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Jan. 31, 2013

Severson kicks off seminar series

Discusses research on ‘Meiosis of Worms’

By Christina Sanders

The College of Science kicked off its semester-long Cellular and Molecular Biology Spring 2013 seminar on Friday, Jan. 25, with a presentation on the Meiosis of Worms by newly hired Assistant Professor Aaron Severson.

Dr. Aaron Severson Severson recently moved to Cleveland after spending approximately 10 years doing post-doctoral research on genetics at the University of California, Berkley under Professor Barbara Meyer.

Severson is currently in the process of studying the process of the meiosis of c. elegans (worms), which he intends to use to investigate the process in which the abnormal amount of chromosomes develop in sperm and egg cells, and lead to birth defects and other abnormalities. He is using worms to understand the process in which these problems occur, but plans on relating his findings to its occurrence in humans.
Severson has been working on this project for the past seven years and is doing it as basic research with no plans for using the information for diagnostic reasons.

“We just want to generate the knowledge that will help understand the process. We have a long way to go,” he said.

He hasn’t started teaching yet as he’s been busy setting up his laboratory since his hiring in August.

When asked what attracted him to Cleveland State, he stated several reasons but lists Cleveland State’s commitment to becoming a research university as the main reason for his accepting the position.

“They had a clear plan, and it was clear that Cleveland State had made up its mind that it wanted to be a research university,” he said.

Severson thinks that it is important to develop young scholars in the biology field.

“I have every intention to bring more and more undergrads into my lab,” he said excitedly.

He hopes to create a program that will allow undergrads to be able to gain lab experience while also being paid, by making the lab some type of co-op experience in the summer.

Severson will be teaching his first class starting in Spring 2014 on Developmental Biology.