Leidys Gutierrez-Martinez

Leidys Gutierrez-Martinez plans to work in behavioral research, lifestyle medicine, and public health. When she isn’t studying, Leidys likes to play sports, dance, and hike state parks.

Get to know Leidys

  • Program: Kinesiology
  • Class: Second year master’s
  • Hometown: Barrancabermeja, Colombia
  • Career goal: Behavioral research, lifestyle medicine, and public health
  • Awards/honors: Sharon Mathes Graduate Scholarship
  • Most influential ISU mentor: Duck-Chul Lee
  • Favorite class: VDPAM 527, Applied Statistical Methods in Population Studies
  • Why Iowa State: study under Duck-Chul Lee, research project opportunities

After traveling the world, Leidys Gutierrez-Martinez finds research mentorship at Iowa State 

For Leidys Gutierrez-Martinez, becoming a physician was only the introduction to her career in the medical field. Leidys attended school in Colombia, where she earned her Doctorate of Medicine.

As a medical student, Leidys worked in epidemiologic research to analyze health and disease conditions in defined populations, while volunteering to deliver primary healthcare to low-resource populations in rural areas of Colombia. As a doctor, she worked in the division of internal medicine focused on heart and pulmonary diseases. Now a master’s student at Iowa State University, Leidys focuses her research on preventative medicine strategies.

After studying and conducting research in multiple places — Colombia, Thailand, Australia, and New York — Leidys came to Iowa State to study under kinesiology professor Duck-Chul (DC) Lee specifically. After she had found that his research matched her own interests in preventative medicine through exercise, Leidys and Lee began video chatting to discuss her attending Iowa State and her role at the university.

Switching from a physician to a researcher wasn’t her plan at the start of her career, but Leidys is glad she is getting diverse experience in her field.

“I like to be creative, and I would rather be part of writing the guidelines instead of following them,” she said. “I want to focus on research and grow as a medical scientist. I love academia, and I see myself working in this type of environment.”

Leidys aims to contribute to the medical industry through her research on the positive health effects that walking has on people who are at-risk for heart disease. Her research will focus on the most effective volume and intensity of walking for older adults, specifically for the population of Ames and surrounding areas. Leidys’ open-mindedness and dedication to growth, paired with Iowa State’s researchers and resources, will make an impact in the research community far beyond campus.

“Being able to learn from other researchers from other countries made me more flexible in how I think and live,” she said. “It has helped me to grow as a professional and as a person as well.”

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