Carnegie Mellon University

Elizabeth Wayne

Dr. Elizabeth Wayne

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering

  • Doherty Hall 3122
Doherty Hall 3122
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


  • BA, University of Pennsylvania, Physics, 2009
  • MS, Cornell University, Biomedical Engineering, 2013
  • PhD, Cornell University, Biomedical Engineering, 2016
  • Postdoctoral Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2015-2019


Elizabeth Wayne is an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering. Professor Wayne received her B.A. in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University. She was subsequently a postdoctoral fellow in the NCI T32 Cancer Nanotechnology Training Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy working under the supervision of Professor Alexander Kabanov. where she developed adipose tissue engineered models. Her lab at CMU focuses on using macrophages as tools for diagnostic evaluation and drug delivery carriers in cancer and regenerative medicine. Her advocacy has been featured in Nature Medicine and Nature Careers and she is a 2017 TED Fellow.


Macrophage polarization is tightly intertwined into the progression of many pathologies such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, tuberculosis, and regeneration/would healing processes.  Macrophages are key members of the innate immune system that phagocytose foreign pathogens and apoptotic cells and communicate with the adaptive immune system. In addition, macrophages are spatially and functionally heterogeneous cells; each organ has a specialized set of macrophages and within that local environment their activity is modulated in response to stimuli. This dynamic relationship presents a unique opportunity for monitoring therapy pharmacodynamics. The Wayne laboratory works to understand how macrophage activation can be used to interpret drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics during disease progression and tissue regeneration. This involves the development or optical imaging techniques and novel experimental systems to decipher the principles driving macrophage activation phenomena from the genetic to multicellular scales, including intrinsic macrophage functionality, extracellular environmental cues, and drug/gene delivery nanoformulations.

Research Interests: macrophages; immunoengineering; drug & gene delivery; cancer; biomaterials


Awards and Recognition

  • TED Fellow 2017
  • NCI Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA T32 Fellowship 2016-2019
  • Cornell CMM Young Investigator Award 2012