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Current Available Positions

UPDATED: January 2024

Graduate: Applications for Fall 2023 are closed. Students who are accepted at UW in ChemE, BioE, or MolES PhD programs will have the opportunity to meet with Prof. Nance and Nance lab members, and discuss specific project details in September-November 2023. Rotations for BioE or MolE students are not available until Winter or Spring 2024 and are discussed on a case by case basis. 

If you are an MSTP (MD/PhD) student and interested in the lab, please email Dr. Nance ( directly.

Postdoctoral: We currently have postdoc positions available through the Invent @ Seattle Children's program. Please review the eligibility criteria and the requirements for the application process: Submit your application through Invent@Seattle Children's application process to be considered. 

Undergraduates:  We have two positions available. The projects are described below. If you are interested in applying for these positions, please read the undergraduate expectations listed below and complete the following application form by Friday January 26 at 10pm:

Project 1 Title: Sustainable, scalable bacterial cellulose nanoparticles for drug delivery to the brain


Project Description: Sustainable nanomedicine is an emerging interdisciplinary field where biodegradable and biocompatible materials are of interest for therapeutic outcomes, specifically drug delivery to the brain. Sustainable formulation practices and the use of eco-friendly materials can make these therapeutics easily scalable and reproducible for commercial manufacturing. Bacterial cellulose nanoparticles (BCNPs) address these issues and have the potential to be a therapeutic to deliver drugs to the brain. In this project, the student will have the opportunity to prepare bacterial cellulose nanoparticles, experiment with drug loading techniques and assays, and apply therapeutics to ex vivo brain slice models. The student will investigate therapeutic effects and foundational information on BCNPs using confocal microscopy, ultraviolet spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, and high-performance liquid chromatography characterization and analysis techniques.


Techniques: experimental design, bacterial cellulose nanoparticle preparation, drug loading and analysis, bicinchoninic acid assay, ex vivo brain slice culturing, confocal microscopy, ultraviolet spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, high performance liquid chromatography



Project 2 Title: Tuning the chemical and physical properties of bacterial cellulose nanoparticles for effective drug delivery


Project Description: Many FDA approved materials in nanomedicine involve chemically intensive syntheses and are difficult to manufacture at the kilogram scale. We have recently developed bacterial cellulose nanoparticles as a therapeutic platform that can potentially be scaled to large quantities and be used to deliver drugs to the injured newborn brain. In this project, to demonstrate therapeutic effects of BCNPs, the student will incorporate curcumin, a naturally occurring small hydrophobic molecule with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, into the BCNPs, and potentially show reduced inflammation and brain injury in the neonatal hypoxic ischemic brain. The student will perform surface chemical modifications upon the BCNPs to incorporate the curcumin and investigate its therapeutic effects in healthy and unhealthy ex vivo brain slice models. By incorporating curcumin into BCNPs, the student will show the versatility of BCNPs in targeted therapeutics for treating critical diseases.


Techniques: experimental design, surface chemistry reactions, bacterial cellulose nanoparticle preparation, drug loading and analysis, bicinchoninic acid assay, ex vivo brain slice culturing, confocal microscopy, ultraviolet spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, high performance liquid chromatography

High School students: Our TEXTILE summer program call for applications is closed! Stay tuned for the 2024 application, which will open in Winter 2024.

Joining Our Team

We look for hard-working, independent, and creative individuals who are passionate about finding ways to better our understanding of, and our technology for, treating complex diseases, specifically those in the brain.

We work as a close-knit team to address the challenging needs of treating neurological diseases. Our work includes individuals from diverse backgrounds and expertise, including in chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, materials science, biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, pediatrics, neurology, infectious disease, physiology and radiology. We collaborate extensively with the clinicians in these medical fields. Individuals who join our lab must be dedicated to continual learning, and to skill development in technical expertise and strong communication.

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Postdoctoral Fellows and Technicians

For postdoctoral applicants, we are looking for dedicated individuals who have an interest in developing therapeutics for children, with backgrounds in non-cancer in vivo studies, and individuals who have a background in nanotechnology or biomaterials synthesis/formulation and applications.

It is of significant interest to hire postdocs who have their own funding. For potential funding applications, please check out our scholarship and funding opportunities page.

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Doctoral and Master's Candidates

If you are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. or thesis M.S. at the University of Washington, please review our website to become familiar with our mission, prior publications, and current research. We accept graduate students from those individuals who have been accepted to chemical engineering, MolES, bioengineering, or one of the health sciences programs at UW.

If you apply, please make sure you describe in your application how your past academic, industry and/or research experiences fit with our lab’s mission and your future career goals. Please e-mail Prof. Nance to let her know you have applied, which department you applied to, and highlight your primary research interests.

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Undergraduate Researchers

You do not need prior research experience or experience in our labs research areas of interest to join the Nance lab. Participating in research can give you an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you are learning in the classroom to important clinical challenges. Research is challenging ­by definition; most of what you will be doing has never been done before. As such, we are looking for students who are self-­starters, independent, and willing to explore uncharted territory, and who are willing to embrace failing (in a safe space!). Research opportunities are available on a volunteer or credit basis. Prof. Nance provides extensive support to students to secure research fellowships and scholarships. Please see our Personnel and Lab Alumni pages to get a sense of what scholarships and fellowships our undergraduate research members have received in past years.


Our general expectations for undergraduate researchers include:

  • Dedicating a minimum of three quarters to volunteer in the lab. During the academic year, classes are your top priority. These are challenging projects and three quarters will give you the time to dive in and make significant contributions to research. We prefer at least one summer of commitment.

  • No participation in full-time research in another lab

  • During the academic quarters, spending an average of 10 hours per week working on research (including weekly meetings) - some weeks will be more and some weeks will be less, based on your schedule and project status. We know that classes, work, and other extracurricular activities keep your schedule busy. Ask yourself if you have time to responsibly dedicate to pursuing research.

  • Participating in monthly working group meetings. You should come prepared to these meetings with slides or other handouts to share your progress, discuss challenges, and help your peers with their research.

  • Helping with outreach activities. We ask for volunteers from the lab to help with tours and share their experiences with events focused on engaging K-12 students.

  • Keeping clear documentation and a lab notebook. Others will likely be building upon and learning from your work in the future. Thus it is important that everyone keeps clear notes (including comments in any computer code) so that you can easily share what you have done.

  • Defining clear goals and outcomes. We aim for everyone to produce a final report, abstract, or other publication based upon their project. We will work with you to help define these goals for your specific project and career goals!

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