Professor Jeff Dahlseid ’90Faculty member in the Departments of Biology,Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Chemistry
Posted on November 21st, 2022 by

“One of the things that attracted me as a professor was the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program.”

I grew up in Fergus Falls. My parents met at Gustavus. They were both first- generation college students who became public educators and really strong proponents of the liberal arts. I was interested in the biomolecular fields and Gustavus got me on a phone call with a current student.

During my first year as a student, I had to learn that it was important to sleep and how to find the members of my tribe. The fellas next door turned out to be super swell guys. There was a period I was thinking about transferring and it was a friend in my science classes who convinced me to give it another chance.

I did well enough my first semester but not as well as I hoped. I went to get academic support and that’s how I met staff member Julie Johnson ’69. We had a shared passion for wonder and the outdoors and where those two things come together. She became a person I could drop in and share successes with.

After graduation, I did my PhD at Northwestern University, then post-doctoral research at University of Wisconsin-Madison. I started a tenure track professorship at St. Olaf. I came to the 2001 Nobel Conference. My former Gustavus professors encouraged me to follow up on an opening in biochemistry and molecular biology, a program at Gustavus started jointly by the biology and chemistry departments. Gustavus was one of the first schools in the upper Midwest to have such a major. Colleges have since been offering biochem as a second major out of biology or chemistry, but to me, the interesting stuff is at the intersections of these fields. I’ve been here as a professor since the fall of 2002.

When I think about what makes a great Gustie, I think about those with broad or varied interests, curiosity, a love for learning, who enjoy community and laughter. I don’t mean to get sappy, but I think that tag line of being interested in making their lives count is true of Gusties.


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