Susan S. Margulies, Ph.D.
Dr. Margulies is Professor and Chair of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, jointly housed in the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech Institute and School of Medicine at Emory University. With nearly 70 faculty, over 1100 undergraduates and 300 graduate students, Coulter BME is ranked 2nd in the nation (USNWR), training the largest number of women and underrepresented biomedical engineers. Appointed as Chair in 2017, Dr. Margulies has launched numerous initiatives to increase the impact, enhance the engagement and enrich the culture of Coulter BME by strengthening partnerships, expanding interdisciplinary research and education, and increasing opportunities to translate engineering discoveries to biomedical applications. As the recipient of the National Academy of Engineering’s Gordon Prize for innovative problem-driven engineering educational methods, Coulter BME is supported by federal and foundation funds pioneer pedagogical methods to create inclusive environments in the classroom and laboratory, and to infuse story-driven learning elements to link curricular and co-curricular experiences. Since 2017, 18 faculty (28% women, 11% URM) have joined the department, research expenditures have tripled, and Coulter BME has received over $20M in gifts and foundation support for innovative research and programs.
Dr. Margulies has been the Principal Investigator of Biolocity, which she co-led since 2017. Biolocity, an Emory & Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) life science incubator, was relaunched in 2015 in partnership with the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation across both Emory and Georgia Tech to provide translational grant funding and life science product development expertise to academic stage assets with the goal of creating license opportunities and investor ready start-ups. In the last 5 years, Biolocity has funded 42 projects. These 42 projects have led to 22 start-ups, two industry licenses, three products on the market, and a 1:6 leverage on awarded funds to follow-on-funding. Biolocity has demonstrated the capability to identify, mentor, and develop opportunities with the ability to attract follow-on funding and partnership opportunities. While housed in the BME department, Biolocity executes a university-wide mission to identify, fund, and provide business expertise to the most promising life science opportunities across both campuses.
Dr. Margulies has over 30 years of experience in the area of traumatic brain injury and pulmonary biomechanics research, with over $35M in funding and 186 peer-reviewed papers and chapters, 3 provisional patents, and has trained 26 post-doctoral clinicians, engineers, and scientists, 21 graduate students, and dozens of undergraduates in her laboratory. Trainees from the Margulies lab span a range of career paths, including engineering consulting, the FDA, and research in industry, academic, and start-up settings. An award-winning educator and mentor, she has won awards for facilitating the development of under-represented groups in science. Dr. Margulies has taught 17 different courses at the University of Pennsylvania, been Associate Chair and overseen undergraduate and graduate studies, and created and led faculty and student career development programs at the institution level.
Dr. Margulies is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Biomedical Engineering Society, and American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). She is a Trustee of the Georgia Research Alliance, and is Chair-Elect of the College of Fellows of the AIMBE. She has served as a member of the Executive Committees Board of Directors of the World Congress of Biomechanics, Biomedical Engineering Society and the AIMBE. She has served or is on numerous editorial boards; she has served on grant review panels for NSF, NIH, and CDC, and has chaired the NIH RIBT and Pioneer Award study sections.
Dr. Margulies’ research program spans the micro-to-macro scales in two distinct subfields: traumatic brain injury and ventilator-induced lung injury. Using an integrated biomechanics approach consisting of relevant animal models, cell and tissue experiments, and complementary computational models and human studies, Dr. Margulies’ research program has generated new knowledge about the structural and functional responses of the brain and lung to their mechanical environment. Her lab has pioneered new methods for measuring functional effects of large or repeated tissue distortions; identified injury tolerances, response cascades, and causal signaling pathways; and translated these discoveries to preclinical therapeutic trials to mitigate and prevent brain and lung injuries in children and adults.
Dr. Margulies has held several leadership positions in BMES, which has over 6,000 members. As a current member of the BMES Executive Committee, her responsibilities include long-range strategic planning, fiscal oversight, and budget projection models. Dr. Margulies initiated the Women in BMES events at the annual meeting, now attended by over 350 women,to provide a supportive community for professional development and collaboration between students, faculty and practitioners in industry. As Program Chair of the 2014 Annual Meeting (attended by over 4,000 members and interested scientists), she initiated broad member engagement in program content, review, and session leadership. As Membership Chair, she created new membership categories to increase membership of early stage investigators, and revised the annual meeting registration fee structure to align with financial goals. As Publications Board Chair, she introduced innovations to enhance impact and media visibility.
Dr. Margulies was a co-creator and co-Director of the Penn Pathways Faculty Development Program that is designed to enhance the personal and professional development of Assistant Professors in STEM fields. More than 50% of the Pathways Fellows are women and/or faculty from under-represented minorities. The year-long program combines discussions and activities to develop fundamental strategies for career mapping, promotion, negotiation, communication, time and stress management, networking, and work-life integration to increase productivity and job satisfaction. Rigorous content evaluation is a program cornerstone – participants report more than 25% improvement in their confidence in career planning, negotiation, and leadership skills.
Dr. Margulies also created the NSF-funded Penn Pathfinders program to foster awareness of nontraditional career paths and provide longitudinal professional development, mentoring, and skill-building to biomedical science and engineering doctoral students seeking careers in teaching, the business of research (entrepreneurship, consulting, management), and research in industry or government. Many of these elements are now utilized in Coulter BME, with over 65% of the 300 graduate students pursuing careers outside academia.
During her three-year term from 2011–2014 as Chair-Elect, Chair, and Past Chair of Penn’s Faculty Senate, Dr. Margulies represented more than 4,000 standing faculty in University governance. In collaboration with the other tri-chairs, numerous Senate committees, and the Vice Provost for Faculty, the Provost, and the President of the University, she guided the development and analysis of the Faculty Climate Survey data; increased opportunities for collaboration across the 12 school-based Faculty Diversity plans; centralized the process for dual-career hiring/retention; guided the expanded analysis of progress towards goals in faculty gender equity and diversity; worked with Penn’s 12 schools to adopt alternative formats for sabbatical leave; developed guidelines for the reduction of faculty administrative burdens associated with research; increased faculty oversight in graduate and undergraduate educational programs (including online courses); collaborated on changes to faculty track descriptions; and facilitated negotiations between faculty and the administration in revisions to the Faculty Grievance Procedures.
As a founding member, Dr. Margulies was instrumental in creating the Penn Forum for Women Faculty (PFWF) in 2009, which serves to build a community of women scholars that enriches the University by advocating on behalf of women faculty to the University leadership, providing programming for professional development and networking opportunities, and engaging with prominent scholars in the area of gender equity in academia. Dr. Margulies led PFWF since its inception through to 2016, first as Vice-President, then Chair and Past-Chair. Dr. Margulies oversaw and planned the monthly programming (workshops, lectures, networking events, and panel discussions) and initiatives of PFWF designed to catalyze opportunities for women in academia. In 2016, Dr. Margulies was awarded the Trustees’ Council for Penn Women–Provost’s Award for the Advancement of Women in Higher Education. This award is given annually to a Penn faculty member who is both a productive scholar and someone who has contributed significantly to improving the lives of women faculty at Penn.
As Graduate Group Chair in Bioengineering (2007–2010), Dr. Margulies was responsible for all aspects of the PhD and Masters programs in Bioengineering (120 faculty across multiple schools, 90 Masters students, and 100 PhD students). During her term, she led a consultative process to develop bylaws, clarify graduate group member responsibilities and privileges, and increase faculty engagement in qualifier exams and dissertation committees. She improved operations efficiency of the graduate group, instituted standardized policies and improved transparency of policies. She instituted a revised dissertation proposal format, committee meeting timelines, and tracking of student progress towards proposal and defense milestones, and decreased time-to- completion for doctoral students.
Dr. Margulies has taught over a dozen undergraduate and graduate courses at Penn, in traditional lecture and lab formats, and in the more innovative hands-on discovery-based, discussion, and online module formats. She has been honored for her excellence in mentoring, teaching and advising, with the S. Reid Warren Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Ford Motor Company Award for Faculty Advising, and the Association of Women in Science’s Elizabeth Bingham Award for the Advancement of Women in Science.
Dr. Margulies’ main research interests include biomechanics of brain injury, pediatric head injury, soft tissue mechanics, ventilator-induced lung injury, lung mechanics, pathways of cellular mechanotransduction, and tissue injury thresholds.
- Ph.D. Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, 1987
- M.S.E. Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, 1983
- B.S.E. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University, 1982
Office Locations, Mailing Addresses, & Assistants:
Georgia Institute of Technology
U.A. Whitaker Building
313 Ferst Drive, Suite 2116
Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0535
tel 404.385.5038 fax 404.894.4243
Health Sciences Research Building
1760 Haygood Drive, Suite W242
Atlanta, Georgia 30322
tel 404.727.9827 fax 404.727.9873
Assistants to the Chair:
Karen May, 404 385-2953
GT faculty affairs; recruitment, promotion & tenure; awards; requests for letters
BME.Chair@emory.edu, 404 727-7248
Chair’s calendar, Emory faculty affairs and communications