Susanna McColley, MD

Clinical and Community Trials
Pronoun: She, Her

“My work of over 30 years aims to improve diagnosis and treatment, and to reduce health disparities, for children with cystic fibrosis. I am passionate about training the next generation of child health researchers, especially those who are currently underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce.”

Research Interests

  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Health Equity
  • Newborn Screening
  • Therapeutic and Device Development


  • Scientific Director, Interdisciplinary Research Partnerships, Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute
  • Professor of Pediatrics (Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine), Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Associate Clinical Director for Child Health and Director, TL1 Multidisciplinary Training Program in Child and Adolescent Health, Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
  • Editor-in-Chief, Pediatric Pulmonology

See Lurie Children's Provider Profile

Susanna McColley, MD, is a pediatric pulmonologist whose research focuses on improving the health of people with cystic fibrosis through understanding risk factors for more severe disease, improving methods of screening and diagnosing, and testing new treatments. Dr. McColley has a long-standing focus on reducing health disparities in cystic fibrosis. She is an internationally recognized expert in cystic fibrosis newborn screening, serving as Vice Chair of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Newborn Screening Consortium and as a member of the European Cystic Fibrosis Society Newborn Screening Working Group. In her role as Associate Clinical Director for Child Health at the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Dr. McColley is highly engaged in overcoming translational science barriers in child health. She directs the NUCATS TL1 Multidisciplinary Training Program in Child Health and is also passionate about training the next generation of child health researchers. 

Education and Background

  • Fellowship in Pulmonology, Johns Hopkins Hospital 1988-1991
  • Residency in Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins Hospital 1985-1988
  • MD, Northwestern University 1985

Research Highlights


This multi-aim interdisciplinary project evaluates outcomes of infants with cystic fibrosis born in the United States since newborn screening was implemented nationwide. Timely diagnosis and treatment are essential to avoid early malnutrition and catastrophic outcomes in infants with cystic fibrosis, but preliminary data showed that some infants have marked delays in evaluation since newborn screening was implemented. Dr. McColley and the research team use data from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patient Registry and the NewSTEPS data repository of the Association of Public Health Laboratories to study variation in newborn screening processes and outcomes. Qualitative research methods are used to glean valuable information about barriers to timely diagnosis for all infants with cystic fibrosis from the perspective of public health lab personnel and cystic fibrosis clinicians. 

Featured Grants

A Ten-year Evaluation of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Newborn Screening in the United States

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
08/01/2019 → 07/31/2022

Cystic Fibrosis Pediatric Therapeutics Development Program

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
04/01/2022 → 03/31/2023

Multidisciplinary Program in Child and Adolescent Health (TL1)

07/01/2019 → 06/30/2024

A Mechno-acoustic Sensor for Accurate Cough Detection in Cystic Fibrosis 1/1/2021–12/31/2022

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
01/01/2021 → 12/31/2022

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Research Interests

Critical Care, Viral Respiratory Infections, Lung Injury and Repair, Immune Regulation

Recent Publication

Age-related Differences in the Nasal Mucosal Immune Response to SARS-CoV-2.

Clinical and Community Trials

Research Interests

Interventricular Mechanics, Right Ventricular Failure, Role of Immunologic Phenotype on Post-heart Transplant Outcomes, Post-heart Transplant Kidney Injury and Failure

Clinical and Community Trials