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Faculty & research

Nancy Allbritton

Faculty Photo


Frank and Julie Jungers Endowed Dean
College of Engineering


Dr. Nancy L. Allbritton joined the University of Washington as the Frank & Julie Jungers Dean of Engineering in November 2019. In this role, she serves as the chief academic officer of the College — a top-15 nationally ranked public university program with annual research expenditures exceeding $159 million — and provides leadership to over 279 faculty and more than 8,000 students. Under her leadership the College launched an inclusive and wide-ranging strategic planning effort; advanced initiatives to build an inclusive and equitable environment for learning, research, service and outreach; and furthered plans to construct a student focused new facility, the Interdisciplinary Engineering Building, to help address growth in student enrollment.

Allbritton is an international expert on multiplexed single-cell assays, microfabricated platforms for high-content cytometry combined with cell sorting, and microengineered stem-cell-based systems for recapitulating human organ-level function. Four companies have been formed based on her research discoveries: Protein Simple (acquired by Bio-Techne in 2014), Intellego, Cell Microsystems, and Altis Biosystems. Allbritton holds an appointment in the UW’s Department of Bioengineering. She has been nationally recognized for her research and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors. 


  • Ph.D. Medical Physics/Medical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1987
  • M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1985
  • B.S. Physics, Louisiana State University, 1979

Previous appointments

  • Kenan Professor and Chair, Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, 2009-2019
  • Kenan Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Pharmacology, Materials Science and Engineering, Applied Physical Sciences, Molecular Pharmaceutics, 2007-2009
  • Professor, University of California at Irvine, Departments of Physiology and Biophysics, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, 1994-2007
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University, 1989-1994

Research Statement

Allbritton’s research interests are multidisciplinary and bring together principles and techniques from chemistry, physics, engineering and materials science to develop new assays and technologies for biomedical and clinical applications. Her lab focuses on three key areas:

     Analytical techniques for single-cell biochemical assays

     Microfabricated platforms for high-throughput cytometry and isolation of cells for genetic analyses and cloning

     Microengineered systems for recapitulating organ level function

Many of the lab’s projects and collaborations involve developing and applying new technologies for oncology, gastrointestinal diseases and stem cell research.

Select publications

  1. Hinman, S.S., Wang, Y., Kim, R., Allbritton, N.L. 2021. In Vitro Generation of Self-Renewing Human Intestinal Epithelia over Planar and Shaped Collagen Hydrogels. Nature Protocols. 16:352–382.
  2. Petersen, B.V., Gallion, L., Allbritton, N.L., 2020. Silicon Photomultipliers as a Low-Cost Fluorescence Detector for Capillary Electrophoresis. Analytical Chemistry. 92:13683–13687.
  3. Wheeler, E.C., Vu, A.Q., DiSalvo, M., Einstein, J.M., Ahmed, N., Jin, W., Allbritton, N.L., Yeo, G.W. 2020. Pooled CRISPR screens with image-based phenotyping on microRaft arrays reveals stress granule-regulatory factors. Nature Methods. 17:636-642.
  4. Hinman, S.S., Wang, Y., Allbritton, N.L. 2019. Photopatterned Membranes and Chemical Gradients Enable Scalable Phenotypic Organization of PrimaryHuman Colon Epithelial Models. Anal. Chem. 91:15240-15247.
  5. Kim, R., Attayek, P.J., Wang, Y., Furtado, K.L., Tamayo, R., Sims, C.E., Allbritton, N.L. 2019. An in vitro intestinal platform with a self-sustaining oxygen gradient to study the human gut/microbiome interface. Biofabrication. 12:015006.

Honors & awards

  • 2024 Elected to the National Academy of Engineering
  • 2020 Elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences
  • 2020 Ralph Adams Award in Bioanalytical Chemistry
  • 2019 Hector Lopez Memorial Lecturer, National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
  • 2018 Distinguished Lecturer, North Carolina Section of the American Chemical Society
  • 2017 Recipient of Edward Kidder Graham Award for Leadership and Service to University of North Carolina and the State of North Carolina
  • 2017 University of North Carolina “Inventor of the Year” Award
  • 2016 ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry, Award in in Chemical Instrumentation
  • 2015 Elected as a Fellow, American Association of Advancement of Science
  • 2015 Elected as a Fellow, National Academy of Inventors
  • 2010 Elected as a Fellow, American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering