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Student Profile in FOXO1 in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction

Nicholas Nguyen

Genetics, Development and Disease Graduate Program

Mentor: Joseph Hill, Ph.D.
Undergraduate Degree: Biochemistry
Undergraduate Institution: University of Houston
Hometown: Houston, TX

Awards/Fellowships: Undergraduate: Outstanding First Year Student Award, Albert Schweitzer Research Junior Fellowship 

Nicholas Nguyen

How did you become interested in science and/or research?

From an early age, I was reminded of the impact of heart disease on my family. It was a constant presence in our lives from my grandmother passing away from stroke and my father receiving a quintuple heart bypass. My fascination of human biology and how heart disease is caused led me to pursue a career in science and research. Through my studies, I gained a strong foundation in the biological sciences and had the opportunity to conduct research in a laboratory setting. The scientific method sparked passion and curiosity in me to understand the mechanisms that lead to heart disease. I am excited about the possibility of furthering my education and research in this field and making a meaningful contribution to the fight against heart disease.

Please describe your research.

Heart failure affects more than 5 million people in the United States, and approximately half of these cases is considered to be heart failure with a preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). This increasingly prevalent clinical syndrome currently has no evidenced-based therapies. As part of the Hill lab, I investigate the molecular mechanisms that drive the disease, specifically how FOXO1 is involved in myocardial lipid accumulation.

Why did you choose UTSW for graduate school?

I greatly appreciated UT Southwestern’s dedication to promoting collaborative learning environments that integrate discussion across disciplines in order to drive innovation. I was drawn by the institution’s commitment to upholding excellence and integrity in not only the clinical setting but research and educational setting as well.

What do you think makes the Genetics, Development and Disease Program one of the best?

The GD&D program emphasizes community as much as it does scientific rigor, providing us with the perfect environment to succeed in. Our faculty, with wide-ranging expertise and interests, is extremely supportive and collaborative, making the science we do even more productive and exciting.

What do you love about the Genetics, Development and Disease Program?

The GD&D Graduate Program and UTSW as a whole is a community of esteemed researchers, students, and administrative staff that all together help push forward the cutting-edge of science. As a student, I am both challenged by our constant innovation and celebrated for every milestone, preparing me with the right skills and network to succeed professionally. And, this is where I have made a lifelong family with my lab and classmates.

Nicholas Nguyen

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