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Susan J. Sumner

Director, Systems and Translational Sciences

Susan Sumner is working to make personalized medicine a reality. Using metabolomics, the unique chemical fingerprints that cellular processes leave behind, Sumner assesses differences in the metabotype of individuals that correlate with states of wellness or disease. She is identifying individuals' response to treatment in areas such as obesity, drug-induced liver injury, infectious disease, and reproductive and developmental biology. She is also identifying biomarkers for the early detection and diagnosis of disease to monitor therapeutic treatments and to provide insights into biological mechanisms.

Dr. Sumner is the director of the Systems and Translational Sciences Program in the Discovery Sciences Division at RTI, where she oversees the proteomics and metabolomics cores. In September 2012, Dr. Sumner and her team established the NIH Eastern Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Core (RTI RCMRC) as part of a $9.3 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund. The RTI RCMRC will work with an NIH-funded consortium to establish nationwide standards that provide consistency in metabolomics data collection and provide quality data for storage in a central data repository and coordinating center.  

Dr. Sumner serves on the editorial boards for Metabolomics, the Journal of Applied Toxicology, the Journal of Toxicology, and the RTI Press, and is an adjunct faculty member in the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, and the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


PhD, Physical Chemistry, North Carolina State University; BS, Chemistry (Biology minor), North Carolina State University.

Latest Publications

Sud, M., Fahy, E., Cotter, D., Azam, K., Vadivelu, I., Burant, C., Edison, A., Fiehn, O., Higashi, R., Nair, K.S., Sumner, S., et al. (2015). Metabolomics Workbench: An international repository for metabolomics data and metadata, metabolite standards, protocols, tutorials and training, and analysis tools. Nucleic Acids Research, Advance Online Publication .
Harrington, J.M., Young, D.J., Fry, R.C., Weber, F.X., Sumner, S.S., & Levine, K.E. (2015). Validation of a Metallomics Analysis of Placenta Tissue by Inductively-Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry. Biological Trace Element Research, Advance Online Publication .
Snyder, R.W., Fennell, T.R., Fennell, T.R., Wingard, C.J., Wingard, C.J., Mortensen, N.P., Mortensen, N.P., Holland, N.A., Holland, N.A., Shannahan, J.H., Shannahan, J.H., Pathmasiri, W., Pathmasiri, W., Lewin, A.H., Lewin, A.H., Sumner, S.C., & Sumner, S.C. (2015). Distribution and biomarker of carbon-14 labeled fullerene C ([ C(U)]C ) in pregnant and lactating rats and their offspring after maternal intravenous exposure. Journal of Applied Toxicology, Advance Online Publication .
Pratt, K.J., McRitchie, S., Collier, D.N., Lutes, L.D., & Sumner, S. (2015). Parent & family influences on adopting healthy weight-related behaviors: Views and perceptions of obese African-American female adolescents. Journal of the National Medical Association, 107 (2):74-79.
Milner, J.J., Rebeles, J., Dhungana, S., Stewart, D.A., Sumner, S.C.J., Meyers, M.H., et al. (2015). Obesity increases mortality and modulates the lung metabolome during pandemic h1n1 influenza virus infection in mice. Journal of Immunology, 194 (10):4846-4859.
View all publications by Susan J. Sumner (100)


  • Personalized Medicine
  • Nanotoxicology and Nanopharmacology
  • Metabolomics and Biomarkers
  • Predictive Toxicology