Given an engrossment in the mechanism underlying physiology and pathology, Thuc Nguyen Dan Do showed early on her interest in Health Sciences, especially to unravel her vulnerability to weather when she was a little girl. In 2014, she graduated as a pharmacist from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Spending the next three years as a teaching assistant at Nguyen Tat Thanh University, she has been more passionate in exploring new treatments against infectious diseases of which her South East Asian region is a hotpot. She then continued to earn her Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences from Radboud University in the Netherlands. Both her internship projects focused on new therapies against infections triggered by either fungi or mosquito-borne viruses. Bewitched by how challenging a viral research can be and the need of commercial approved vaccines or antiviral treatments, she started her PhD in Biomedical Sciences, specialized in virology at the University of Leuven in Belgium.
About Thuc’s research project
Becoming one of the 15 ESRs in the OrganoVIR consortium, Thuc is now working at the Laboratory of Virology and Chemotherapy, Faculty of Medicine, Rega Institute under supervisions of Prof. Johan Neyts and Dr. Dirk Jochmans. Her project aims to utilize human airway epithelial cells (HAE) culture for development of novel antiviral strategies against respiratory viral infections. A two-month secondment at Epithelix Sarl (Switzerland) will be implemented to provide Thuc with knowledge on how to work with HAE culture. It is also reported that viral infections (e.g. Respiratory Syncytial Virus infections) contribute to exacerbations of COPD in patients. Therefore, the role of inflammation in viral pathology and effects of new antivirals to recover the inflammation will be other parts of her thesis. Another three-month secondment will be carried out at Jagiellonian University (Poland) to learn the co-culturing of HAE and immune cells. At the end, her project will provide important information on potential therapeutics, the risk of resistance development and the use of combination strategies to defeat respiratory viral infections.
About the Rega Institute for Medical Research, KU Leuven
In 2016 and 2017 the University of Leuven (KUL) was listed by Thomson Reuters in the annual list of Europe’s most innovative universities. The Rega Institute for Medical Research (KUL-REGA) is part of the University of Leuven (KUL). It consists of departments of medicine and pharmacology and is a renowned center in Europe contributing to the discovery of novel antiviral and antibacterial treatments (Brivudine, Tenofovir).