Vic Zamloot. Photo provided by Vic Zamloot
Vic Zamloot. Photo provided by Vic Zamloot

Vic (they/he) is a nonbinary, transmasculine PhD student studying biology. Their background is in DNA repair but currently conduct immuno-oncology research, studying how Salmonella can be used to infiltrate solid tumors. Outside of research, they navigate mental health in academia and being the first transgender student in their graduate program. After graduate school they hope to be an editor and writer of scientific publications and grants.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Yes, two cats! My sweet bean Helix and absolute gremlin Frankie (aka Rosalind Franklin)

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

I have a gorgeous print of a DNA helix that my partner gave me for my birthday

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

I grew up learning Spanish through elementary/middle/high school but have lost most of it unfortunately.

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

Work in nonprofit for queer and trans youth

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?


10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

San Francisco, California

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

To understand Helix when she meows at me

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

The Youtube series “Carmilla” and its subsequent movie are great. Queer-positive retelling of a 19th century vampire novella that warned of the dangers of homosexuality

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Work out, play video games, and relax on the couch with the cats

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

My partner, my chosen family, and my cats

15 What beverage gives you life?

Caffeine-Free Diet Coke (I am trash)

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?


17 What did you want to be when you grew up?


18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Being the first and only trans person in my program. Gotta stick it to academia somehow!

19 What got you excited in science?

Being in nature and seeing so many amazing creatures, particularly bugs.

20 What excites you about science now?

The prospect of discovering the mechanisms of human disease and how to thwart them

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Trying not to feel guilty about it, but Pokemon Go

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

Not so secret, but I can do puzzles very quickly. So quickly that my family doesn’t let me participate in their puzzles.

23 What is your favorite game?

Pokemon Go

24 What is the last book you read?

The Golden Compass

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Remember that some thoughts aren’t you, they’re anxiety and OCD. And they’re a tricky bitch.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Roller Derby

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

You won’t have to hide yourself to make everyone else happy. Things work out.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Doing a puzzle while watching Great British Bake-Off

29 What is the last thing you watched?


30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Nasal saline gel

31 What is your favorite animal?

Salamanders or cats

32 What is your favorite book?

The Percy Jackson series. And all the spin-offs.

33 What is your favorite comfort food?


34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Christmas Day

35 What is your favorite plant?

Any and all succulents

36 What is your favorite science fact?

Calico cats get their pattern from X inactivation, which is why they’re nearly exclusively female

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Clean laundry

39 What is your favorite sound?

Helix purring, or my partner singing

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

That I’ve embraced my queerness despite never thinking I could be out

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?


42 What is your proudest moment?

Either coming out to my parents as trans, or getting my school to convert all single-user bathrooms to be gender-neutral

43 What kind of tree would you be?


44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

Seeing the mountains every single day

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

My big toe is as long as my middle finger.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Vicky Stein (@AgentRedSquirrl) and Erin Maier (so_erinaceous)