Elizabeth Nance, Ph.D.

Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering; Adjunct, Radiology

Affiliated faculty: eSciences Institute; Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute; Center for Human Development and Disability; Interdisciplinary Center for Exposures, Diseases, Genetics, and Environment

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. 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.

Selected Awards

2019                    Presidential Early Career Achievement in Science & Engineering (PECASE) award, "the

highest honor bestowed by the United States Government to outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers and who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology"

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, for"exemplifying excellence in research and education"

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

2018                    Young Innovator Award in Nanobiotechnology, Named by Nano Research Editorial


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


2015                    Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 for Science & Medicine, named as as one of the “most

disruptive, game-changing and innovating young personalities in science.”

2015                    Controlled Release Society Paper of the Year Award

2014-2019           Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at Scientific Interfaces Awardee (<3% awarded)

2014                    Johns Hopkins Center for Nanomedicine Award for Research Excellence

2014                    Society of Critical Care Medicine Annual Scientific Award Winner

2013                    JHU Anesthesiology/Critical Care Medicine Annual Research Award Winner

2013-2015           Hartwell Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, Awarded to 10 fellows in the country

2012                     Johns Hopkins Center for Nanomedicine Award for Research Excellence

2005-2006            Frank and Doris Culbertson Endowed Scholarship (NC State)

1998                      Daughters of American Revolution Good Citizen Award


  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


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. 

The Nance Lab

Department of Chemical Engineering
University of Washington
Box 351750
3781 Okanogan Lane NE 
Seattle, WA, 98195-1750


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