Stavroula Sofou is a professor and director of PhD studies for the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; she is a member in the Cancer Invasion & Metastasis Program at JHU Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, has a secondary appointment in the Department of Oncology, and is associate researcher at the Institute of NanoBioTechnology (INBT). Sofou is most known for her non-traditional approaches to combat difficult-to-kill cancers in diffusion-limited environments.
Sofou’s research interests range from fundamental studies of lipid bilayers to applications of biomaterials for drug delivery. She harnesses intermolecular and interfacial interactions of self-assembling materials in a biological setting, and—combining this knowledge with engineering principles—designs successful devices to promote human health.
Sofou’s group investigates environmentally-responsive biomaterials that are tuned to perform specific tasks with the goal to engineer devices and to design strategies to address challenging drug delivery limitations in cancer therapies. Two major foci of the applied component of Sofou’s current research are: (1) to engineer strategies so as to enable uniform and prolonged (micro)distributions of therapeutics in established solid tumors, and (2) to design new binding geometries of nanoparticles for targeting single receptors so as to effectively kill cells with low (or too low) expression of known surface markers. The group specializes in the delivery of chemotherapeutics and radionuclides (alpha-particle emitters).
Sofou has received the Research Scholar Grant of the American Cancer Society as well as awards from the Coulter foundation, Susan G. Komen, NYSTAR, and funding from the NSF. She has been a NATO Science Fellow, and the Christian B. Evensen Scholar, Department of Urology, JHU. Her students at Rutgers recognized her twice with Teaching Excellence awards.
She serves as a Patient Advocate for the Physical Sciences – Oncology Center (PS-OC) at JHU.
Sofou earned her PhD in Chemical Engineering at Columbia University, held a post-doctoral fellowship in Medical Physics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and served as assistant professor at NYU-Poly (now NYU Tandon School of Engineering) and associate professor at Rutgers University.