Dr. Mason Posner, Professor, Chair
Dr. Mason Posner
Professor of Biology
320, Kettering Science Building
419.289.5691
mposner@ashland.edu
Dr. Mason Posner
Professor of Biology

Biography

  • Joined Ashland University faculty in 1999 and teaches courses in Human Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Zoology, Evolution, Marine Biology, and Molecular Biology
  • Involves students in research in his labs using molecular biology techniques to understand how eye lens proteins adapt to changes in environmental temperature
  • Students currently investigating the evolution and biological role of lens proteins called crystallins. These proteins are responsible for making the lens transparent and refracting light so that focused images fall on the retina. Amazingly, one family of crystallins, the alpha crystallins, also protect other proteins from the harmful effects of aging that can lead to lens cataracts, one of the leading causes of blindness in humans. Alpha crystallins are also involved in the original development of the lens in vertebrate embryos, and they have been linked to many diseases of the nervous system, heart, skeletal muscle, and are now known to be involved in many cancers
  • Most research into alpha crystallins is done with mammals. However, by studying how this protein has evolved in a number of fish species that live at different environmental temperatures, from the antarctic toothfish to the tropical zebrafish, they are discovering small evolutionary changes in the protein that alter its function. This helps them understand how alpha cystallins evolve, and gives us insights into how these proteins could be engineered to prevent disease
  • In more recent projects his students and him are using the zebrafish as a model organism to study the role of alpha crystallins in the development of the lens. They also use zebrafish to study the toxic effects of pesticides.

Education

University of Southern California, Ph.D. in Biology
University of Virginia, B.A. in Biology

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