Chemical and Materials Engineering

Dr. Janet A. W. Elliott


Canada Research Chair in Thermodynamics
Fellow Chemical Institute of Canada
Fellow Society for Cryobiology
Fellow American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering

Office: 12th floor Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering
9211 - 116 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T6G 1H9
Phone: 780.492.7963
Fax: 780.492.2881

Research Areas:

  • Thermodynamics (equilibrium and nonequilibrium (transport), statistical and continuum)
  • Colloids and Surfaces
  • Cryobiology and Cryopreservation

Broad thermodynamic interests include: fundamental concepts in Gibbsian thermodynamics, mathematics of functions, combining thermodynamics with fluid mechanics, and combining thermodynamic insight with experimental data to develop descriptions of states and processes for a wide range of applications.

Colloidal and surface thermodynamics interests include: drops, bubbles, adsorption, solidification of colloidal suspensions, microfluidic drop concentrating processes, wetting, superhydrophobic surfaces, evaporation, nucleation, freezing and liquid or vapour nucleation in confined geometries, interfacial and membrane transport, capillarity in gravitational fields, thermodynamics of solutions and suspensions, and nanoscale science.

Cryobiology is the study of the effect of extremely low temperatures on biological systems, with a major application being the preservation of cells and tissues for medical transplantation and use in research. Dr. Elliott runs a collaborative, interdisciplinary cryobiology research group jointly with Dr. Locksley McGann in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. Their interests include experimental and computational cryobiology and cryopreservation of many cell and tissue types for medical and biotechnology applications. Their work encompasses fundamental and applied research, from cryobiological thermodynamics and transport through to clinical implementation.


Dr. Elliott obtained her B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science (Engineering Physics Option) and her M.A.Sc. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Toronto. She has been a Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the Oxford Centre for Collaborative Applied Mathematics.

Dr. Elliott currently serves as Associate Editor of the journal Cryobiology, on the Editorial Advisory Boards of The Journal of Physical Chemistry and Langmuir, and on the Editorial Board of Advances in Colloid and Interface Science. She has served on scientific committees for international conferences in the areas of cryobiology, surfaces and colloids, and space physical sciences. She has served on grant selection committees for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH). She has served as a member of the Physical Sciences Advisory Committee for the Canadian Space Agency, on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering, and on the Executive Committee of the American Chemical Society Division of Colloid & Surface Chemistry.

Dr. Elliott’s research has been recognized nationally in science and engineering by the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering Syncrude Canada Innovation Award (2008), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Doctoral Prize (1998), the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers Young Engineer Achievement Award (2001), the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Young Explorer’s Prize (2002) and Time Magazine’s Canadians Who Define the New Frontiers of Science (2002). Dr. Elliott has also received provincial and University awards including the University of Alberta Teaching Unit Award (2004, 2016). As one student put it, “She could convince rocks to study thermodynamics.”

Dr. Janet A. W. Elliott