Debra Schutte PhD, RN

Associate Professor
College of Nursing
Email: schutted [at] msu [dot] edu
515-A West Fee
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824

Dr. Debra Schutte leads the CoSAGE Project in partnership with her collaborator and spouse, Dr. Brian Schutte. Debra has been a Registered Nurse since 1982, beginning her career as a staff nurse in adult critical care units in both community and university hospitals in Nebraska, Wisconsin and Illinois. Upon moving to Iowa City in 1991, she returned to school at The University of Iowa to obtain her BSN (1994), MSN in community health (1996) and PhD in gerontological nursing (2001).  She joined the faculty at The University of Iowa in 2001 and since then has been actively conducting research to identify genetic factors involved in the symptoms of Alzheimer disease and in the experience of pain. In addition she has conducted research aimed at understanding the psychosocial impact of genetic information for individuals and families. Debra is actively engaged in the nursing genetics and gerontology community, being a Past-President of the International Society of Nurses in Genetics, and a past John A. Hartford Foundation Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Post-Doctoral Fellow (2002-2004). Debra relocated to East Lansing MI in 2008 to join the faculty at the Michigan State University College of Nursing and to pursue the CoSAGE partnership. She writes, “The CoSAGE Project provides a unique and exciting opportunity to bring together my experiences as a nurse clinician, my clinical training in community health, gerontology, and genetics, and my research training in Alzheimer disease and genetics towards the development of this community-academic partnership. The opportunity to meet and build relationships with the members of our partner communities, and the opportunity to mesh science with community is one of the most personally and professionally rewarding experiences of my career to date.”


Debra grew up on her parent’s family farm in central Nebraska. She fondly remembers doing the chicken chores, helping her dad irrigate corn, and listening to stories of her paternal grandfather’s immigration, at the age of 18, from Germany to the US. Her current chores include caring for numerous rescue animals (Meet Co and Sage). And her current leisure activities include music, tennis and gardening. Deb and Brian alternate between their home in East Lansing and their home in Pewamo, MI.