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Kristy Ainslie, PhD

Vice Department Chair Adjunct Associate Professor Professor

Kristy Ainslie, Ph.D.

Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor and Chair, Division Pharmacoengineering & Molecular Pharmaceutics

Professor, UNC Department of Biomedical Engineering, UNC Department of Microbiology and Immunology


(919) 962-4556
4012 Marsico Hall, 125 Mason Farm Lane, CB# 7362, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7362

Kristy Ainslie, Ph.D. applies her knowledge base in biomaterials, and immunology to develop new immune-modulatory therapies that treat and prevent infectious, and autoimmune diseases. Her lab aims to design practical and innovative formulations, taking into account the scalable production and applications in developing nations.

She has several research areas of interest including the development of new polymers for vaccines, formulation of antigen specific therapies to treat autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes, host directed therapies for treatment of multi-drug resistant infections, electrospun scaffolds for glioblastoma treatment, and electrospray for fabrication of immune targeting microparticles.

Originally from Michigan, she received her bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Michigan State University and then earned both her master’s and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Pennsylvania State University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California at San Francisco. Additionally, Dr. Ainslie has been awarded the Controlled Release Society’s Outstanding Oral Drug Delivery Award in 2007 and 2009. She joined the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in 2014 as an associate professor in the Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics. Prior to that, she spent almost five years as an assistant professor at the Ohio State University’s Division of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

Education, Certification and Licensure

  • 2002 – 2005: Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University
  • 2000 – 2002: M.S. in Chemical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University
  • 1995 – 1999: B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University

Lab Website

Twitter @AinslieLab

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1820-8382

Current Projects

  • Biomaterials to study tolerance immune induction kinetics
  • Host Targeted Therapy for Drug Resistant Salmonella and Francisella infection
  • Optimizing a Universal Influenza Subunit Nano/Microparticulate Vaccine
  • Formulation to Generate Tolerance Towards Type 1 Diabetes
  • Tunable Temporal Drug Release for Optimized Synergistic Combination Therapy of Glioblastoma

Honors and Awards

2021 Worthy of Recognition for SP PCHY 512 Pharmaceutics II and SU PHCY 850 Pharmacy Internship
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) Fellow Inauguration
2012 OSU Council of Graduate Students James M. Siddens Distinguished Faculty Advising Award
Nominated for Ohio State University Distinguished Undergraduate Research Mentor Award
2009 Controlled Release Society Outstanding Oral Drug Delivery Award
2007 Controlled Release Society-Capsugel Post-Doc Award for Innovative Aspects of Oral Drug Delivery & Absorption
2005 Walter R. and Aura Lee Supina Graduate Fellowship in Chemical Engineering
2000 The Pennsylvania State University Life Science Consortium Graduate Fellowship
1999 Commencement Speaker for Michigan State University College of Engineering Graduation Ceremony


  • Gurysh Receives NIH F32 Grant for Brain Cancer Research

    Elizabeth Gurysh, Ph.D., received a National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health to support her brain cancer research. Gurysh is a postdoctoral researcher working in the lab of Kristy Ainslie, Ph.D., at the UNC Eshelman School of … Read more

  • UNC Researchers Develop Platform for Universal Flu Vaccine

    Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are developing a universal flu vaccine which could be effective against multiple influenza strains and in multiple flu seasons. In the United States, up to 35.6 million people become infected … Read more

  • Ainslie Awarded $1.89M NIH Grant to Develop Multiple Sclerosis Vaccine

    The National Institutes of Health awarded a grant of nearly $2 million to Kristy Ainslie, Ph.D., for a proposal to develop a therapeutic vaccine for multiple sclerosis. Ainslie is an associate professor in the Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics … Read more

  • Kristy Ainslie Receives Tenure in DPMP

    Kristy Ainslie, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, has been granted tenure. Ainslie joined the School in 2014. Prior to that, she spent almost five years as … Read more

  • Elizabeth Gurysh Receives PhRMA Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship

    Elizabeth Gurysh, Ph.D., was awarded the pharmaceutics postdoctoral fellowship by the PhRMA Foundation, whose mission is to support young scientists in disciplines important to the pharmaceutical industry to encourage them to pursue careers in research and education related to drug … Read more

  • Kristy Ainslie and Team Join MOPH

    Kristy Ainslie, PhD, joins the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy as an associate professor after almost five years as an assistant professor at Ohio State. Ainslie’s research focuses on immune therapies, including bioterrorism vaccines, autoimmune treatments, and host cell-directed therapeutics. … Read more