Skip to content Skip to navigation

2021 Predoctoral Researchers


Dung Vuu

University of Science, Ho Chi Minh City

Not all predoctoral researchers come to grad school with a favorite research organism, but after working with it for seven years, Dung Vuu can confidently say Drosophila, the fruit fly, is hers.

Vuu first worked with the fruit fly during her undergrad at the University of Science in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in the Molecular Biotechnology lab. During her master’s degree work, she published a paper about her research using Drosophila to investigate the relationship between the dPDHB gene and peripheral neuropathy. She has also co-authored three other papers using Drosophila as a Parkinson’s disease model. “The fruit fly is a useful and powerful model organism for studying many different biological aspects,” says Vuu.

Vuu first became interested in biology in high school, curious about how scientists develop new medical treatments for diseases. This curiosity led her to the Biotechnology program at the University of Science. Through hands-on experience, she found that she was particularly passionate about basic research. She believes that discoveries made in molecular and developmental biology can help answer fundamental questions in life sciences, which can then lead to answering more complex questions such as understanding and treating human diseases.

After receiving her master’s degree in biotechnology in 2018, Vuu began working in the Banerjee Lab at UCLA. While there she worked on a Drosophila blood stem cell project, with a focus on using RNA sequencing techniques to better understand blood cell development. A manuscript based on that research is in development.

Banerjee recommended the Stowers Graduate School to Vuu, and she loved the focus on foundational research and the variety of research done in the different labs. Vuu is excited to get back to school after working for the last three years and is looking forward to diving deeper into developmental biology. Vuu, who says she loves working in a lab and doing experiments, plans to build a career as a researcher, ideally studying signaling pathways in cells and how they interact with each other to regulate cell development.

Vuu grew up in Lai Thieu, a small town in the Binh Duong province of Vietnam, with two sisters. She loves to spend her free time cooking, treating herself to her favorite Vietnamese foods.