Dr. Khoan Vu: Rolland C. Reynolds Pathology Award

By Deborah Wormser

Dr. Khoan Vu
Dr. Khoan Vu

During his second year of medical school, Dr. Khoan Vu co-founded the Dallas-Fort Worth Hepatitis B Free project to raise community awareness about the liver disease.

In that role, he helped organize hepatitis screenings in the Dallas-area Asian community. One reason he became involved in those projects was that one of his family members was diagnosed with hepatitis B. 

“It was a personal issue for me, and I wanted to learn more about the disease,” said Dr. Vu, recipient of the 2013 Rolland C. Reynolds Pathology Award.

The honor, which includes $1,000, is given to a graduating medical student who has demonstrated care and giving. The award is named for the late Dr. Reynolds, a UT Southwestern alumnus and faculty member who is remembered as a talented pathologist and a giving person.

Dr. Vu, who was born in Denver and raised in Colleyville, Texas, majored in biochemistry and molecular biology at UT Dallas. He decided to become a doctor because of his early exposure to medicine through his father’s medical practice, an affinity for the basic sciences, and “a life-changing experience” conducting research on lupus during college.

 “That experience exposed me to academic medicine. At that point, I realized that medicine offers so many opportunities, including patient care, research, and teaching,” he said.

In the laboratory of Dr. Kim Orth, Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Dr. Vu gained more research experience studying the role of a virulence factor secreted by the gram-negative bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus.

Dr. Vu fell in love with pathology, which he believes provides the basic foundation of clinical medicine, while studying cell biology as a first-year medical student. He also enjoys the patient interaction that internal medicine offers and will be headed to a residency in that specialty at Washington University in St. Louis.

“He’s a very smart young man, and he has a lot of qualities that would have made him an excellent pathologist but that will also make him an excellent internist. He’s going to be great. He has a very caring heart,” said Dr. Dennis Burns, Professor of Pathology.

Dr. Vu said he is thrilled by the award and hopes to live up to Dr. Reynolds’ example. “I want to be the best clinician I can be,” he said, “I would like to see myself doing a mixture of patient care, research, and teaching.”

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Dr. Burns holds the Jane B. and Edwin P. Jenevein, M.D., Chair in Pathology.

Dr. Orth holds the Earl A. Forsythe Chair in Biomedical Science and is a W.W. Caruth, Jr. Scholar in Biomedical Research.

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