Susan S. Margulies, Ph.D.
Dr. Margulies’ research program spans the micro-to-macro scales in two distinct subfields: traumatic brain injury and ventilator-induced lung injury. Over the years, as principal investigator she has secured nearly $34 million in funding from NIH, NSF, CDC, Department of Transportation, private foundations, and corporate research agreements, with over $11 million in pending federal research grants. Her scholarship has been disseminated in over 140 peer- reviewed papers, 11 book chapters, and numerous media features.
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.
With funding from NIH, Dr. Margulies conceived of and oversaw the budget management and construction of Penn’s $1.2 million Neurointensive Care and Assessment Facility (NCAF), for which she now serves as director. NCAF is a shared animal procedure and housing facility located in Penn Medicine, which serves both Engineering and Medicine faculty, thereby enabling the interdisciplinary development and translation of new treatments and technologies to preserve neurological function and improve outcomes in critical care medicine.
Dr. Margulies has trained 26 post-doctoral clinicians, engineers, and scientists, 27 graduate students, and dozens of undergraduates, in addition to mentoring 12 engineering and medical school faculty. 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.
Dr. Margulies has been nationally recognized for her scholarship by her election as a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. She has served as chair of NIH study sections and on strategic planning advisory panels for NIH and several academic institutions. She is a member of the Executive Committees of the BMES Board of Directors and the World Congress of Biomechanics. She co-authored the Institute of Medicine’s 300-page report on Sports-Related Concussions in Youth, highlighted by President Obama at a White House Summit in 2014.
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 and organizes the Women in BMES events at the annual meeting. Now attended by over 350 women, these events 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 roughly 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. She now chairs the BMES Public Policy Committee.
Dr. Margulies is 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 eight yearly sessions combine 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 and currently directs the NSF-funded Penn Pathfinders program, which fosters awareness of nontraditional career paths and provides 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. In collaboration with the Graduate School of Education, pilot participant data is being collected on 20 participants annually (60 total), and the critical elements that contribute to improved career path awareness and preparedness will be identified and incorporated into larger-scale graduate student training programs at Penn, and will be disseminated to other institutions.
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, and still serves on the leadership as an At-Large Forum Council Member. Along with other members of the Forum Council, and in partnership with the Provost’s Office, Dr. Margulies oversees and plans the monthly programming (workshops, lectures, networking events, and panel discussions) and initiatives of PFWF designed to catalyze opportunities for women in academia (for more details: https://provost.upenn.edu/faculty/pfwf). 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