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Elizabeth Nance

Faculty Photo

Chemical Engineering Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies

Jagjeet and Janice Bindra Endowed Career Development Professor
Chemical Engineering

Adjunct Associate Professor
Radiology, UW School of Medicine

Associate Professor

Pronouns: she/her

  • |    
  • (206) 543-2216
  • BNS 243
  • Nance Lab


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 and transport of nanoparticles in healthy and diseased perinatal/neonatal models of inflammation-induced brain injury; (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) systems-level analysis of inflammation through characterization of glial cell phenotype and motility, mRNA levels, behavior, and blood-brain barrier impairment.


  • Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2012
  • B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University, 2006

Previous appointments

  • Hartwell Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Anesthesiology & Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, 2013 – 2015,

Research Statement

We integrate in vitro to in vivo models with imaging, molecular biology, and data science tools to extract statistically relevant information that captures changes in the brain that might influence how a therapeutic behaves. We have used the information gathered from application of these tools to design nano-based therapeutics that can achieve region and cell-specific targeting in the brain for improved neuroprotection in a variety of brain injury models. 

Select publications

  1. Yellepedi V, Joseph A., Nance E. Pharmacokinetics of Nanotechnology-Based Formulations in Pediatric Populations. Adv Drug. Del. Rev. (2019).
  2. Zhang M, Bishop B., Thompson N., Hildahl K., Dang B., Mironchuk O., Chen N. , Aoki R., Holmberg V., Nance E. Systematic evaluation of CdSe-quantum dot toxicity and cellular uptake in the developing brain. Nanoscale advances (2019).
  3. Nance E. Careers in nanomedicine and drug delivery. Adv. Drug. Del. Rev. (2019)
  4. Millik S.C., Dostie A.M., Karis D.G., Smith P.T., Mckenna M., Chan N., Curtis C.D., Nance E., Theberge A.B., Nelson A. 3D printed coaxial nozzles for extrusion of hydrogel tubes toward modeling vascular endothelium. Biofabrication (2019) 11, 045009.
  5. Curtis C., Rokem A., Nance E. Diff_classifier: Particle tracking parallelization. Journal Open Source Software (2019) 4(36):989
  6. Curtis C., Toghani D., Wong B., Nance E. Colloidal stability as a determinant of nanoparticle behavior in the brain. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces (2018) 170, 673-682.
  7. Joseph A., Wood T., Chen C-C., Corry K., Juul S., Snyder J., Parikh P., Nance E. Curcumin-loaded brain penetrating nanoparticles for treatment of neonatal hypoxia-ischemia encephalopathy. Nano Research (2018) 11(10): 5670-5688. 
  8. Nance E., Kambhampati S.P., Smith E.S. Zhang Z., Zhang F., Singh S., Johnston M.V., Rangaramanujam K., Blue M.E., Kannan S. Dendrimer-mediated delivery of N-acetyl cysteine to microglia in a mouse model of Rett Syndrome.  J. Neuroinflammation (2017) 14(1): 252
  9. Smith J., Sprenger K., Liao R., Joseph A., Nance E., Pfaendtner J. Determining Dominant Driving Forces Affecting Controlled Protein Release from Polymeric Nanoparticles. Biointerphases (2017) 12(2):02D412
  10. Nance E. Brain penetrating nanoparticles for analysis of the brain microenvironment. Methods Mol. Biol. (2017) 1570:91-104 
  11. Curtis C., Zhang M., Liao R., Wood T., Nance E. Systems-level thinking for nanoparticle-mediated therapeutic delivery to neurological diseases. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Nanomed Nanobiotechnol. (2016)
  12. Nance E., Zhang F., Mishra M.K., Zhang Z., Kambhampati S.P., Kannan R., Kannan S. Nanoscale effects in dendrimer-mediated targeting of neuroinflammation. Biomaterials (2016) 101:96-107
  13. Nance E., Porambo M., Mishra M.K., Zhang F., Buelow M., Getzenberg R., Johnston M., Kannan R., Fatermi S-A, Kannan S. Systemic dendrimer-drug treatment of ischemia-induced neonatal white matter injury. J Control. Release, (2015) 214: 112-120
  14. Nance E., Zhang C., Shih T-Y, Xu Q., Schuster B., Hanes J. Brain penetrating nanoparticles improve paclitaxel efficacy in malignant gliomas following local administration. ACS Nano (2014) 8(10):10655-10664
  15. Nance E., Timbie K., Miller W.G., Song J., Louttit C., Klibanov A.L., Shih T-Y, Swaminathan G., Tamargo R.J., Woodworth G., Hanes J., Price R.J. Noninvasive delivery of stealth, brain-penetrating nanoparticles across the blood-brain barrier using MRI-guided focused ultrasound. J Control. Release, (2014) 189:123-132.
  16. Nance E., Woodworth G., Sailor K., Shih T-Y, Swaminathan G., Xiang D., Eberhart C., Hanes J. A dense poly(ethylene glycol) coating improves penetration of large  polymeric nanoparticles within brain tissue. Sci. Transl. Med. (2012) 4, 149ra119

Honors & awards

  • Distinguished Young Alumni Award, NCSU Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (2021)
  • Presidential Early Career Achievement in Science & Engineering (PECASE) award (2019)
  • UW Undergraduate Research Mentor Award (2019)
  • UW Faculty Appreciation for Career Education & Training Award (2019)
  • UW College of Engineering Junior Faculty Award (2019)
  • Association of Women in Science (AWIS) Early Career Achievement Award in STEM (2018)
  • 45 Under 45 Young Innovator Award in Nanobiotechnology (2018)
  • NANOMED Young Inspiring Scientist (2018)
  • Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 for Science & Medicine (2015)
  • Controlled Release Society Paper of the Year (2015)
  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at Scientific Interfaces (2014)