Recognizing Plant Physiology first authors: Trinh-Don Nguyen

Trinh-Don Nguyen, co-first author of Catalytic plasticity of germacrene A oxidase underlies sesquiterpene lactone diversification

Current position: Mitacs Elevate postdoctoral fellow, University of British Columbia and Supra Research & Development (Kelowna, BC, Canada)

Education: BSc (Viet Nam National University – Ho Chi Minh City), PhD (University of Calgary)

Non-scientific interests: reading, photography, translating, and traveling

Brief bio: I was born and grew up in Viet Nam, where plants have been a huge part of not only agriculture but also medicine and every other aspect of life. Medicinal plants fascinate me, and I want to understand (and hopefully utilize) the ways plants make these myriads of bioactive chemicals.

More than a year after finishing my BSc degree in Ho Chi Minh City (Viet Nam) with a cell culture study on the Taxol-producing Himalayan yew, I joined Dr. Dae-Kyun Ro’s group at the University of Calgary (Canada) to elucidate the germacrene A-derived sesquiterpene lactone pathway (a less known but no less important ‘analogue’ of the artemisinin pathway). The latest publication (PP2019-RA-00629DR1), co-first authored by Moonhyuk Kwon, in Plant Physiology stemmed from part of these studies.

From 2015 to 2018, I was a postdoctoral researcher at the John Innes Centre (UK) where I continued to work on the enzymatic plasticity in the metabolism of terpenoids and iriroids (a non-canonical group of terpenoids) in a range of plants in Dr. Paul O’Maille’s and Dr. Sarah O’Connor’s groups.

With an academic-industrial research fellowship from Mitacs (Canada), I am currently working on terpenoid profiling and biochemistry of high-value plants at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus and Supra Research & Development, the first spin-off company emerged from UBC Okanagan’s research.