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Susan Cole

Associate Professor, Molecular Genetics
Educational History:

B.S. in Molecular Genetics, University of Rochester
Ph.D. in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology, Johns Hopkins University
Postdoctoral work in Developmental Biology at Princeton University

Describe your current research:

My lab is interested in how communication between cells regulates embryonic development and how disruptions in cell signaling contribute to human disease. We study a cell signaling pathway called the Notch pathway that is critical for normal embryo development, and is dysregulated in numerous cancers. One special area of interest is in how Notch signaling contributes to a genetic clock that times developmental decisions during embryonic development.

What classes are you currently teaching?

MOLGEN 4606 (Molecular Genetics)
MOLGEN 4703 (Human Genetics)
ASC 1138 (Freshman Seminar titled “Transgenes and Stem Cells and Clones oh my! Exploring Biology through Fiction)

What aspect of your teaching gives you the most satisfaction?

Those moments when something “clicks” for a student and I know they truly understand something that they didn’t before.

What book, movie or music would you recommend?

I am an avid reader, especially in the area of speculative fiction, and love movies. I also think some great things are being done in television these days. Some recent things I’ve liked in these areas:

Book: My Real Children by Jo Walton. A woman suffering from dementia remembers two distinct lives in which she made different choices that created new realities

Movie: Arrival. Such an interesting premise, that how we communicate influences how we perceive reality. The story it’s based on (“Story of your Life” by Ted Chiang) is also wonderful.

Television Show: Orphan Black. One of the most accurate views I’ve seen about what cloned human beings would probably really be like. The actress playing the clones (Tatiana Maslany) is outstanding!

What is the most interesting place you’ve visited?

Prague. A beautiful old city that escaped much of the war-related damage seen in other European cities. And an easy side trip to St. Thomas' Abbey in Brno, where Gregor Mendel grew his peas!

What is the best advice you’ve received?

You are what you do every day. If the things you spend the most time and effort on don’t reflect who you want to be, you need to change something.

What advice would you give to undergraduate students?

This is a time in your life to try something (classes, clubs, etc.) that push you outside your comfort zone. Take advantage of your ability to do things that aren’t directly related to your major or eventual career!

Would you like to share an interesting fact about yourself?

I danced and taught ballet semi-professionally as a teen and did theater in college.

Besides your research and courses, if students stopped by your office what would be fun to discuss? 

Feel free to stop by my office hours.  I love to talk about old movies and science fiction.


In 2017, Cole received the Ohio State Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Read more about Cole’s research, teaching and many achievements:
Ohio State Website

Office and contact information:
282 Biological Sciences Building
484 West 12th Avenue
Cole.354@osu.edu

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