Steven Soper, Ph.D.

Steven Soper
  • -KU Foundation Distinguished Professor, Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, and Bioengineering


Associated Tracks

-Biomolecular Engineering
-Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering
-Biomedical Product Design & Development

Research Interests

-Nano Devices and Microfluidics

Short Bio

Steven Soper, professor in the departments of Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC), is a leading international researcher in developing new technologies that have important applications for disease detection. A KU alumnus, Soper will return to KU’s Department of Chemistry on July 1, 2016, and hold an appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering as well. He is one of seven Foundation Professors announced this year, one of 12 positions overall.

Soper, who has been at UNC since 2011, also is an associate member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center there. Between 2009 and 2012 he held the title of World Class University Professor at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in Ulsan, South Korea. From 2013 to present, he has been adjunct professor at Ulsan. In fall 2008, while on sabbatical leave from Louisiana State University, he served as visiting scientist at UNC.  

Between 1991 and 2011 he was a rising faculty member with the departments of Chemistry, Mechanical engineering and Biological Sciences at LSU. In 2004, Soper founded and became the director of the Center for BioModular Multi-Scale Systems for Precision Medicine. The center, which he continues to direct, draws upon research expertise at LSU, UNC and Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University. During his tenure at LSU, Soper also served five years as a science adviser for the Southeast region of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. His industry experience also includes two years as an analytical chemist for Colgate 


B.S. in Psychology, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1980
B.A. in Chemistry, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1982
Ph.D. in Bioanalytical chemistry, University of Kansas, 1989


​Soper’s research largely focuses on the development of biomedical devices and the associated assays. The work fits nicely within President Barack Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative announced in January. In particular, his group concentrates on the development of in vitro cancer diagnostics based on a combination of innovative methods for isolating circulating tumor cells and the development of nanoscale devices for next-generation sequencing. Often referred to as lab-on-a-chip technologies, Soper’s efforts pinpoint diagnostics for cancer, stroke and infectious diseases as well as bringing diagnostics to the point-of-care.