Director, Master of Microbial Biotechnology Program
Professor, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
Fellow, Office of Faculty Excellence
Dr. Carson’s area of scientific expertise is in molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis. She currently serves as the Director of the Master of Microbial Biotechnology Program and as a Fellow in the Office of Faculty Excellence. Prior to this appointment, she led the NC State Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), focused on faculty development to cultivate students’ critical and creative thinking skills across disciplines. During that period, she also acted as Executive Director of Academic Enrichment Programs, overseeing the Office of Undergraduate Research, Fellowship Advising, and the University Honors and Scholars Programs. Dr. Carson spent over ten years leading curriculum development for the NC State Biotechnology Program. She has received multiple awards for teaching excellence and innovation and was a member of the Howard Hughes Science Education Alliance, promoting and implementing inquiry-guided learning and authentic research in undergraduate curricula. She authored three molecular biology lab manuals, and has published numerous peer-reviewed papers in the area of course and curriculum development. She has mentored over 100 undergraduate students in research projects and was the PI and Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Integrative Plant and Microbial Systems Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program for over a decade. Most recently, she completed a 2-year rotation at the National Science Foundation in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources. Within the Triangle community, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Wake County Beekeeping Association and the Triangle Swing Dance Society.
Ph.D. Microbiology University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
B.S. Biotechnology Rutgers
Area(s) of Expertise
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; Microbial Biotechnology
- We Can Dance If We Want To (with Safety Measures) , MBIO (2022)
- Adoption of evidenced-based teaching strategies in STEM and non-STEM courses after a common faculty development experience , 6th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd’20) (2020)
- Advancing Critical and Creative Thinking through Institutional Transformation , The RC20/20 Project: A digital publication of the Reinvention Collaborative (2019)
- Building a Culture of Critical and Creative Thinking. Creating and Sustaining Higher-Order Thinking as part of a Quality Enhancement Plan , 5TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON HIGHER EDUCATION ADVANCES (HEAD'19) (2019)
- Molecular Biology Techniques: A Classroom Laboratory Manual , (2019)
- An inclusive Research Education Community (iREC): Impact of the SEA-PHAGES program on research outcomes and student learning , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017)
- Paenibacillus larvae Phage Tripp Genome Has 378-Base-Pair Terminal Repeats , Genome Announcements (2016)
- TH!NK: A Framework to Assess and Support Critical and Creative Thinking , (2016)
- Who Scared the Cat? A Molecular Crime Scene Investigation Laboratory Exercise , Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (2016)
- Genome Sequences of Six Paenibacillus larvae Siphoviridae Phages , Genome Announcements (2015)
Intergovernmental Personnel Act agreement for Susan Carson.
Integrative molecular plant systems (IMPS) with foci on sustainable foods, fuels, and model systems will draw in students of varying interests and disciplines and will inspire them to pursue research not only for practical applications, but also to answer basic biological questions in plant biology. NCSU has a strong core of researchers who are working in multiple areas of integrative plant biology, as well as faculty collaborators from multiple departments and disciplines. The Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at North Carolina State University proposes to renew the REU site to provide undergraduate students with meaningful summer research experiences, complemented by training in core laboratory skills in molecular biotechnology. Targeted student participants will include rising sophomores, juniors and seniors who have demonstrated interest in plant molecular biology; an emphasis will be placed on recruiting students from underrepresented groups in the biological sciences, and students from institutions that are not research-intensive.
Integrative molecular plant systems with foci on sustainable foods, fuels, nutrition and model systems will draw in undergraduate students of varying interests and disciplines and will inspire them to pursue research not only for practical applications, but also to answer basic biological questions in plant biology. NCSU has a strong core of plant biologists who are working in multiple areas of integrative plant biology, as well as faculty collaborators from multiple departments and disciplines. We propose to renew the REU site (formerly named Synthetic Biology REU) to provide undergraduate students with meaningful summer research experiences, complemented by training in core laboratory skills in molecular biotechnology. Targeted student participants will include rising sophomores, juniors and seniors who have demonstrated interest in plant molecular biology, with an emphasis on recruiting students from underrepresented groups.
Project elements: ? This is a new REU site. ? Project title: REU Site: Synthetic Biology Undergraduate Research Experience ? Principal Investigator: Susan Carson ? Submitting Organization: North Carolina State University; Other Organizations: none ? Location of undergraduate research: North Carolina State University ? Main fields and sub-fields of research: Synthetic biology, biotechnology, molecular biology, plant biology, chemical and biomolecular engineering, biochemistry, genomics ? Number of undergraduate participants per year: 8 NSF-funded, 3 NCSU-funded ? This is a summer REU site. ? This is a 10 week program. ? The project includes a research ethics workshop. ? Student Applicant Point-of-Contact: Sue Carson 919-513-0330 email@example.com ? Web address will link from http://www.ncsu.edu/biotechnology. Project summary: Synthetic biology is defined as ?the design and construction of new biological parts, devices and systems, or the re-design of existing, natural biological systems for useful purposes? (http://syntheticbiology.org). It is a cutting-edge technology that will attract students from a wide variety of interests and disciplines to the field of plant biology. North Carolina State University (NCSU) has a strong core of plant biologists who are working with two aspects of synthetic plant biology: using recombinant plants as ?factories? to generate useful products, and developing model systems for studying fundamental biological mechanisms. The Biotechnology (BIT) Program and the Department of Plant Biology at North Carolina State University propose to establish an REU site to provide undergraduate students with a summer research experience in this area of synthetic biology, complemented by training in core laboratory skills in molecular biotechnology. Targeted student participants will include rising sophomores, juniors and seniors who have demonstrated interest in molecular biotechnology as it applies to synthetic biology. Our goals are to inspire and train students to pursue research to answer fundamental questions and for practical applications. The intellectual merit of the proposed program stems from the following: 1. The Department of Plant Biology at NCSU has a strong core of faculty engaged in cutting-edge synthetic biology research using plant hosts. The majority of mentors are from this core faculty, with important faculty collaborations from other departments including microbiology, chemical and biomedical engineering, biochemistry, and plant pathology. 2. In addition to the research component, the program will include a three-day laboratory-intensive workshop to familiarize students with critical techniques in the molecular biology lab in the first week of the program. This hands-on workshop will allow all students to master the most critical laboratory skills before beginning in their research labs. 3. All students will receive training in essential bioinformatics skills, including navigating GenBank, performing BLAST searches, and designing PCR primers. 4. Students will have multiple public-speaking opportunities to present their research in various formats, including oral presentations in group meetings, and a poster presentation at the campus-wide undergraduate research symposium at the end of the program. The broader impacts of the program will be to attract undergraduates (with special emphasis on underrepresented groups) to pursue graduate work and ultimately a career in an area of molecular biology, especially plant molecular biology, a discipline often overlooked by minority students. By complementing a traditional summer research experience with introductory laboratory skills training and coordinated advising, we hope to develop a new paradigm for successful undergraduate research programs.