The Nance Lab

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

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Current Available Positions

UPDATED: December 8, 2019


Graduate: WE ARE RECRUITING 2-3 PHD STUDENTS FOR FALL 2020! You must be accepted into a doctoral program at the University of Washington - application deadlines are Dec 15, 2019. If you are accepted into ChemE, then placement is through a matching process in the fall quarter of your first year. MolES and BioE have a rotation program and placement is determined based on what labs you chose to rotate through during your 1st year. You can apply to both the ChemE and MolES program, or BioE program. If you are an MSTP student and interested in the lab, please email me ( directly.


ChemE PhD Admissions: WE ARE GRE OPTIONAL, meaning you do not need to submit your GRE scores as part of your application - put that $27 to something more useful - we do not look at GRE scores or evaluate GRE scores in our admissions review. The ChemE department is well-rounded in research diversity, the graduate students are really top students, and the pacific northwest is a fantastic place to live. We perform a holistic review of all applications, and our average incoming PhD student has an undergraduate GPA near 3.8 or equivalent. The department is competitive, so in addition to having a high GPA, it is also critical to have previous research experience, and strong recommendation letters.  If you have any questions, please contact Allison Sherrill at

Undergraduate: We are currently looking for 1-2 undergraduate researchers to join our group. Please see the expectations outlined below for undergraduates to work in the lab. An email will be sent out the first-second week of January to those who have emailed or are on Chemical Engineering department list serves.  Applications will be reviewed by a team of current Nance lab grads, and interviews will be scheduled for January/February.

Postdoctoral: We are currently pending funding on several grants. We will post 1-2 postdoc positions upon confirmation of that funding. These positions will seek expertise in live cell or live tissue imaging, hands-on experience with animal models of non-cancer disease, and an interest in biological assessment techniques. 

Joining Our Team

We are a new lab looking 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, pediatrics, neurology, infectious disease, physiology and radiology. We collaborate extensively with the clinicians in the above medical fields. Individuals who join our lab must be dedicated to continual learning and bring both technical expertise and strong communication skills.

Postdoctoral Fellows and Technicians

We will be seeking applicants for postdoctoral positions pending funding.  For postdoctoral applicants, we are looking for dedicated individuals who have an interest in model development and characterization, with backgrounds in non-cancer in vivo studies, and individuals who have a background in nanotechnology 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.

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 submitted an application to chemical engineering, materials science, bioengineering, MolES, 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.

 Also, please e-mail Dr. Nance to let her know you have applied, which department you applied to, and highlight your primary research interests.

Undergraduate Researchers

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. Research opportunities are available on a volunteer or credit basis.

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.

  • During the academic quarters, spending 5-­10 hours per week working on research (including weekly meetings). 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 weekly research 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!