We are very excited to announce that the Center for NeuroGenetics is welcoming Lien Nguyen, Ph.D, as our newest faculty member!
Lien received her B.S. in Chemistry from Hanoi College of Science at Vietnam National University. She went on to obtain her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with Dr. Steven Zimmerman studying the design, synthesis and biological activities of small molecules that target Myotonic Dystrophy. From there she went on to perform postdoctoral studies with Dr. Laura Ranum in the Center for NeuroGenetics where she initially studied the roles of C9orf72 repeat-associated non-AUG (RAN) proteins in disease pathogenesis and developed therapeutic strategies for C9orf72 ALS/FTD using a BAC transgenic mouse model. Dr. Nguyen’s more recent efforts have focused on developing a novel pathology to gene identification strategy that enables the direct identification of previously unknown repeat expansion mutations from individual patient samples. Her efforts have paid off and have already led to the identification of novel repeat expansions that are associated with neurodegenerative diseases. “It has been my great pleasure to work with Dr. Nguyen over the years. She is a brilliant, driven and highly effective scientist. I have no doubt that Dr. Nguyen’s research will change our basic understanding of neurodegenerative disease and open new avenues for therapeutic development.” said Dr. Laura Ranum, CNG Director.
Dr. Nguyen’s research as an Assistant Professor in the Molecular Genetics & Microbiology Department and the CNG will explore what she calls “genomic dark matter” – the repetitive regions of the human genome that make up over half of the DNA but currently have no known function in human biology. Her research is focused on studying the roles of repeat expansion mutations in disease including Alzheimer’s disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Frontotemporal dementia.
We are excited to have Dr. Nyguen as part of the CNG team, especially given the enormous implications her research has for linking repeat expansion mutations to a variety of human diseases and pathologies.
Dr. Maurice Swanson, Associate Director of the Center for NeuroGenetics wanted to welcome Lien and said, “(it’s) great to have you as a new Assistant Professor in the MGM department and as a member of the CNG! Looking forward to working with you and to following your exciting research in repeat expansion diseases.”
“Lien is innovative and bold enough to explore new challenges. She has used her broad interdisciplinary expertise, from chemistry to in vivo neuroscience, to develop new tools that allow her to identify completely novel repeat expansions” Dr. Kotaro, Assistant Professor in the Center of Neurogenetics, stated, “I’m positive that she will bring the CNG and field to the next level.”
Dr. Nguyen has over 16 publications, has filed 4 patents and is the recipient of a K99/R00 award (PI), an ALSRP Therapeutic Idea Award from the Department of Defense (co-I) and an R01 from the NIH (MPI grant). Dr. David Bloom, Hazel Kitzman Professor of Genetics & Chair on Lien’s accomplishes stated that is “absolutely outstanding for someone at her early career stage” and that he is “thrilled that we were able to retain Dr. Nguyen at UF and am excited to have her on our faculty!”
Lien stated, “I am very enthusiastic about gaining new knowledge and doing research to increase our understanding of disease and how our biological systems work. I hope our research contributes to the huge effort of the scientific community to help patients and their families, and to improve the health of our community. I am also very enthusiastic about training next generation scientists and increasing the awareness of our community about disease and health.”
Dr. Eric Wang stated, “We are excited to welcome Dr. Lien Nguyen as the newest CNG faculty member. Her work to discover repetitive elements that may drive common neurodegenerative diseases illustrates the breadth of roles that repeat expansions play in health and disease. We look forward to collaborating with her and helping to further build the CNG!”
“I am very happy to join the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and the Center for NeuroGenetics at the University of Florida as an Assistant Professor,” said Dr. Nguyen. “With this big milestone, I want to reinforce my dedication to pursing science, promoting equity in science, and training the next generation of scientists.”
“My lab is looking for students, postdocs, and biological scientists who are enthusiastic about science and want to explore the genomic dark matter with us,” Dr. Lien Nguyen.