Vietnamese student receives $67K fellowship for his research on antibiotic-resistant bacteria


The American Heart Association (AHA) awarded a Vietnamese Ph.D. candidate studying biochemistry at Duke University with a fellowship worth over $67,000 for his research on an enzyme that could be developed to fight against a type of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

On receiving the award: The AHA awarded Bach Nguyen, 24, with a two-year predoctoral fellowship in December 2023, covering a total allowance of $67,388 that he can use for his project and research. Duke also gave Nguyen an additional $5,000 for the achievement.

“For me, AHA is not just a prize with substantial support but also recognition from professionals for the research I am conducting,” Nguyen, who hails from Hai Phong City in northern Vietnam, said, as per VN Express.

About his work: Nguyen found a way to refine DarE, a radical S-adenosylmethionine enzyme that naturally produces darobactin, a compound discovered by Kim Lewis of Northeastern University in 2019. Darobactin is capable of killing many bacteria, including gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to many antibiotics and medication.

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The big picture: Nguyen’s work could be useful in the battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, notably gram-negative ones, which can cause “severe complications and devastating consequences on the cardiovascular system through several critical pathways.” Some gram-negative bacteria infections include pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections and meningitis, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

What's next: Looking into the future, Nguyen said he will work in business or the academe as long as he can continue his research. “I'm always curious about nature, especially chemical reactions and processes within it,” he said.


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