Suzanne L. Topalian, M.D.
Professor, Surgery and Oncology
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Dr. Topalian, M.D. is a professor of surgery and oncology, John Hopkins Medicine and director of the melanoma program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at John Hopkins in Baltimore. She is an associate director of the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. She is also chair of the Melanoma Research Alliance scientific advisory panel.
Dr. Topalian received her medical degree from the Tufts University School of Medicine and completed a general surgery residency at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. She was a research fellow and then a senior investigator in the National Cancer Institute, NIH. She joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2006 to become the inaugural director of the Melanoma Program in the Kimmel Cancer Center.
Dr. Topalian is a physician-scientist whose studies of human anti-tumor immunity have provided a foundation for the clinical development of cancer vaccines, adoptive T cell transfer, and immune-modulating monoclonal antibodies. Her current research focuses on manipulating “immune checkpoints” such as PD-1 in cancer therapy, discovering biomarkers predicting clinical outcomes, and developing effective treatment combinations.
Dr. Topalian has received numerous awards for these contributions. She was named one of Nature’s 10 in 2014, received the Karnofsky Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology in 2015, was elected to the American Association of Physicians in 2016, and received the 2016 Taubman Prize for landmark discoveries in immunotherapy. She was also recipient of the Richard V. Smalley, MD Memorial Award and Lectureship from the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer in 2016. Her work has opened new avenues of scientific investigation in cancer immunology and immunotherapy, and has established this treatment approach as a pillar of oncology.