018                 NSF BMAT Division Study Section, Rotating Member

2018                 NSF GRFP Reviewer

2017                 NSF CISE Division Study Section, Rotating Member

2017 – 2020      ITHS TL-1 Fellowship Selection Committee, Reviewer

2016 – present UW-Fred Hutch Interdisciplinary Training Grant in Cancer, Reviewer

Conference and Professional Society Organization

2020 – 2022      Controlled Release Society Central Nervous System Focus Group, co-founder and vice chair

2020                  AIChE Chemical Engineers in Medicine: Topical, Programming committee

2019 – 2020      AIChE Molecular and Materials Data Science: Topical, Programming committee

2019 – 2021      AIChE Area 22B Co-Chair (two-year term), Programming committee

Recent Conference Session Chairing

2020                 AIChE Chemical Engineering Principles Advancing Medicine Session, Topical Conference on 

                         Chemical Engineers in Medicine, Co-Chair

2020                 AIChE Applications of Data Science to High Throughput Experimentation Session, Topical

                         Conference in Molecular and Materials Data Science, Co-Chair

2020                 AIChE Topical Plenary: Topical Conference in Molecular and Materials Data Science (Invited Talks),


2020                 AIChE Bionanotechnology: Plenary (Invited Talks), Co-Chair

2020                 AIChE Bionanotechnology Graduate Student Award Sessions I and II, Co-Chair

2019                 AIChE Bionanotechnology: Plenary (Invited Talks), Graduate Student Award Sessions I and II, Co-


2019                 AIChE Medical Devices II Session, Topical Conference on Chemical Engineers in Medicine, Co-Chair

2019                 AIChE Topical Plenary: Topical Conference in Molecular and Materials Data Science (Invited Talks),


2018                 AIChE Bionanotechnology Graduate Student Award Sessions I and II, Drug and Gene delivery

                         Sessions I and II, Co-Chair

2017                 AIChE Bionanotechnology Drug and Gene delivery Sessions I and II, Co-Chair

2017                 Controlled Release Society Annual Meeting, Overcoming Biological Barriers Session, Chair

2016                 AIChE Bionanotechnology Drug and Gene delivery I and II, Session Co-Chair

Journal Referee 

Accounts of Chemical Research

ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

ACS Nano

ACS Omega

ACS Sensors

Acta Biomaterials

Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews

Analytical Chemistry


Cell Biology and Toxicology

Current Drug Metabolism

Environmental International

FASEB Journal

International Journal of Pharmaceutics

Journal of Controlled Release

Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology

Journal of Neuroinflammation

Journal of Reproductive Immunology


Nano Research



Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine

Neurochemistry International



Science Advances

Scientific Reports

Science Translational Medicine


Community service

2020                   Experiences of Black STEM in the Ivory: A Call for Disruptive Action, organizing committee

2019 – present  USC Women in Chemical Engineering Chapter, Palo Alto, CA, external advisor

2018 – present  UVA Women in Chemical Engineering Chapter, Charlottesville VA, external advisor

2018 – 2020       STEM Career Fair, Bellevue School System, Bellevue WA, Speaker, event consultant

2016 – present  Faculty candidate mentor 

2015 – 2017       STEM Career Fair, Bellevue School System, Bellevue WA, Panelist

2013 – 2015       Children’s Science Center, Herndon VA, Science Writer, Communications and Marketing

2013 – 2014       Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Bethesda MD, Member, Revenue Strategic Action Team

2012 – 2013       Thread (formerly Incentive Mentoring Program), Baltimore MD, Director of Post-Graduate Affairs, 

2008 – 2015       Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Bethesda MD, Member, Maryland Chapter Fundraising

2008 – 2010       Incentive Mentoring Program (IMP, now Thread), Baltimore MD, High School Family Director

2003 – 2005       Prevent High School DropOut (PHD) Mentoring Program, Raleigh NC, Director

1996 – 1999       Loaves and Fishes, Charlotte NC, Mecklenburg County Food Drive Organizer