This man’s research on cattle helps humans have babies.
George Seidel, a distinguished biomedical sciences professor and National Academy of Sciences member since 1992, has been involved with assisted reproductive science research for nearly 50 years.
“Some of that (research) is fairly razzle-dazzle,”
said Seidel. “And some of it is fairly straight-forward.”
The research in his animal reproduction and biotechnology laboratory includes embryo transfer, freezing, cloning, sexing sperm, freezing embryo and in vitro fertilization on mostly cattle and horses.
One specialty of Seidel’s is embryo transfer, where an embryo from one genetically valuable animal is moved to another so that there can be multiple embryos of the same cattle.
Not only do the students working in Seidel’s lab pursue careers in the field of reproductive science in animals, but also in human infertility treatment.
“If you’re going to do this with humans, you don’t use humans as the material to learn on,” Seidel said. “Cattle are probably the best way of learning these techniques. From an embryo standpoint, cattle and humans are very similar.”
Jennifer Barfield, former student of Seidel’s and assistant professor in the medical sciences department has taken over the majority of Seidel’s lab after he attempted to retire in 2011.
“He comes into my lab almost everyday and asks, ‘Is there anything I can do for you?’” Barfield said.
Although his passion is in the lab, most of his daily work revolves around raising money in the form of grants and donations and seeking approval to use animals.
“Our work is pretty much self-supporting. We get very little from the state of Colorado or the University,” Seidel said.
According to Seidel, most of the research comes down to “keeping embryos happy in incubators,” and test tubes for a long time.
Seidel encourages his students to take advantage of opportunities, including taking classes and grades seriously. As a scientist, he said the two most important things are to be honest and conscientious.
“He’s definitely left a legacy not only at Colorado State, but in his field,” said Barfield.
After studying in his lab and lectures, Alyssa Grossnickle, a masters student studying biomedical sciences, uses Seidel as a mentor.
“He’s so wise,” said Grossnickle. “He is just excellent as a mentor because he has so much experience and knowledge.”
After growing up on a farm, Seidel studied dairy cattle production as an undergraduate. From there, he went onto graduate school, getting his masters, PhD and a postdoctoral, which eventually turned into his professorship.
“Consider it an investment in life,” Seidel said. “University education is partly training to get a job, but more important, training to live.”
Collegian Features Beat Reporter Hannah Hemperly can be reached at email@example.com