New York Medical College

School of Medicine

Faculty Profile - Susan Carey Olson, Ph.D.


Susan OlsenSusan Carey Olson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Susan Carey Olson teaches just about every student at New York Medical College. She is course director for Medical Biochemistry, part of the medical school curriculum and she team-teaches an upper-level cell signaling course with Dr. Kenneth Lerea. In the basic sciences curriculum, she lectures in graduate biochemistry and protein structure function.

Q: What are you best known for?

A: Lecturing at a rapid rate. Some of the students have commented that I really give them their money’s worth.

Q: What are you proudest of?

A: Professionally, the fact that the students think I am an effective teacher. Personally, I’m proud of my children. (Ed.—Dr. Olson has four daughters—all as smart, attractive and accomplished as their mother.)

Q: What struck you as you were making your decision to join the faculty at New York Medical College?
A: That I could do two things that I love to do—teaching and conducting biomedical research.

Q: What is your area of research focus?

A: I’m interested in how an extracellular stimuli is translated into a correct intracellular response, as alterations in this communication are responsible for many diseases. Specifically, I am looking at what goes wrong when people develop pulmonary hypertension.

Q: What’s going on in your lab at present?

A: We’re looking at alterations in signal transduction in pulmonary hypertension. More specifically, we study the effects of hypoxia, serotonin and bone morphogenetic protein-2 in modulating the growth of human pulmonary artery endothelial cells.

Q: What is your next goal?
A: To travel more so I can meet people from all over the world.

Q: What do you want prospective students to know about New York Medical College?

A: This is an excellent place for students who want to become a physician—and who want to conduct research. We have faculty who are dedicated to teaching and faculty who are on the cutting edge of research. It’s the best of both worlds.

Q: What is your philosophy of teaching?

A: First and foremost, I try to give my students the information they need to build a solid foundation to practice medicine. I don’t necessarily ask that they memorize everything, but at least they will know where they can find the information they need. I also try to instill in them a sense that we are in a partnership of sorts—one that will make them the best doctor they can become. Before they graduate, I tell my students that I want to feel confident enough to send my own children to them, knowing they would receive excellent care.

Q: Do you have a favorite quotation you’d like to share?
A: I guess it’s one I always tell my children: you can play hard but this must be balanced by working hard.