Susan S. Margulies

George H. Stephenson Term Professor
Bioengineering (BE)

Email | Research Webpage

Honors and Awards:  ALA Young Investigator Award, Whitaker Foundation Young Investigator Award, NSF CAREER Award, Stapp Car Crash Conference Award, S Reid Warren Award for Distinguished Teaching, Ford Motor Company Award for Faculty Advising, American Society of Mechanical Engineering Award, Association of Women in Science Elizabeth Bingham Award for the Advancement of Women in Science, Fellow - American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering - 2006, Fellow - American Society of Mechanical Engineers - 2009, Fellow - Biomedical Engineering Society - 2009

Research Expertise: Biomechanics | Cell Mechanics | Tissue Engineering

Cells within the body routinely tolerate deformations during activities such as head turning and breathing, yet when cells are deformed beyond a safe limit or injury threshold, function and structure are altered temporarily or even permanently. The goal of the Injury Biomechanics Lab is to determine functional and structural injury thresholds in the brain and lung, and use them to understand mechanisms of traumatic brain and lung injury. In addition, the lab's study of the biochemical and molecular biology of injured cells facilitates the development of preventive and therapeutic measures. Because human tissues tend to be inhomogeneous, anisotropic and nonlinear, and the tissues of interest undergo large strains, determining the complex relationship between cellular and macroscopic responses requires an integrated biomechanics approach consisting of several simultaneous rigorous engineering experimental and theoretical analyses. The head injury research program focuses on integrating mechanical properties, animal models of focal and diffuse brain injury, instrumented dolls, patient data, and computational models to identify injury mechanisms that are unique to children. Many recent publications focus on the biomechanics of traumatic brain injury in adults and children; assessments of cognition, memory and behavior in piglets; and using the piglet brain injury models to evaluate the efficacy of therapies and interventions. The lung research program focuses on developing animal models of pulmonary disease, and studying lung function in vivo and in vitro. The Margulies lab group deform intact lungs and monolayers of primary epithelial cells in vitro at rates and magnitudes seen in vivo to determine molecular injury signaling pathways, lung fluid balance, and permeability dysfunction thresholds of the healthy and septic alveolar epithelium. Recent results offer potential avenues for interventions to prevent or ameliorate lung injury when larger lung inflations must be employed to provide sufficient gas exchange. Margulies' research program is currently funded by the NIH and NSF. She has served or is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Physiology, the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, the Journal of Biomechanics, American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cell and Molecular and the Journal of Neurotrauma; she has served on numerous federal advisory committees, grant review panels for NSF, NIH, and CDC, and served as chair of the NIH RIBT study section (2010–2012) and the NIH Director’s Pioneer Awards Competition (2015). Dr. Margulies is serving as the Secretary-General for The World Council for Biomechanics from 2014–2018 and chair of the BMES Publication Board. Her work has been published in over 135 peer-reviewed papers, and featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Discover Magazine, and by CNN and the BBC. Margulies serves as Past-Chair of the Penn Forum for Women Faculty and recently completed a three-year leadership term for the University of Pennsylvania Faculty Senate. She is a director of the Penn Pathways leadership program for the development of junior faculty in STEM fields, and a director of the Penn Pathfinders program to prepare graduate students for non-academic career paths.

PhD Bioengineering 1987 - University of Pennsylvania
MSE Bioengineering 1983 - University of Pennsylvania
BSE Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering 1982 - Princeton University

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