Pastwa received a Master of Science degree in chemical engineering from the Technology University of Lodz in 1987. A year later she was given a Doctor of Philosophy degree in medical biology and a Doctor of Science in medical biology from Medical University of Lodz in 2007.
Pastwa began her career as a senior analytical chemist at Sugar Factory in 1987. A year later she took a position of a graduate research assistant at Technology University of Lodz and held it until 1989. Also Elzbieta worked as a predoctoral research associate and assistant lecturer at the same university from 1990 to 1998.
Then in 1998, she took a position of a postdoctoral research associate at Medical University of Lodz, where she worked until 1999. Since 2002 Pastwa has been an assistant professor and chief of molecular genetics department at that university since 2006.
Pastwa is a member of Polish Biochemical Society, Radiation Research Society, National Organization Technics and International Tai Chi Society.