Susan Hanson Photo

Dr. Susan Hanson

Assistant Professor of Health and Medicine Get Contact Info


Pre-Professional Health Science


Dr. Hanson joined the Carroll faculty in 2009. She teaches lecture and lab courses in Introductory and Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology including: ANP100, ANP130, ANP140, ANP402, and ANP403. She also serves as a Pre-Health Professions Advisor for students who plan to attend medical, dental, physician assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy, veterinary, podiatry, or pharmacy school.

Dr. Hanson grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After earning her undergraduate degree from Luther College (Decorah, IA), she did her graduate work at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN), where she studied protein-protein interactions and cell signaling in the visual system. She used several molecular techniques (e.g. protein purification, multi-angle laser light scattering, SDSL-EPR, protein-protein binding assays, etc.) as well as genetically modified mice to determine how arrestin proteins interact with G-protein coupled receptors and other signaling molecules inside cells.

Dr. Hanson also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at UW-Madison where she used electrophysiological techniques (two-electrode voltage clamping and patch clamping) and applied basic pharmacology (dose response analysis, radioligand binding, etc) to study how benzodiazepines and other drugs bind to and modulate GABA-A receptor activity. While at UW-Madison, she also taught lectures and led discussion sessions as part of a team of instructors in three different physiology courses, including excitable membrane physiology and the neurophysiology lab for medical students.


  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006-2009    
  • Ph.D., Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University, 2005
  • B.A., Biology and Chemistry (summa cum laude), Luther College, 2001

Areas of Specialization

Human Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology, Cell Signaling, Structural Biology, Protein Chemistry

Scholarly and Professional Achievements

Wrote and published the lab manuals for the Introductory Anatomy and Physiology courses at Carroll:

  • ANP130 (McGraw-Hill, 1st edition: 2011…4th edition: 2024)
  • ANP140 (McGraw-Hill, 1st edition: 2011…4th edition: 2024)
  • ANP100 (McGraw-Hill, 1st edition: 2024)

Published over 25 peer-reviewed research articles (14 first author or co-first author) in journals such as:

  • Neuron (2005)
  • Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (2006, 2007, 2012)
  • EMBO J (2007)
  • PLoS Biol (2013)
  • J Neurosci (2008)
  • Structure (2008)
  • Br J Pharmacol (2011)
  • J Med Chem (2008)
  • J Biol Chem (2004, 2006, 2006, 2011)
  • J Mol Bio (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2021)

Presented scientific research at international conferences including Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (2003-2007), American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2006-2007), and Society for Neuroscience (2007-2009).

Service to Carroll University and Profession

  • Pre-Health Advisor
  • Course coordinator for ANP130 & ANP140
  • Pre-Health Professions Advisor
  • Instructional Faculty Promotion Committee
  • Faculty Executive Committee
  • Davies Otto Scholarship Committee
  • Member of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions
  • Member of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society

Honors and Awards

  • Allhiser Award for Teaching Excellence (Carroll University, 2020)
  • Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award (Carroll University, 2019)
  • NRSA Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Society for Neuroscience Postdoctoral Travel Award
  • Vanderbilt University Graduate Fellowship
  • R.J. McElroy Pre-doctoral Fellowship
  • P.E.O. Scholar Award
  • NIH Pre-doctoral Training Grant
  • National Eye Institute Travel Award
  • ASBMB Annual Meeting Travel Award

Why do you do what you do?

I really enjoy interacting with all the students, faculty, and staff at Carroll. The campus is filled with great people, each of whom has a unique set of talents and strengths.

My favorite thing about teaching is watching the students grow from the time they start classes in the fall until their final exams in the spring. It is amazing how much change takes place over the course of the school year, not only in terms of acquired knowledge but also in terms of skill development, maturity, and accountability. It is a lot of fun to get to know students as they journey through life and to help them as much as possible along the way (even if it’s only for a short time)!

What should students know about you?

I have been married for ~20 years and have three children. Frequently the tales that arise from raising small children enter my classroom as humorous asides. I like to think that the injection of a little humor into my teaching helps students remember a thing or two here and there.

Other fun facts about me: I love to run. I’ve completed several half marathons and hope to do a full marathon before I die. When not running, my husband and I enjoy road biking together. If the kids come along for the ride, a stop at the ice cream shop is required. I spend my summers outside. I don’t consider mowing the lawn and tending to my perennial garden “yard work”; it’s all fun for me! Otherwise, you’ll find me playing games with my kids or driving them somewhere so that they can play games without me.

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