Trainee Spotlight


My name is Daniel Nguyen, and I'm currently a second-year MD/PhD candidate in the Department of Physiology. I was born in a small rural farming community in southern Vietnam and later moved to Maine with my parents when they immigrated to the United States. Despite the initial culture shock and freezing temperatures, we decided to make the Pine Tree State our home. Later, I earned my bachelor's degree in Applied Exercise Science at the University of New England, where my interest in clinical medicine and medical research began to develop. Specifically, it was during my time as a physical therapy clinical intern working with diabetic and heart failure patients that sparked my enthusiasm for medicine. From those direct interactions, I knew that I wanted to explore patient health beyond the realm of physical rehabilitation. Further, my experiences outside the classroom environment led me to develop a passion for research. Notably, it was my involvement and interest in research on cognitive functioning among lacrosse athletes that naturally led me to explore the physician-scientist career path. Following graduation, I took on a research assistant position and was eager to begin working in a research setting that aimed to develop cellular therapies against metabolic dysfunctions such as type two diabetes and metabolic syndromes. As I delved deeper into medical research, I became excited about the idea of pushing scientific boundaries from bench to bedside. After moving to Louisville to start the MD/PhD program, I joined the laboratory of Dr. Bradford Hill at the Center for Cardiometabolic Science after completing the first two years of medical education. Under the guidance of Dr. Hill, I have started to develop a dissertation project that focuses on investigating the mechanistic importance of TAK1 signaling in cardiac fibroblasts as they relate to pathological cardiac remodeling. By providing additional clarity into the complex process of pathological fibrosis, I hope to describe alternative mechanisms that may be central to future therapeutic endeavors. Beyond the lab bench, I enjoy spending my time outdoors either tackling a hike or playing pickleball with friends. My non-hazardous hobbies include competitive games of Mario Kart and drinking coffee more often than I should be.