Five questions: An interview with Peter Laplant

Q: Did you grow up thinking about a career in the biomedical research field?

A: I thought I would paint cars! I grew up in Stetson, Maine, and was anything but education and career oriented in high school. I had a lot more interest in muscle cars than I did in homework. I was concerned as to whether or not I would actually graduate on time, and it came down to the wire. It was close.

Q: Okay, so what happened?

A: Amazingly enough I got into Unity College (Maine) and graduated in 1999 with a degree in aquaculture. I ended up working construction for a few years, then traveled out
West. I was in Phoenix in August 2002 when I heard an NPR story about biomedical research that mentioned The Jackson Laboratory. I came back to Maine and applied here a month later. I told them I would take any job; I just wanted a foot in the door.

Q: Why did you want to work here?

A: I came here because I thought it offered terrific opportunities for growth and advancement if you had interests and ideas, and I was right. I started in animal care and moved around a bit before becoming a supervisor in the repository in 2005. I moved into my current job in 2007.

Q: What is your current job like?

A: Challenging! You're trying to match supply with demand, and you can't just turn a knob and produce more mice in a week. You always need to look three steps ahead. I work mostly with our mutant mice—about 60 strains—and am always trying to figure out ways to improve our supply chain. I drive my boss crazy sometimes with all my emails. [Laughs]

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

A: Anything outdoorsy, like canoeing, hunting, fishing. But my wife and I bought an 1868 farmhouse that's kind of a fixer-upper, and we're expecting our first child this fall, so I won't be getting out much for a while.