Lab Manager, Johnson Lab
5W Wing Manager, LSI
This month, our BIOCAPS Spotlight is on Leanne Beet!
Leanne grew up in the Lower Mainland before moving to Montreal and majoring in Biochemistry at McGill University. In 2017, she joined the UBC CPS Department as a part time Gross Anatomy Lab Technician and part time Lab Manager of the Johnson Lab in the Diabetes Research Group. She became a full time Lab Manager in 2019, and the 5W Wing Manager in 2021. Her duties include overseeing daily lab functionality, maintaining lab inventories, writing research ethics protocols and lab-specific procedures, purchasing supplies and equipment, reconciling financial records, administrating online tools and software licenses, onboarding new students, enforcing lab safety and hazardous waste disposal procedures, carrying out experiments, and troubleshooting equipment issues. As the 5W Wing Manager, she is the point of contact for shared equipment and maintenance issues in the wing.
Tell us about what you like most about your job and any message you want to share with the department.
The flexibility and compassion here. For faculty members, juggling research, teaching, and committee responsibilities is already a Herculean task without the added pressure of providing consistently supportive mentorship, so I’m grateful that our PI (Prof. Jim Johnson) works tirelessly to foster an open-minded, creativity-driven lab culture that prioritizes student well-being and values everyone’s input. The most innovative ideas can often come from newcomers to a field, outsiders to a society, or those who had to overcome adversity to be here. Pursuing a career in academic research is impressive and challenging enough before considering that many researchers are also facing issues relating to parenthood, relocation, language barriers, caregiving, mental illness, neurodiversity, gender and sexual identity, racial inequality, financial hardship, evolving relationships, trauma, grief, visible and invisible disabilities, and so on. Our differences, struggles, and histories should not be barriers to success, but rather, become woven into the rich tapestry of unique perspectives with which we can investigate our research themes; cutthroat environments simply rob themselves of this heterogeneity of ideas. I believe that researchers who are good people and who have demonstrated the passion, perspicacity, and perseverance to get this far should be supported through any personal or professional setbacks, and I feel that has been my experience here. In essence, students are research’s up-and-coming star talent: they can teach us as just as much as we teach them, and It’s been highly rewarding to help find solutions to make lab life easier for them so that they can focus on thinking critically about their research projects and drive the field forward. We must cultivate the garden in which curiosity can grow and hope for the future can flourish. I’m so proud to be part of our lab, and I can’t wait to see what our researchers will accomplish in the future!
What is your hidden talent?
I have a reputation for being talented at pub trivia, but it’s mostly just good guesses and enthusiasm… I get pretty excited about solving puzzles (I usually have a Rubik’s cube within arm’s reach at home).
What is your favourite quote?
“In life one should never give in, surrender oneself to mediocrity, but rather move out of that grey area where everything is habit and passive resignation. One has to grow the courage to rebel.” – Rita Levi-Montalcini (1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine)
“Freedom is itself a poetics, in that it seeks to reschematize time, space, and feeling in the direction of a future driven by an ethics of care, a relational practice of joy-making that is all of ours to enact. […] In the face of an antagonistic relation to the past, let us start anew in the haven of a world in the image of our radical art.” Billy-Ray Belcourt, “A History of My Brief Body”
What is the best book you have ever read?
I can’t look at a bicycle without thinking of Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman. For non-fiction, probably Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex.