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Getting to Know Lawrence Kazak, PhD

Date Posted: Wednesday, November 23, 2022
By: David Guertin, PhD

We are excited to host Dr. Lawrence Kazak on December 1st to kick off a MetNet month featuring mitochondria biology.  Lawrence studies mechanisms of mitochondrial energetics in adipocytes and cancer cells at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  He began his scientific training at York University in Toronto, where he obtained his BA and MSc.  Lawrence completed his PhD studies in the Biological Sciences at the University of Cambridge, UK in 2013.  He did his post-doctoral studies at Harvard Medical School with Bruce Spiegelman, where he developed his current research program around thermogenic adipocytes.  He started his lab at McGill in 2018 at the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Institute. 

As is our custom, we asked Lawrence to answer both science and non-science related questions.

What things keep you busy outside of lab?

Trying to raise two young boys to be decent members of society and to understand that sleep is critical for their well-being.

What are you currently reading or binging on Netflix?

I barely have time to read papers, so when I do read, it's usually scientific articles. I recently watched "Stutz" by Jonah Hill (highly recommend) and anything by Ken Burns on PBS.

What is a memorable funny thing that happened to you in the lab?

Late one night before my faculty interview at McGill I was finishing up an experiment. As I was putting the samples into the -80C, I dropped some of the samples. I bent over to pick them up and as I stood up I smashed my head on the -80C freezer door.  With my head bleeding, I walked to the ER to get my head stapled.  The next morning, with fresh shiny staples in my bald head, I interviewed at McGill. 

What is a hidden talent most people don’t know about you? 

Before my life in science, I went to Art school and ran a Capoeira (Brazilian martial art) academy.

What would you say is your best habit?

Why don't I tell you what my worst habits are: I work too hard, I care too much, and sometimes I can be too invested in my job.