Hyun Youk


I am gay and I am a quantitative biologist and a physicist.//

I’m an assistant professor at TU Delft in the Netherlands where I’ve been running a group of biologists and physicists since 2015. My group’s goal is to understand how a system becomes living and how it becomes either truly or seemingly dead (e.g., dormant spores). By identifying all possible (bidirectional) transitions between life and “death”, I hope to find a common set of principles that give rise to life. I’ve dreamt of pursuing this topic since I was a grad student. I’m very fortunate to have a lab with talented trainees with whom I can pursue my dream and passion. Science benefits when everyone can pursue the questions that personally speak to them in supportive environments. I’d like to do my part in encouraging and supporting LGBTQ+ trainees who – like me when I was a student – may be wondering if they can “make it” in science. As an undergrad and grad student, I didn’t really know any LGBTQ+ scientists around me who could serve as role models. I hope that by being open about myself, I can contribute, even in some small way, a sense of belonging to other young scientists who are in the LGBTQ+ community.