• Title:
    Associate Professor of Biology, Biology Department Coordinator
  • Department:

Susan E. Barbaro, Ph.D.



During her undergraduate studies, Dr. Susan E. Barbaro had the opportunity to study under the direction of Dr. Paul Widden. Dr. Widden’s enthusiasm for microbiology and his commitment to teaching encouraged her own interest in environmental microbiology. After finishing her undergraduate degree, she enrolled in the Master of Science program at the University of Waterloo, where she gained additional training in microbiology. During this period, she studied the microbial ecology of the saturated subsurface and the effects of hydrocarbon contamination on this environment’s indigenous microbial populations.

After completing her M.S., she obtained employment at an agricultural biotechnology firm that developed biological pest control agents as alternatives to chemical pesticides. She soon realized that her career goals were not to be found in industry, but rather in academia. After two years in the industry, she enrolled as a doctoral candidate during which time she studied the physiology of a psychotropic crude oil degrading bacterium. Her first full-time teaching position after obtaining her doctorate was at Delaware State University. In 2003, she joined the faculty at Rivier. Her goal is to inspire many new generations of biologists.


  • Ph.D., University of Waterloo
  • M.S., University of Waterloo
  • B.S., Concordia University

Academic Philosophy

“My approach to teaching stresses the need for students to acquire a good understanding of the fundamental principles and theories of biology. I believe that teaching practices should incorporate student interaction involving open discussions, debates, and creative problem-solving. In conjunction with lectures, laboratory exercises are designed to demonstrate the fundamentals so that students may visualize concepts introduced in the lectures. My goal is to give students the tools they need to be successful biologists.”


  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science

 Recent Publications and Proceedings

  1. Nelson, M. L., Grier, M.C., Barbaro, S. E., and Ismail M. Y. 2009. Polyfunctional Antibiotics Affecting Bacterial Membrane Dynamics. Anti-Infective Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, 8:3-16.
  2. Barbaro, S. E. and Symonds, J. A. (2006) The Efficacy of a Novel Quartenary Ammonium Foot Spray (NQAFS) against Foot Odor Causing Microorganisms. Rivier College Online Academic Journal. Vol. 2, No. 1.
  3. Barbaro, S. E. (2006) Potential for Intrinsic Biodegradation of Methyl Tert-Butyl Ether (MBTE) in the Unconfined Aquifer Underlying the Dover National Test Site, Dover Air Force Base, DE. Rivier College Online Academic Journal. Vol. 2, No. 1.
  4. Barbaro, S.E., Trevors, J.T., and Inniss, W.E. (2002) Effect of different carbon sources and cold shock on protein synthesis by a psychrotrophic Acinetobacter sp. Canadian Journal of Microbiology. 48:239-244.
  5. Barbaro, S. E., Trevors, J.T., and Inniss, W.E. (2001) Effects of low temperature, cold shock, and carbon sources on esterase and lipase activities and exopolymer production by a psychrotrophic Acinetobacter sp. Canadian Journal of Microbiology. 47:194-205.
  6. Barbaro, S. E., Trevors, J.T., and Inniss, W.E. (1999) Effect of different carbon sources on membrane permeability, membrane fluidity, and fatty acid composition of a psychrotrophic Acinetobacter sp. HH1-1 during growth at low temperatures and after cold shock. International Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology. 15:683-692.
  7. Butler, B.J., Barbaro, S.E., Crocker, F.H., and Mayfield, C.I. (1997) Characterization of microbial populations of the Borden Aquifer. Geomicrobiology Journal. 14:253-268.
  8. Barbaro, S.E., Albrechtsen, H.-J., Jensen, B.K., Mayfield, C.I., and Barker, J.F. (1994) Relationships between aquifer properties and microbial populations in the Borden Aquifer. Geomicrobiology Journal. 12:203-219.