Wayne Macrophage Therapeutics Lab

macrophagesThe Wayne lab develops 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. The outcomes of these studies will be used to drive macrophage cell-based drug delivery and therapy prediction models.


Elizabeth Wayne

Elizabeth Wayne

Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering

Elizabeth Wayne’s current research focuses on drug delivery for cancer treatment, specifically the use of microphages to deliver therapeutic genes to solid tumors. Wayne has received a number of awards and recognitions as both a speaker and an advocate for the inclusion of women in STEM. In 2017, she was recognized as a TED Fellow for both her cancer nanotechnology research, and her podcast PhDivas, which works to amplify the voices of women in higher education by interviewing women who have or are pursuing doctorate degrees. Her writing and research have been featured in a number of publications, including The Los Angeles Times, Bust Magazine, and more.

Doherty Hall 3122
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Elizabeth Wayne

Research projects


Media mentions

Chemical Engineering

Making sense of too much data

With hundreds of research papers published each day, synthesizing all of the available information for literature reviews has become increasingly difficult. Now, professors and librarians at Carnegie Mellon University are teaming up to find and teach unique techniques to uncover pertinent information for academic studies.


Wayne co-authors Nature commentary

ChemE’s Elizabeth Wayne co-authored an article in Nature arguing the need to consider ancestry in cell samples for medical research because ancestral differences are present in many diseases.

Chemical Engineering

Wayne awarded NIH R35 grant for macrophage polarization research

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Wayne has been awarded an NIH R35 grant, otherwise known as the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA), providing her lab with the resources needed to develop bioluminescence microscopy technology to measure macrophage polarization.

Chemical Engineering

Student spotlight: Dasia Aldarondo

During a high school summer camp, Dasia Aldarondo fell in love with the campus, environment, and research opportunities at Carnegie Mellon University. Today, she is a 3rd year Ph.D. student and a GEMS Fellow, developing targeted nanoparticles to terminate disease-causing genes.

CMU Engineering

Celebrating Black in Microbiology Week

Chemical Engineering’s Kishana Taylor is hosting the first Black in Microbiology week, a unique program that aims to highlight Black scientists and their contributions to the field of microbiology.

CMU Engineering

A new perspective in the fight against COVID-19

Elizabeth Wayne has received funding through the NSF RAPID program to study an often-ignored cellular factor in the mortality rate of COVID-19.

the Accelerator

College of Engineering announces Catalyst 2020 winners

The College of Engineering is pleased to announce that the College will fund three Catalyst proposals as winners of the Catalyst 2020 competition.

PBS Newshour

Wayne featured on PBS News Hour’s Brief but Spectacular

ChemE’s Elizabeth Wayne was featured on PBS News Hour’s Brief but Spectacular about the importance of representation and being a role model.

Chemical Engineering

Elizabeth Wayne joins ChemE/BME faculty

Beginning in Fall 2019, Dr. Elizabeth Wayne will be joining the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University as an assistant professor of Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.

The Atlantic

Wayne quoted in The Atlantic on cancer treatment

On a panel at Aspen Ideas: Health, BME/ChemE’s Elizabeth Wayne pointed out that many current cancer treatments were derived from things originally intended to kill people.


Wayne featured in Nature

ChemE’s Elizabeth Wayne was featured in a Nature Career Feature article on overcoming social and financial obstacles in science and engineering.


Wayne gives TED talk

ChemE’s Elizabeth Wayne gave a TED talk about how to hack our immune cells to fight cancer.

Research team

Dasia Aldarondo

Dasia Aldarondo


Hannah Fox

Hannah Fox




Research publications

  • Valantine H, Travis, E, El-Adhami W, Vernos I, Mosqueda L, Wayne EC et al. A giant leap for womankind. Nat Med 25, 704–707 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0446-y
  • Wayne EC, Long C, Li Y, Leisner T, Parise L, Batrakova E, Kabanov AV. Delivery of therapeutic siRNA nanocomplexes to breast cancer using macrophages as vehicles. (2019) Advanced Science. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/advs.201900582
  • Vinod N, Hwang D, Azam SH, Van Swearingen AED, Wayne EC, Fussell SC, Sokolsky-Papkov M, Pecot CV, Kabanov AV. High Capacity poly(2-oxazoline) formulation of TLRA 7/8 extends survival in chemo-insensitive, metastatic model of Lung Adenocarcinoma. Submitted. Bioxriv (2019). Science Translational Medicine. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2019.12.12.874198v1
  • Crawford LA, Watkins HC, Wayne EC, Putnam D. Exploitation of P-glycoprotein Agonists to Retain Nanoparticles in the Brain Capillaries. (2019) Regenerative Engineering and Translational Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40883-019-00111-8
  • Wayne, EC, Chandrasekaran, S, Mitchell, MJ, Chan MF, Lee, RE, Schaffer, CB, & King, MR (2016). TRAIL-coated leukocytes that prevent the bloodborne metastasis of prostate cancer. Journal of Controlled Release. Journal of Controlled Release, 223, 215–223. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jconrel.2015.12.048  Featured on Journal Cover. Citations: 21
  • Mitchell MJ, Wayne EC, Rana K, Schaffer CB, King MR. (2014) TRAIL-Coated Leukocytes that Kill Cancer Cells in the Circulation. PNAS 111(3) 930–935, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1316312111  Citations: 103
  • Rosenthal JA, Huang C-J, Doody AM, Leung T, Mineta K, Feng D, Wayne EC, Nozomi Nishimura, Cynthia Leifer, Matthew P. DeLisa, Susana Mendez, David Putnam. (2014) Mechanistic Insight into the TH1-Biased Immune Response to Recombinant Subunit Vaccines Delivered by Probiotic Bacteria-Derived Outer Membrane Vesicles. PLoS ONE 9(11): e112802. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0112802  Citations: 26


  • King MR, Mitchell MJ, Rana K, Wayne EC, Schaffer CB, Chandrasekaran S. Method to functionalize cells in human blood, other fluids and tissues using nanoparticles. (2016) Publication No. 2016-0184395.

Join our team

Want to join our team? We are looking for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows just like you! If you have questions please send an introductory email with a description of interest and a resume/CV to Elizabeth Wayne.

Newsletter and podcast

Sign up for the Wayne Macrophage Therapeutics Newsletter.

Listen to Elizabeth Wayne’s podcast: PhDivas