Suzanne L. Topalian, MD

Suzanne L. Topalian, MD

Johns Hopkins University

Goals for the AACR

The AACR is a leader in bringing scientific innovation to its members, catalyzing interactions among different research sectors, emphasizing translational investigation, and facilitating dialogue with regulatory agencies. Specifically for my specialty area, the AACR was an early champion for cancer immunotherapy, perceiving its value and potential before many other organizations. As a member of the Board of Directors, I would be honored to help set and achieve the AACR’s goals in these areas. My professional experience in the intramural NIH program and in academia, and interactions with non-profit foundations and biotech/pharma, provide a unique background to facilitate such collaborations. Furthermore, my continued active involvement in bench and clinical research provides a translational perspective essential for realizing effective and timely new drug development.

Research Interests

Mechanism-of-action of immune checkpoint pathways; clinical development of drugs and drug combinations modulating immune checkpoints in cancer therapy; identification of predictive biomarkers for the activity of immune checkpoint blocking drugs; surgical oncology; clinical trials.

Current Affiliations

Bloomberg-Kimmel Professor of Cancer Immunotherapy; Professor of Surgery and Oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Director, Melanoma Program, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins; Associate Director, Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, Maryland.

Previous Positions

Chief Science Officer, Melanoma Research Alliance (2009-2013), Washington, D.C.; Senior Investigator, Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (1989-2006), Bethesda, Maryland.

Postdoctoral Training

Fellowship, Surgical Oncology, Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (1985-1989), Bethesda, Maryland; Fellowship, Pediatric Surgical Research, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (1982-1983); Residency, Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (1979-1985), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Selected AACR Service, Honors, and Awards

Chair, Special Conference on Melanoma, Plenary Session, “Intersection of the Tumor and Immune Microenvironment” (2019); Member, AACR Clinical and Translational Cancer Research Awards Committee (2016-2018); Member, Science Policy and Government Affairs Subcommittee (2016-2017); Faculty, FDA-AACR Workshop, “Immuno-Oncology Drug Development” (2016); Chair, Educational Session: “Principles of Immunotherapy: Stepping on the Accelerator” (2015); Member, Annual Meeting Education Committee (2014-2015); Cochair, Special Conference, “Advances in Melanoma: From Biology to Therapy” (2014); Cochair, Annual Meeting Program Committee (2013-2014); Member, AACR-NCI-EORTC Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics Program Committee (2013); Member, Annual Meeting Clinical Trials Committee (2012-2013); Member, Task Force on Regulatory Science and Policy (2012-present); Faculty, Educational Workshop, “Molecular Biology in Clinical Oncology” (2011, 2012); Cochair, Stand Up to Cancer-AACR Joint Scientific Advisory Committee, Melanoma Dream Team (2011).

Selected Non-AACR Service, Honors, and Awards

Recipient, Chris O’Brien Keynote Lecture, 10th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer (2020); Recipient, American Academy of Dermatology’s Lila and Murray Gruber Memorial Cancer Research Award and Lectureship (2020); Recipient, Asa Yancey Lecture, Society of Black Academic Surgeons (2019); Recipient, Eleanor L. Giacchino Lecture, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson University (2019); Recipient, Rosalind E. Franklin Award for Women in Science, National Cancer Institute (2018); Elected Member, National Academy of Medicine (2017); Elected Member, American Association of Physicians (2016); Recipient, Taubman Prize for Excellence in Translational Medical Science (2016); Honoree, “the one hundred,” Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center (2016); Recipient, David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award and Lecture, American Society for Clinical Oncology (2015); Member, Executive Council (2016-2017), Member, Board of Directors (2013), and Member (2012-present), Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer; Member, European Academy of Tumor Immunology (2013-present); Member, European Academy of Tumor Immunology (2013-present); Founding Member, Society for Melanoma Research (2005-present).


MD, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA (1979); BA, English, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts (1975).