My best friend was diagnosed with leukemia when he’d just graduated from college. He could have been a great pharmacist if only he hadn’t passed away at the age of 25. His passing motivated me to participate in cancer research. I hope one day my contributions will make a significant impact for cancer patients so fewer people have to lose friends and family members to cancer.”
As an Assistant Scientist in the Biospecimen Management team within Population Science, Duyen (Grace) Nguyen, BS, focuses on supporting the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Cancer Prevention Study 3 (CPS-3). She specifically assists with the Tumor Tissue Collection Sub-Study and the Gut Microbiome Sub-Study by organizing, reporting, and documenting tissue samples. She also helps with kit preparation for biospecimen collection and serves as a point of communication for study participants and medical facilities across the country.
I had my first hands-on experience with tumor processing and cancer research at Georgia State University histology lab. The project involved processing a biopsy of unknown tisssue from scratch. The lab received the tissue in a paraffin block, which required me to cut the block into thin tissue sections before mounting them on slides. We further processed the slides by staining them so the tissue could be viewed under a light microscope. Then I researched the tissue’s origin and identified the type of cancer invading the tissue.
For my second research project, I investigated the symbiotic relationship between yeast and acetic acid bacteria, specifically looking for the possible health benefits of consuming them in a probiotic-infused beverage. I was able to determine that their interaction resulted in a product that greatly contributed to positive health outcomes for those who consumed the drink.
I feel fortunate to be a part of ACS research team because ACS is well-known for being the leading non-profit organization in funding cancer research. Knowing that I always get to work with the latest scientific discoveries keeps me continually motivated.
I grew up in a small town called Can Tho in southern Vietnam. I’m now living in Norcross, GA with my fiancé and my 2 fur babies—my husky-shepherd mix Hazel and my lab mix Peanut. I like to spend my free time painting, traveling, exploring art museums, and trying out new restaurants.