Suzanne L. Topalian


Suzanne L. Topalian, MD

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy


2022 Inductee


Dr. Topalian is a physician-scientist whose studies of anti-tumor immunity have been foundational in developing cancer immunotherapy.  She has published over 160 original research articles and reviews in this area and is one of the most highly cited researchers in the biomedical field. She received her medical and scientific training at Tufts University School of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the National Cancer Institute.  She joined the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in 2006 as the inaugural director of its Melanoma/Skin Cancer Program.  Her current research focuses on manipulating “immune checkpoints” such as PD-1 in cancer therapy, discovering biomarkers predicting response and resistance, and developing new treatment strategies such as neoadjuvant (pre-surgical) anti-PD-1 and effective combination therapies.  Dr. Topalian’s work is widely recognized: she was named one of Nature’s 10 in 2014, and received the Karnofsky Award from ASCO in 2015, the Taubman Prize in 2016, the NCI’s Rosalind E. Franklin Award in 2018, the American Academy of Dermatology’s Gruber Memorial Cancer Research Award in 2020, and the Award for Distinguished Research in the Biomedical Sciences from the Association of American Medical Colleges in 2021, for landmark discoveries in cancer immunotherapy.  Dr. Topalian was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2017, and she is a Fellow of the AACR Academy.  Her work has opened new avenues of scientific investigation and has established immunotherapy as a pillar of oncology. 

  FAIO Interview