Elizabeth Gillies

Elizabeth Gillies

Contact Information

Title: Professor
Office: Rm 3202 MSA,
Labs: 3246, 3248, 3250 MSA
Phone (Office): ext 80223
E-mail: egillie@uwo.ca

Inorganic Teaching Division

Chemical Biology and Biomaterials

Organic, polymer, and biomaterials Chemistry

Group Website


B.Sc., Queen’s University; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley; Marie Curie Post-Doctoral Fellow University of Bordeaux , France


  • NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship, 2017
  • Fallona Interdisciplinary Science Award, 2016
  • Faculty Scholar, Western University, 2016-2018
  • Petro Canada Young Innovator Award, Western University, 2012
  • Early Researcher Award, Government of Ontario, 2008-2013
  • Tier 2 Canada Research Chair, Government of Canada, 2006-2016
  • John Charles Polanyi Prize, Government of Ontario, 2006


Tremendous advancements have been made over the past several decades in the development of new therapeutics to treat disease. In addition, researchers now understand how to induce stem cells to differentiate into many different cell types for potential regenerative therapies. However, many challenges still need to be addressed. For example, many drug molecules have undesirable side effects due to their systemic distribution and lack of specificity for their target. In addition, there are still many gaps in the understanding of how to apply cell-based therapies and to achieve high cell retention and integration. Macromolecules can be used to address many of these challenges. For example, drugs can be packaged into polymeric drug delivery systems to protect them, increase their dispersion in water, and deliver them more selectively to their sites of action. In addition, polymeric can serve as temporary scaffolds to support the growth of cells and to control their behaviour in regenerative medicine applications.

Our research group is developing new polymeric platforms for applications in drug delivery and tissue engineering. We design and synthesize polymers with novel functions such as triggered degradation or the presentation of bioactive molecules and use these polymers to fabricate materials ranging from nanoparticles to coatings and 3-D scaffolds. We are working with collaborators across the faculties of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to apply these materials to challenges in the areas including musculoskeletal health, cancer, and immunology/microbiology.

Students in our group have the opportunity to gain experience in the synthesis of small molecules and polymers and in their characterization using a wide range of techniques such as NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, HPLC, GPC/SEC, light scattering, and imaging methods such as SEM and TEM. To test the utility of our new systems, students will also be encouraged to participate in biological experiments.

For more information about the group please visit our research group homepage.


  • CBE 9100 – Advanced Chemical Communications
  • CHEM 1302 – Discovering Chemical Energetics
  • CBE 2206 – Industrial Organic Chemistry
  • CHEM 9653 – Polymers: Synthesis to Function
  • CHEM 4493 – Chemistry of Biological Macromolecules


  • Fan, B.; Gillies, E. R.* “Poly(ethyl glyoxylate)-poly(ethylene oxide) nanoparticles: Stimuli-responsive drug release via end-to-end polyglyoxylate depolymerization.” Mol. Pharm. in press. 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.7b00030

  • Hisey, B.; Ragogna, P. J.; Gillies, E. R.* “Phosphonium-functionalized polymer micelles with intrinsic antibacterial activity.” Biomacromolecules, 2017, 18, 914-923.

  • Trant, J. F.; Jain, N.; Mazzuca, D. M.; McIntosh, J. T.; Haeryfar, S. M. M.; Lecommandoux, S.; Gillies, E. R.* "Synthesis, self-assembly, and immunological activity of alpha-galactose-functionalized dendron-lipid amphiphiles” Nanoscale, 2016, 8, 17694-17704.

  • Fan, B.; Trant, J. F.; Wong, A. D.; Gillies, E. R.* "Polyglyoxylates: A versatile class of triggerable self-immolative polymers from readily accessible monomers" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 10116-10123.

  • Nazemi, A.; Gillies, E. R.* “Dendrimersomes with Photodegradable Membranes for Triggered Release of Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic Cargo.” Chem. Commun. 2014, 50, 11122-11125.