Janet A. W. Elliott, PhD

University of Alberta Distinguished Professor & Canada Research Chair in Thermodynamics, Faculty of Engineering - Chemical and Materials Engineering Dept


University of Alberta Distinguished Professor & Canada Research Chair in Thermodynamics, Faculty of Engineering - Chemical and Materials Engineering Dept
(780) 492-7963
Donadeo Innovation Centre For Engineering
9211-116 St
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H5



Dr. Elliott currently serves as Associate Editor of the journal Cryobiology, on the Editorial Advisory Boards of The Journal of Physical Chemistry A, B, C, & Letters and of 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 US National Institutes of Health (NIH). She has served as a member of the Physical Sciences Advisory Committee for the Canadian Space Agency, the Board of Directors of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering, and the Executive Committee of the American Chemical Society Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry. Dr. Elliott has been a Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the Oxford Centre for Collaborative Applied Mathematics.

Dr. Elliott’s research has been recognized nationally and internationally in science and engineering by Fellowship in the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2019), Fellowship in the Society for Cryobiology (2018), Fellowship in the Chemical Institute of Canada (2015), 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.”

  • Thermodynamics (equilibrium and nonequilibrium (transport))
  • 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, freezing, solidification, nucleation, phase change in confined geometries, cruved fluid interfaces, interfacial and membrane transport, capillarity in gravitational fields, thermodynamics of solutions and suspensions, and nanoscale science.

Cryobiology is 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. The group’s 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.