Professor Tania Betancourt, PhD

Contact Information

    Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
    Texas State University – San Marcos
    Office: Centennial Hall 340 D
    Laboratory: Centennial Hall 343
    601 University Drive
    San Marcos, TX 78666
    Office: (512) 245-7703
    Laboratory: (512) 245-1412
    Fax: (512) 245-2374



B.S., Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station
M.S., Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
Advisors: Professors Lisa Brannon-Peppas and R. Malcolm Brown
Postdoctoral Research, Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
Advisor: Professor Nicholas A. Peppas



Dr. Betancourt obtained her B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University in 2002, and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin in 2005 and 2008, respectively. Dr. Betancourt is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and a faculty member of the Materials Science, Engineering, and Commercialization Program at Texas State University. Dr. Betancourt leads the research of the Biomaterials and Nanomedicine Laboratory, which focuses on the development of functional polymeric nanostructures for the detection, monitoring, and treatment of cancer and other diseases.
Prior to joining Texas State University in 2011, Dr. Betancourt worked at InnoSense LLC, a technology company serving the aerospace, energy, defense, and health care market. During her three-year tenure at InnoSense, Dr. Betancourt held the positions of Research Scientist, Team Leader, and Deputy Director-R&D. At InnoSense, Dr. Betancourt was responsible for developing novel technologies in the areas of biosensors, biomaterials, therapeutics, theranostics, contrast agent, drug delivery, and specialty materials. She secured over $1 million for support of R&D of biomedical and specialty material technologies from federal agencies.
Dr. Betancourt’s work has been documented in twenty-five peer-reviewed publications, two review articles, two book chapters, and numerous professional presentations.

Research Summary/Statement:

Dr. Betancourt’s research focuses on capturing the promise of nanomaterials for the development of new strategies for the detection and treatment of diseases. Specifically, her group develops functional nanostructures that can act as highly specific contrast agents for bioimaging, in vitro and in vivo biosensors, targeted and intracellular drug delivery systems, and externally controlled therapeutic systems. These responsive nanomaterials incorporate functional nucleic acid linkers, enzymatically cleavable linkers, polyelectrolytes, synthetic polymers and amphiphilic copolymers to mediate physico-chemical changes in the polymeric networks upon interaction with target molecules or external stimuli, leading to the desired material response. Work in the laboratory encompasses the synthesis and characterization of copolymers and nanoparticles, in vitro confirmation of stimuli-responsive behavior, and the evaluation of the particle functionality on cultured human cells. Dr. Betancourt’s group collaborates with academic and industrial researchers for preclinical evaluation of the compatibility and efficacy of the developed biomaterials and technology transfer. Current projects in Dr. Betancourt’s laboratory include the development of: (1) aptamer-based responsive nanostructures that can be activated by disease-specific molecules, and on the study of the applications of these functional materials in targeted drug delivery, bioimaging, and biomolecular sensing; and (2) nanoparticle-based agents for photothermal therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.

Honors and Awards

  • Recipient, College of Science and Engineering Presidential Distinction Award for Excellence in Service, Texas State University, 2015 and 2018
  • Latino STAR Award by Texas State University Hispanic Policy Network, 2016
  • Recipient, David and Mary Miller Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin, 2006-2007
  • Recipient, Schlumberger Grand Award for best paper and presentation and Schlumberger Centaur Award in Nano/Microelectronics and MEMS, Graduate and Industry Networking Conference held by the Graduate Engineering Council, University of Texas at Austin, January 24, 2006
  • Recipient, Best Paper award, Nano-Night 2005 Scientific Forum in Nanotechnology. Center of Nano- and Molecular Science and Technology, University of Texas at Austin, April 22, 2005
  • Recipient, NSF IGERT Graduate Research Fellowship, University of Texas, 2004-2006
  • Recipient, Thrust 2000 Fellowship, College of Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, 2003-2007
  • Magna Cum Laude honor graduation in Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 2002
  • Recipient, Lindsay Scholarship, Texas A&M University, 2001-2002
  • Recipient, American Chemical Society Scholars Program Scholarship, 1999-2002
  • Member, Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Honor Society
  • Member, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society
  • Member, Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society of the Two Year College