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 Susan Mertins, Ph.D.

Susan D. Mertins, Ph.D

Assistant Professor

Department of Science

MBA, St. Joseph's University, 1993

M.S.Ed., University of Pennsylvania, 1985

D.M.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, 1979

M.S., Duquesne University, 1975

B.S., Duquesne University, 1972

Area of Expertise

Oncology Drug Discovery and Development and Computational Biology

Courses Taught

Introduction to Biology (lecture and lab), Genetics (lecture and lab), Pharmacology (lecture and lab), Bioorganic Chemistry (lecture and lab), Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis in Biotechnology

Research Interests

Quantitative Computational Biology Applied to Oncology Drug Discovery and Development

My research focuses on the application of virtual cell models. These programs are generated utilizing differential and partial differential equations and reflect the dynamics of signal transduction pathways. Through these simulations, mechanisms of action of current and novel anticancer agents can be hypothesized and then further evaluated in wet laboratory studies. Chemical probes, or molecules that modulate cell phenotype are studied in a similar fashion. In addition, the developed models can be evaluated for the emergence of drug resistance pathways, a common clinical challenge in oncology and can be utilized to predict unexpected molecular targets for pharmaceuticals.

Lab Members

  • Joel Bowman
  • Michael Guckavan
  • Sophia Lookingbilll – NIH post-baccalaurate training fellowship
  • Erick O’Brien – SRIA Scholarship, PhD program
  • Sandra Ortega – NIH Summer Internship

Mertins SD, Scudiero, DA, Hollingshead, MG, Divelbiss, RD Jr, Alley, MC, Monks, A, Covell, DG, Hite, KM, Salomon, DS, Niederhuber, JE. 2013. A small molecule (pluripotin) as a tool for studying cancer stem cell biology: proof of concept. PLoS One 8(2): e57099.

Mertins, SD. 2014. Cancer Stem Cells: A systems biology view of prognosis and therapy. Anti-Cancer Drugs 25(4): 353.

Mertins, SD. 2015. Components of the Linker of the Nucleo- and Cytoskeletal Complex (LINC) as novel molecular targets in small cell lung cancer. Cancer Research Frontiers 1(3): 237.

Mertins, SD, Stephen, AG, Turbyville, T, Albeck JG, Stahlberg E. 2020. A computational model of selected RAS mutants: A systems approach to MAPK signaling. Manuscript in preparation.