Unique Scientist: Landon Getz

Time to meet Landon Getz (He/him)! Landon is a microbiologist and molecular geneticist working on his PhD at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada!

What kind of scientist are you?
I am a microbiologist and molecular geneticist studying how a marine bacteria, called Vibrio, survives in the environment and causes disease in humans. Unfortunately, some Vibrio (including the one we study) can cause a diarrheal disease when people eat oysters raw. But, they don’t just cause disease in humans, they also thrive in the environment and can live there without ever entering a human host. How do they manage to switch back and forth between these two lifestyles? Is there any overlap in how they do that? These are the questions that my research aims to answer.

What made you want to become a scientist?
I’ve always wanted to do science ever since we started doing small experiments in elementary school. I distinctly remember floating a penny on the surface tension of water in my grade 3 class, and I remember thinking “Wow, I want to do this for the rest of my life”. I’m on that journey now.

“I remember thinking “Wow, I want to do this for the rest of my life”. I’m on that journey now.”

Landon Getz

What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
I am a gay man, and I also use the word queer to describe myself. Although not always directly visible, this part of my identity is really important for how and why I do my work, and I’m always happy to share that part of myself with people. I like to be as visible as possible for others who can’t be!

What’s something cool you do outside of work?
I love to bake bread. In fact, bread making is my alternative “science-is-hard-and-I-want-to-quit career” aspiration. I like all kinds of breads: Brioche, sourdough, challah, boules, loaves, rye, whole-wheat. You name it, I’ll make it (and eat it!).

If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
I wish that I could make folks understand that all of our individual identities matter to how and why we do science. It’s not a side-note or an unimportant (to the science) aspect, it informs the value judgments I make and the science that I do across the board.

“I wish that I could make folks understand that all of our individual identities matter to how and why we do science.”

Landon Getz

Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
I haven’t known Dr. Alex Bond and Dr. Beth Montague-Hellen for very long, but these two people inspire me everyday. Alex and Beth created LGBTSTEM, and the LGBTSTEMinar, which I had the pleasure of attending in January 2019. This experience opened my eyes to how rewarding working to increase diversity and inclusion can be, and showed me that it is actually true that “if you build it, they will come!“. The LGBTSTEMinar is a wildly successful event, it was from the start, and it all started as an idea that Beth and Alex made come to life. These two inspire me to build the things I want to see in the world, and not stop working until it happens.

Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
I’m currently (as of writing this form) attending the Advanced Bacterial Genetics Course at Cold Spring Harbour Laboratories. It’s been very busy, but also a lot of fun, and I’m proud of myself for leaving Canada and coming to the US to study here at CSHL for three weeks!


#QueerInSTEM, #LGBTSTEM

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