Bach Nguyen Awarded 2-Year Predoctoral Fellowship from the American Heart Association

"It is known that Gram-negative bacterial infections cause severe complications and devastating consequences on the cardiovascular system through several critical pathways. For example, when these pathogens enter the bloodstream, they can induce septicemia by releasing endotoxins that trigger uncontrollably inflammatory response in the host, ultimately leading to arrhythmias, myocardial depression, and endocardial damage. While antimicrobials remain the frontline treatment for such complications, the protective outer membrane of Gram-negatives renders many clinically available antibiotics ineffective. My project aims to address this problem by studying the biosynthetic mechanisms of darobactins and dynobactins, two newly discovered antibiotics that selectively kill Gram-negative pathogens. Specifically, I am using an interdisciplinary approach of bioinformatics, biochemistry and biophysics to study the functions and mechanisms of enzymes that catalyze the formation of such antibiotics. Such mechanistic understanding is crucial for the developments of these antibiotics into clinically viable antibiotics.

My supervisor, Ken Yokoyama, has been a great supporter throughout my graduate school journey so far, and especially during the fellowship application period. Not only did he have to prepare some application materials himself, but he also provided very useful comments on my proposal. I am glad to have his support during the process."

- Bach Nguyen

The American Heart Association is the largest non-profit, non-governmental funder of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular research in the U.S. The AHA predoctoral fellowship is a prestigious and highly competitive award with the purpose of enhancing the integrated research and clinical training of promising pre-doctoral or clinical health professional students who intend careers as scientists, physician-scientists or other clinician-scientists, or related careers aimed at improving global cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and brain health. The award provides 2-year stipend, health insurance, and additional fund for project support with no limit on any line item (travel, computer, equipment, etc), totaling $67,388.

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