Kathleen M. Susman

Associate Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Biology

Ever wonder how those garden chemicals that give you healthier-looking vegetables affect the soil organisms that keep the soil rich and healthy? My lab explores the behavioral and neuron-specific effects of common lawn chemicals on the beneficial soil nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans is a terrific model organism for exploring mechanisms of toxicity. We are also concerned about the effects of chemical use in gardens and agricultural settings on the overall soil health, particularly on nematodes.

At Vassar since 1991


Main Building
Box 189
By appointment

Research and Academic Interests

Neuroscience and Behavior; Stress Physiology; Evo-Devo; Science Communication

Selected Publications

  • Raley-Susman, K.M. (2014) “Like a Canary in the Coal Mine: Behavioral change as an early warning sign of neurotoxicological damage.”
  • *Brody, A.H., *Chou, E., Gray, J.M., Pokrywka, N.J. and Raley-Susman, K.M. (2013) “Mancozeb-induced behavioral deficits precede structural neural degeneration.” Neurotoxicol. 34: 74-81.
  • Magnes, J., Raley-Susman, K.M., Melikechi, N., *Sampson, A., *Eells, R., *Bello, A., and *Lueckheide, M. (2012) “Analysis of freely swimming C. elegans using laser diffraction.” Open J. Biophysics Vol. 2(3): 101-107. DOI: 10.4236/ojbiphy.2012.23013
  • Banta, L.M., Crespi, E.J., Nehm, R.H., Schwarz, J.A., Singer, S., Manduca, C.A., Bush, E.C., Collins, E., Constance, C.M., Dean, D., Esteban, D., Fox, S., McDaris, J., Paul, C.A., Quinan, G., Raley-Susman, K.M., Smith, M.L., Wallace, C.S., Withers, G.S. and Caporale, L. (2012) “Integrating genomics research throughout the undergraduate curriculum: A collection of inquiry-based genomics lab modules.” Cell Biology Education: Life Sciences Education 11(3): 203-208. [Our article was chosen for the cover of the issue]
  • Magnes, J., Raley-Susman, K.M., *Khakurel, R., *Sampson, A., *Kinneberg, M., *Eels, R. (2010) “Diffraction Patterns of Live C. elegans: Acquisition and Analysis.” Biophysical Journal 98: (3, Suppl 1) 746a.
  • Raley-Susman, K.M. and Gray, J.M. (2010) “Exploration of gerontogenes in the nervous system: A multi-level neurogenomics laboratory modules for an intermediate Neuroscience and Behavior course.” JUNE 8(2): A108-A115.
  • Ronsheim, M.L., Pregnall, A.M., Schwarz, J., Schlessman, MA and Raley-Susman, K.M. (2009) “Teaching Outside the Can: A New Approach to Introductory Biology.” Bioscene 35:12-22.
  • Pokrywka, N.P., Payne-Tobin, A., Raley-Susman, K.M., and Swartzman S. (2009) “Microtubules, the ER and Exu: New associations revealed by analysis of mini spindles mutations.” Mech. Dev. 126:289-300.
  • *Gordon, P., *Hingula, L., *Krasny, M.L., Swienckowski, J. L., Pokrywka, N.J. and Raley-Susman, K.M. (2008) “The invertebrate microtubule-associated protein PTL-1 functions in mechanosensation and development in Caenorhabditis elegans.” Dev. Genes Evol. 218: 541-551.
  • Buddle, M., E. Eberhardt, L.H.,*Ciminello, T. *Levin, R. *Wing, and K.M. Raley-Susman. (2003) “Microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2) associates with the NMDA receptor and is spatially redistributed within rat hippocampal neurons after oxygen-glucose deprivation.” Brain Research 978: 38-50.
  • Raley-Susman, K.M., I.S. Kass, J.E. Cottrell, R.B., *Newman, G. Chambers and J. Wang, (2001) “Sodium influx blockade and hypoxic damage to CA1 pyramidal neurons in rat hippocampal slices.” J. Neurophysiology 86: 2715-2726.
  • *Monje, M.M., J. *Chatten-Brown, S.E. Hye, and K.M. Raley-Susman, (2000) “Free radicals are involved in the damage to protein synthesis after anoxia/aglycemia and NMDA exposure.” Brain Research 857: 172-182.
  • Wang, T., K.M. Raley-Susman, J. Wang, G. Chambers, J.E. Cottrell, and I.S. Kass (1999) “Thiopental attenuates hypoxic changes of electrophysiology, biochemistry and morphology in rat hippocampal slice CA1 pyramidal cells.” Stroke 30: 2400-2407.
  • Gray, J. and K.M. Raley-Susman, (1998) “Effects of tamoxifen, fluphenazine and estradiol on ATP levels in preoptic area and hypothalamic slices from ovariectomized rats.” Brain Res. 798: 223-231.

* student author


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Kathleen M. Susman
Photo: Buck Lewis / Vassar College