Unique Scientist: Dr. Giancarlo López-Martínez

Time to meet Dr. Giancarlo López-Martínez (He/him)! Dr. López-Martínez is a comparative stress physiologist originally from Puerto Rico working as an assistant professor at North Dakota State University in the USA!

What kind of scientist are you?
I am a comparative stress physiologist that focuses on how free radicals drive stress tolerance. I work to understand how insects survive and thrive in the face of countless and pervasive environmental insults. I also work with hormesis; the idea that mild stress is good and protective.

What made you want to become a scientist?
The single reason was misrepresentation. I went to a big undergraduate institution, Ohio State University, and felt that there was no one like me there. I was not aware of any Puerto Rican faculty there at that time. So I felt a push to become one. I was treated well by most but not all and decided I could only change that by being a faculty member.

“I went to a big undergraduate institution and felt that there was no one like me there.”

Dr. Giancarlo López-Martínez

What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
I am a 240 lbs weight lifter Boricua (Puerto Rican) man that has trouble finding lab coats that fit well and most days I feel like that round peg in a board full of square holes. Being Boricua and leaving the island after high school to pursue an “American” education was extremely hard because in 1994, I was poorly represented as an undergraduate. However, in 2019 I am still poorly represented as a faculty member. I’ve faced discrimination from peers and administrators in the past (had to switch schools), but I am here to stay and support everyone that needs support.

What’s something cool you do outside of work?
I am a Lego freak. I’ve always loved Legos and my kids and I are always building up a storm. My faculty office looks like a small version of a Lego store.

If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
The elimination of micro-aggressions. We are educated enough as a people to do better. We know that the idea of hurting someone because of their background and appearance is wrong. We know better. We need to do better. And we WILL do better.

“I’ve faced discrimination from peers and administrators in the past, but I am here to stay and support everyone that needs support.”

Dr. Giancarlo López-Martínez

Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
I had a series of amazing advisors. They were all white men but understanding, caring, and supportive. I lucked out with my PhD and postdoc advisors. These men taught and trained me while being understanding and accepting. They inspired me to always be better. They taught me that respecting people for what they do is possible and that the allies we need in our fight can be white men too.

Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
I recently submitted a paper to a prestigious aging journal. I have been working in the aging field (how stress affects aging) for a while now, but have never submitted a paper to an actual aging journal. Regardless of how it goes, I trusted myself and my student’s hard work enough to push the big button!

#LatinxInSTEM, #BrownInSTEM

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