L.K. Tuominen

He/him, they/them, or s/he/hir

I’m transgender and pansexual and I’m a botanist. //

My main research interest is in plant secondary metabolism. I have contributed to research on growing food during spaceflight, defense and cell wall pathways in a biofuels crop, and (in my current postdoctoral position) adaptation of desert plants to challenging soil conditions. I have also completed training in environmental ethics, applied in ecological modeling research. After completing the PhD, I took a five-year career detour for my transition. I tried freelance science editing, biostatistical consulting, adjunct teaching, and ski coaching. I also volunteered for the nonprofit that helped me toward medical transition, then brought what I learned to the classroom. Beyond creating transgender- and intersex-informed biology content, I have led workshops on creative career problem solving for scientists and developed a course exploring how science has both reinforced and disproven racist ideas over time. I am glad to be back in academia full-time, but the detour was worth it!