Victoria Turgeon

Victoria Turgeon

Professor,Biology; Academic Director, Prisma Health Partnership; Faculty Ombuds

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After graduating from Randolph-Macon Woman's College in 1993, Dr. Victoria Turgeon went on to pursue a PhD in neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest University where she focused on the role of serine proteases in neuronal development and degeneration. She received her PhD in 1998 along with the Norman Sulkin Award for Excellence in Neuroscience and was immediately hired at Furman University as an Assistant Professor of Biology. During her tenure at Furman, Dr. Turgeon has been awarded the Henry and Ellen Townes Associate Professorship of Biology, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Distinguished Mentor Award, the Alester G. Furman Jr and Janie Earle Furman Meritorious Teaching Award, and the SCICU Excellence in Teaching Award. Her lab has been funded by grants received by the National Institutes of Health and the South Carolina Spinal Cord Research Fund and, along with her students, she has published articles in Thrombosis Research, IMPULSE, Psychopharmacology, Journal for the South Carolina Academy of Science, and the Journal of Freshwater Ecology. During this time Dr. Turgeon has peer-reviewed articles for Journal of Neurobiology, Journal of Neurochemistry, and Journal of Neuroscience. Her greatest professional achievements are her students who have gone on to pursue their passions in the fields of biology and neuroscience.

She has also served as the faculty supervisor of Furman's editorial staff for IMPULSE: Undergraduate Journal of Neuroscience.


  • Ph.D., Wake Forest University
  • B.A., Randolph-Macon Woman's College

Honors and Awards

  • SC Independent Colleges and Universities Excellence in Teaching Award 2011
  • Alester and Janie E. Furman Meritorious Teaching Award, Furman University 2010
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Distinguished Mentor Award 2008
  • Henry and Ellen Townes Associate Professor of Biology, Furman University 2004

Dr. Turgeon and her students are interested in the mechanisms that regulate neuronal and glial cell development and degeneration. They are most interested in the role of a specific receptor, protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR-1), in regulating these processes. To examine the role of this receptor they employ cellular, histological, and molecular techniques. Most recently, Dr. Turgeon and her students have developed a method to examine these cells within a three-dimensional system that better represents these cells within the body.


  • *Denotes undergraduate co-author
    • Hetherington, S.*, & Turgeon, V. L. (2019). Relative expression of protease-activated receptor 1 (PAR-1) mRNA in rat Schwann cells remains stable following PAR-1 activation. Bios, 90(4), 208-217.
    • Turgeon V.L., Salman N.*, and Houenou L.J. Thrombin: a neuronal cell modulator. Thrombosis Research (invited review article). 99: 417-427. 2000.
    • Meuleners C*, Turgeon V. PAR-1 activation by SFLLRNP decreases myelin deposition on lumbar motor neuron axons as assessed with cupric silver staining. IMPULSE: An Undergraduate Journal for Neuroscience [serial online]; 2010. 1-9.
    • Grisel JE, Bartels JL*, Allen SA, Turgeon VL. Influence of B-endorphin on anxious behavior in mice: interaction with EtOH. Psychopharmacology. 200: 105-115. 2008.
    • Bumpass DB* and Turgeon VL. Avian motorneuon apoptosis following protease activated receptor-1 activation is triggered neither through increased free intracellular calcium levels nor decreased neurotrophic support. Journal for the South Carolina Academy of Science. 3: 13-23. 2005.
    • Salman N.*, Watkins A.*, Hamel K.*, Funderburk S.F.*, Gadsden, L.*, and Turgeon, VL. PAR mediation of thrombin-induced effects on motoneurons. South Carolina Academy of Science. 1:1-9. 2003.
    • Worthen WB, Haney DC, Cuddy CC*, Turgeon VL., and Andersen C.B. The effect of an industrial spill on the macrofauna of a South Carolina stream: physiological to community-level responses. Journal of Freshwater Ecology. 16: 467-477. 2001.
    • Turgeon VL., Milligan CE, and Houenou LJ. Activation of the protease-activated thrombin receptor (PAR)-1 induces motoneuron degeneration in the developing avian embryo. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 58: 499-504. 1999.
    • Houenou LJ., d?Costa AP., Li L., Turgeon VL, Enyadike C, Alberdi E, and Becerra P. Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) promotes the survival and differentiation of developing spinal motor neurons. Journal of Comparative Neurology 412: 506-514. 1999.
    • Turgeon VL and Houenou LJ. Prevention of motoneuron degeneration induced by thrombin with different neurotrophic agents in highly enriched cultures. Journal of Neurobiology 38: 571-580. 1999.
    • Turgeon VL, Lloyd ED, Wang S, Festoff BW and Houenou LJ. Thrombin perturbs neurite outgrowth and induces apoptotic cell death in enriched chick spinal motoneuron cultures through caspase activation. Journal of Neuroscience 18: 6882-6891. 1998.
    • Turgeon VL and Houenou LJ. The role of thrombin-like (serine) proteases in the development, plasticity and pathology of the nervous system (review). Brain Research Reviews 25: 85-93. 1997.

Additional Professional Activity

Has served on the Board of Directors for the SC Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund since 2018