Accent Stories

Dr. Mason Posner


Professor of Biology

One of the most rewarding parts of my job at Ashland University is being able to help students find their career paths. During one of my first years at AU, I was working with a second-year student in my Anatomy and Physiology course. Jason Dahlman was a pole vaulter on the track team and very interested in going to medical school. He was doing a great job in my course, and I asked him if he would like to do research with me in my lab. Undergraduate research is beneficial when you apply to medical school, and also essential for students interested in going on for their masters or Ph.D. Jason had not thought about doing research but agreed to give it a try. Jason worked with me on a project determining how three proteins in the eye lens help us avoid cataracts, cloudiness in the lens that is the leading cause of blindness worldwide. The research had a health focus, which was great for a young pre-med student, but the work was being done in zebrafish, a common model organism for studying human disease. Jason learned quickly and after a couple of semesters in the lab, he worked with me full time during the summer of 2001. We collected enough data to put together a presentation for a science conference held in Toronto, Canada, in the winter of 2002. It was at that conference that Jason’s career path changed. Jason gave a poster presentation of his work and had the opportunity to see other research talks and meet with graduate students and professors from around the world. But the key moment was an evening at a local restaurant where Jason and I were hanging out with a bunch of current Ph.D. students. Jason told me later that this was the night that showed him that he was meant to go to graduate school and be a scientist. Jason went on to get his Ph.D. in the Biomedical Sciences program at The Ohio State University and then did postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It was at NIH that his career path changed again after an internship in their technology transfer office. Jason then returned to Ohio State, where he currently works as a Senior Licensing Manager, negotiating the commercialization of research discoveries made at the university. This was a research career that Jason did not even know existed when he started his Ph.D.

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