I am a Professor and chairperson of the Department of Biology/Toxicology in the College of Arts and Sciences at Ashland University, a medium sized private school in Ohio.  My undergraduate research students and I use a small tropical fish called the zebrafish to study the function of the ocular lens and what can go wrong to produce cataracts, one of the leading causes of human blindness.  We also compare lens proteins from different fish species to understand how they have evolved to function in different environments.  I teach a number of courses including Marine Biology, Evolution, and Human Anatomy and Physiology, as well as seminars on professional development and science communication.  I am interested in incorporating new techniques and online technologies to actively engage students in my classes.  I developed the social media outreach and alumni engagement for our science programs and currently lead our University’s Council of Department Chairs.



See what we are doing in the classroom and field


Read about current and past projects in our lab

Lab Members

Meet our lab members and alumni

Pubs and Talks

Keep tabs on where we are presenting our work

Our latest paper is out

Our latest paper is out in the online, open access journal PeerJ. In this figure we show that both mouse and zebrafish control regions for the alpha A-crystallin gene work in zebrafish embryos. This result shows that we can use zebrafish as a model for studying these gene promoters.

Lab member news

Lab member Kelly Murray graduated in Spring of 2017 and is now pursuing her PhD in Cornell University’s Molecular and Cellular Biology Program. The photo below shows Kelly at our inverted microscope. We don’t typically wear lab coats at the microscope, but our campus photographer visited last summer so we tried to look professional.

Check out the new lab logo!

Ashland University Biology major Chanel Bluntschly has designed our new lab logo. It captures our use of molecular tools with the zebrafish model species to study the biology and development of the eye lens.


University of Southern California
PhD, Marine Biology, 1998
Dissertation advisor: Dr. Robert Lavenberg, Curator of Fishes, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History

University of Virginia
BA, Biology, 1991

Professional Experience

Ashland University, Department of Biology and Toxicology
Professor of Biology, 2009-present
Chairperson, 2008-2017
Associate Professor, 2003-2009
Assistant Professor, 1999-2003

Jules Stein Eye Insitute
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Mentor: Dr. Joseph Horwitz

You can find me on these social media sites

Or contact me the old fashioned way

Ashland University
Department of Biology
401 College Avenue
Ashland, OH 44805
mposner@ashland.edu; (m) 330-421-9552