Van Anh ("Vika") Nguyen, born and raised in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, graduated summa cum laude from UB with a Bachelor of Science in pharmaceutical sciences and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Her extensive training in mathematics, biochemistry and computer programming determined her career path as she was looking for an interdisciplinary field that would combine all of her interests,and found that pharmaceutical sciences was the right fit. She is now in the third year of her PhD program and her research focuses on utilizing mathematical approaches to find better treatment options for hematological malignancies. Outside of academics, she has been actively involved in student organizations and on-campus activities, and she enjoys dancing on stage.
What made you interested in your dissertation research topic?
Understanding cancer on mechanistic level has always been my area of interest because it is quite fascinating how every process within a cell is so well-designed, and how small changes in a biochemical cascade can lead to cancer. I believe that to discover novel approaches to treating cancer and to optimize multi-drug regimens, we need to investigate cancer in molecular details, but keep the big picture in mind. Application of mathematical techniques gives this exploration a practical edge and predictive power, with a hope that one day our findings can be translated into clinic.
Why did you decide to attend UB for your PhD?
UB became my home away from home long before I started my PhD. I came here for my undergraduate education almost seven years ago and was fortunate enough to observe and be involved in exciting research that was going on in my department as I was pursuing my bachelor's degree in pharmaceutical sciences. I did not have much hesitation in thinking about where to go for graduate school - it was right in front of my eyes.
Name your favorite thing to do in Buffalo. What do you enjoy about that?
My favorite thing to do in Buffalo is to sample ethnic food - there is quite a variety of different cuisines to try and explore!