Vinh Truong

Vinh Truong is an aspiring structural biologist interested in understanding the complex interplay between DNA and proteins.

Raised in California's Bay Area, Vinh's exposure to the nearby biotech scene convinced him that there was still much of nature waiting to be uncovered for the betterment of human health. This led him to pursue a bachelor's degree in biochemistry at the University of the Pacific (UOP) in Stockton, California. His academic journey involved computational studies in exoplanet physics and wet-lab work in nucleic acid organic chemistry, fostering a passion for interdisciplinary research.

Driven by this passion, Vinh pursued a master's program under the guidance of Dr. Joseph Harrison at UOP, focusing on characterizing the evolutionary and mechanistic aspects of ubiquitin's structure. The onset of the pandemic provided Vinh with a unique opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Brenda Schulman, an adjunct faculty member at St. Jude's, exploring the contribution of lysine's side chain structure to ubiquitin chain formation.

This collaboration marked a turning point for Vinh, introducing him to the world of structural biology. Subsequently, he joined Dr. Elizabeth Kellogg's team at Cornell University as a research technician, where he delved into the development of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) methods and tools associated with image analysis. Sensing that the time was right for cryo-EM, Vinh started his Ph.D. journey under Dr. Kellogg's mentorship at Cornell. His early graduate years focused on structurally characterizing CRISPR-associated transposons, earning him an NIGMS F31 predoctoral fellowship award.

As Dr. Kellogg's lab transitioned to St. Jude in the summer of 2023, Vinh joined in on the move down south and is excited to continue his structural research here.

Hometown: San Jose, California


Park JU, Tsai AW, Rizo AN, Truong VH, Wellner TX, Schargel RD, Kellogg EH. Structures of the holo CRISPR RNA-guided transposon integration complex. Nature. 2023 Jan;613(7945):775-782. doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-05573-5. Epub 2022 Nov 28. PMID: 36442503; PMCID: PMC9876797.

Liwocha J, Krist DT, van der Heden van Noort GJ, Hansen FM, Truong VH, Karayel O, Purser N, Houston D, Burton N, Bostock MJ, Sattler M, Mann M, Harrison JS, Kleiger G, Ovaa H, Schulman BA. Linkage-specific ubiquitin chain formation depends on a lysine hydrocarbon ruler. Nat Chem Biol. 2021 Mar;17(3):272-279. doi: 10.1038/s41589-020-00696-0. Epub 2020 Dec 7. PMID: 33288957; PMCID: PMC7904580.