Episode 71: Elizabeth Nance talks about using nanotechnology to understand and treat brain diseases

08.28.2018 - By STEM-Talk

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Our guest today has been described by Forbes magazine as one of the “most disruptive, game-changing and innovating young personalities in science.”

Dr. Elizabeth Nance is known for her passionate search to find ways to more efficiently connect resources and information across multiple scientific and engineering disciplines. Her research focuses on using nanotechnology to understand the movement of molecules in the brain. She is particularly focused on better ways to treat brain diseases like autism, stroke, traumatic brain injury and epilepsy.

Elizabeth is the Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington. She also has an adjunct appointment in the school’s radiology department. Elizabeth and her lab, the Nance Lab, recently was awarded a $1.8-million-dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop quantitative, high resolution imaging and analysis platforms to understand nanoparticle behavior, with a specific focus on the brain.

In today’s episode, we discuss:

The pushback Elizabeth received in college when she tried to apply chemical engineering to neurological diseases. [00:11:33]
How Elizabeth developed the first nanoparticles that could penetrate deep within the brain. [00:13:52]
The many potential applications of nanoparticle technology in the treatment of neurological disorders, diseases and injuries. [00:17:10]
The structure, and unique functions of the blood-brain barrier. [00:28:11]
The dendrimer-NAC conjugates, and how they increase intracellular glutathione to reduce injury in the inflamed brain. [00:35:01]
How “disease directing engineering” has the potential to allow for the leveraging of common hallmarks of neurological disease to better deliver therapies. [00:40:19]
How change in brain metabolism affects targeted therapeutic deliveries to a specific region of the brain. [00:52:14]

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