Mike Lucas


I am gay and I am a chemical engineer studying Alzheimer’s Disease.//


I am a Ph.D. candidate in Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, and I study the aggregation of Amyloid-Beta (A-Beta). A-Beta, along with tau, are hypothesized to be the main triggers for Alzheimer’s Disease. My studies focus on using functionalized materials to control the kinetics of aggregation of A-Beta in addition to biasing the structural polymorphism of the resulting fibrils and their phenotypes.
I grew up in a Catholic, conservative home and have always been active in the Church, so at a young age I had resigned myself to living the rest of my life in the closet and denying who I really was. It wasn’t until I reached grad school, where I saw active LGBTQ+ representation, that I realized it was not only safe, but fulfilling, to live as an openly gay man. After coming out in 2017, I have found that this process never ends, and although exhausting it gives me immense pride. Science has freed me and allowed me to live happily, and I hope that I can now be that queer representation for future LGBTQ+ scientists.
I also think it is important that we, as scientists, have identities outside of the lab. Therefore, I make a habit of dedicating time every week to my hobbies. My hobbies include hiking, going to concerts, and aerial arts (specifically aerial silks and rope). I highly encourage everyone to try a circus class at least once in their life!