Alumni Spotlight: Elizabeth Wayne, Ph.D. 2016

Liz Wayne

NOTE: Since this spotlight, Wayne was awarded NIH R35 grant for macrophage polarization researchspoke to PBS News hour about the power of role models who looks like you, was awarded a TED Fellowship for 2017 and participated with a TED talk titled "We can hack our immune cells to fight cancer." Cornell Engineering wrote a spotlight about how she is breaking rules to create a better future


Dr. Elizabeth Wayne earned her B.A. in physics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009 and her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Cornell in 2016. Through the guidance of thesis advisor, Professor Chris Schaffer, Wayne used intravital imaging techniques to understand ways in which the innate immune cells can be used to control cancer metastasis.

While at Cornell, Wayne led multiple initiatives, including the Cornell NCI Physical Sciences in Oncology Cancer Brainstorming Club and the 2013 Northeast Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics. Wayne was very active within the Cornell community; she was a Graduate Resident Fellow at Hans Bethe House on West Campus, a mentor in the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, and a Learning Specialist in the Cornell Engineering TA Training Program. She also received campus-wide recognition for her service, receiving awards such as the Alice & Constance Cook Award, Cornell Women’s Day Leadership Award, and the Cornell BME Robert I. Mozia Distinguished Service Award.

At present, Wayne is an NIH-NCI Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow in the Carolina Center for Nanotechnology Training Program at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Under the supervisor of Professor Alexander Kabanov, she is developing technology to deliver therapeutic genes to solid tumors using macrophages. In particular, her work aims to improve the efficiency of in vivo gene delivery. When she is not doing science, Wayne is currently knitting baby hats for her niece and nephews, frolicking on a nearby beach, trying to figure out how to eradicate spring as a season, and enjoying every sunrise she gets.

Wayne co-hosts PhDivas, an academic and cultural podcast that showcases the accomplishments, challenges, and daily lives of women in academia. So far it has generated over 15,000 plays from listeners all over the world. PhDivas has been featured in the Cornell Chronicle and The LA Times and content can be found on Soundcloud and iTunes.


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