Susan Napier Thomas, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor with tenure of Mechanical Engineering in the Parker H. Petit Institute of Bioengineering and Bioscience at the Georgia Institute of Technology where she holds adjunct appointments in Biomedical Engineering and Biological Science and is a member of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. Prior to this appointment, she was a Whitaker postdoctoral scholar at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (one of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology) and received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering with an emphasis in Bioengineering cum laude from the University of California Los Angeles and her Ph.D. in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Department as a NSF Graduate Research Fellow from The Johns Hopkins University. For her contributions to the emerging field of immunoengineering, she has been honored with the 2018 Young Investigator Award from the Society for Biomaterials for "outstanding achievements in the field of biomaterials research" and the 2013 Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society "in recognition of high level of originality and ingenuity in a scientific work in biomedical engineering." Her interdisciplinary research program is supported by multiple awards on which she serves as PI from the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation, amongst others.
The Thomas laboratory studies the role of fluid transport phenomena in regulating the dynamics and kinetics of cellular and molecular transport processes. The rationale for this work is that it will provide novel design principles for targeted drug delivery strategies in disease therapy. Specifically, we integrate cellular engineering, biochemistry, biomaterials, and immunology fundamentals to 1) elucidate how physical forces regulate seemingly unrelated aspects of cancer such as metastasis and immune suppression as well as 2) develop novel immunotherapeutic strategies to treat immune-regulated diseases such as cancer using engineered biomaterials.