Suzanne Deschenes, Ph.D.

Suzanne M. Deschênes, Ph.D.

Associate Professor , Biology

Areas of Specialization: Genetics, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology

Degrees and Certifications

    • Post-Doctoral Associate, 1997-2001, Oregon Health & Sciences University, Molecular & Medical Genetics, Portland, OR, Laboratory of R. Michael Liskay, Ph.D.
    • Ph.D., 1997, Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Pennsylvania
    • A.B., 1990, Biology, College of the Holy Cross


    • Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society
    • Phi Beta Kappa
    • Genetics Society of America
    • Environmental Mutagenesis Society

Teaching Responsibilities

    • BI299 – Cancer Biology
    • BI235 – Principles of Biotechnology
    • BI335 – Topics in Genetics
    • BI399 – Senior Seminar
    • BI111/113 – Concepts in Biology I
    • BI112/114 – Concepts in Biology II
    • Biology First Year Seminar

Research Interests and Grants

    Dr. Deschênes’ research interests focus on studying telomere dynamics and heavy metal tolerance in Limulus polyphemus, the American horseshoe crab. Telomeres in many species are known to shorten with age, but telomere dynamics have yet to be reported for the horseshoe crab. Therefore, we are investigating the telomere sequence and length fluctuations of telomeres in individuals of different ages. Ultimately, our findings may impact our understanding of the age structure of the Long Island Sound population of Limulus. A second project in the laboratory involves identifying the molecular processes by which horseshoe crabs protect themselves against heavy metal toxicity.  While many marine invertebrates are highly susceptible to pollutants, especially heavy metals, Limulus is surprisingly tolerant to these chemical insults, except at early developmental stages.  We are particularly interested in determining whether oxidative damage is apparent in metal-exposed horseshoe crab embryos, and assessing the roles of various enzymes and proteins in the heavy metal response.


    • Sacred Heart University Research and Creativity Grant (2014-2015)
    • Sacred Heart University Research and Creativity Grant (2008-2009)                                            
    • Sacred Heart University Academics for Creative Teaching Grant (2006-2007)
    • Sacred Heart University Research and Creativity Grant (2004-2005)                           
    • Sacred Heart University Research and Creativity Grant (2003-2004)          

Awards and Fellowships

    • NIH National Research Service Award - Postdoctoral Fellowship (1998-2001)                     
    • Recipient of NIH Cell & Molecular Biology Training Grant Award (1990-1992)   
    • Crompton Gold Medal (best biology research paper), College of the Holy Cross (1990)                   
    • New England Consortium for Undergraduate Science Education Fellowship (1989)

Publications and Presentations

Suzanne M. DeschĂȘnes

Contact Information

Office Location & Hours

  • Location:
    Science Ctr of Academic Bldg SC*217F
    College of Arts and Sciences
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