Professor Kathy Burleson 2014

Kathy Burleson

Senior Lecturer - Biology
Work space: St. Paul Main Campus > Drew Science Center > Drew Science Center DSC 308B

Kathy Burleson is a Senior Lecturer of Biology at Hamline University and an affiliate faculty of the Public Health program. She has published research in cancer biology and science pedagogy and is deeply interested in the intersection of science and society. Dr. Burleson advises in Hamline's pre-health professions program and is working on initiatives in the biology department to broaden diversity in science education. She is the recipient of the Anna Arnold Hedgeman Center Outstanding Faculty Award for her work on diversity, inclusion, and social justice and a recipient of the Spectrum Violet Award for her work as an LGBTQIA+ ally and support of LGBTQIA+ students in the classroom. In 2015, she received the John Wesley Trustee Award, and has also been awarded Outstanding Faculty by the Hamline College of Liberal Arts Alumni Board.

Beyond her interests in human biology, Dr. Burleson is actively involved in many programs on campus. She is a certified StepUp instructor who trains students in violence prevention strategies, has been a captain for Hamline’s Relay For Life teams, has directed the Women’s Resource Center, and is involved in numerous diversity initiatives across campus. She is the chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society and has served as a reviewer and editor for the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education. Dr. Burleson earned her BA in biochemistry from The College of St. Scholastica and her PhD in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics from the University of Minnesota.

Students who come to Dr. Burleson’s classes often profess, “I’m not a science person.” Her goal is to change these attitudes and make science accessible to all students. With her primary role at Hamline as a biology educator for non-majors, she strives to find ways to make the material relevant to their daily lives as well interesting enough to capture their attention. The labs she teaches are frequently hypothesis-driven, where students devise their own research questions or bring materials from home to test in their experiments. Since the labs are less “cookbook style,” she finds that students enjoy them more and learn practical information. Outside of class, she hosts extra-credit biology movie nights and encourages students to be involved in health-related activities (Relay For Life, fundraising for women’s health issues, Dine Out For Life) that are tied to the course content.

Biology majors can expect Professor Burleson’s courses to focus on health and disease in the human body. Her hands-on labs teach students research skills in the field, and student-led journal clubs allow them to develop their abilities reading and presenting primary literature. She also mentors students in career options, Biology-Exercise Science Seminar presentations, and works with students on diversity initiatives within the department.

“I believe that it is crucial for students to be able to make connections between science and other disciplines. Culture and society impact biology, with great effects on human health, and students must recognize the complexity of these interactions. My science courses provide spaces to discuss race and ethnicity, class, sex and gender, and other diverse issues that shape the human experience. If I’ve done my job, students leave my classes better equipped to read and understand science in the news, talk to their health care providers, vote on science issues, and act as critical consumers. And hopefully, they also leave thinking that science is fun!”
-Kathy Burleson

Burleson, K.M. and Martinez-Vaz, B.M. “Microbes in mascara: hypothesis-driven research in a nonmajor biology lab.”Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education; 12(2): 166-175, 2011.  

Burleson, K.M., Boente, M.P., Skubitz, A.P.N. “Disaggregation and invasion of ovarian carcinoma ascites spheroids." Journal of Translational Medicine; 4(6), 2006.   

Burleson, K.M., Hansen, L.K., Skubitz, A.P.N.  “Ovarian carcinoma spheroids disaggregate on type I collagen and invade live human mesothelial cell monolayers.”Clinical and Experimental Metastasis; 21(8): 685-697, 2004.  

Burleson, K.M., Casey, R.C., Skubitz, KM., Pambuccian, S.E., Oegema, T.R, Grindle, S.M., and Skubitz, A.P.N.  “Ovarian carcinoma ascites spheroids adhere to extracellular matrix components and mesothelial cell monolayers.”Gynecologic Oncology; 93(1): 170-181, 2004.  

Hibbs K, Skubitz KM, Pambuccian SE, Casey RC, Burleson KM, Oegema TR Jr, Thiele JJ, Grindle SM, Bliss RL, Skubitz AP. “Differential gene expression in ovarian carcinoma: identification of potential biomarkers.” American Journal of Pathology; 165(2): 97-414, 2004.   

Casey, R.C., Burleson, K.M., Skubitz, KM., Pambuccian, S.E., Oegema, T.R, and Skubitz, A.P.N.  “b1 Integrins Regulate the Formation and Adhesion of Ovarian Carcinoma Multicellular Spheroids”American Journal of Pathology; 159(6): 2071-2080, 2001.

Kathy Burleson CV