Susan Hanson Photo

Dr. Susan Hanson

Distinguished Lecturer in Health and Medicine 262.524.7276 Rankin Hall 115


Pre-Professional Health Science


Dr. Susan Hanson grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa alongside her older brother and a beagle named Bud. For her undergraduate degree, she attended Luther College, located in the beautiful bluffs of Northeast Iowa. After a couple of summer internships, she developed an interest laboratory research and decided to pursue a graduate degree in pharmacology, a field which combines the best of what she loves about biology (physiology) and chemistry (drugs).

Dr. Hanson did her graduate work at Vanderbilt University in the lab of Dr. Seva Gurevich, 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.

In 2006, Dr. Hanson and her husband moved to Madison, where she continued to study protein chemistry as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Cynthia Czajkowski. As a postdoc, she learned 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, Dr. Hanson 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. She joined the Carroll faculty in 2009 where she teaches lecture and lab courses in Introductory and Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology: ANP130, ANP140, ANP402, and ANP403. Dr. Hanson also serves as the course coordinator for ANP130 and ANP140.


  • 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

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 (BIO130) and ANP140 (BIO140)) through McGraw-Hill Publishing (2011-2015).
  • 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)
  • 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

  • Course coordinator for ANP130/140: Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology I/II    
  • Pre-Health Professions Advisor
  • Chair of the Davies-Otto Scholarship Committee
  • Member of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions    

Honors and Awards

  • 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 coming to work each day and interacting with all of 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 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 since 2003 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 helps students remember a thing or two here and there. 

Other fun facts about me: I was valedictorian of my high school class, I recently got inducted into my high school’s athletic hall of fame, I own a kayak and I have an orange cat named Orange.
pano of main campus