Hi! I am Thao Le, a VISP scholar from Vietnam. I obtained my BA from a small liberal arts college (Hampshire College) in Amherst, MA, where I concentrated on interdisciplinary science and anthropology. As an undergrad, I worked closely with Dr. Aidala from Mount Holyoke College and Dr. Hayward from UMass Amherst on a collaborative project developing and characterizing the mechanical properties of a class of temperature-responsive hydrogels using atomic force microscopy. In addition, I had the opportunity to work in the lab of Dr. Mangelsdorf at UT Southwestern for one summer, studying the mechanisms by which fibroblast growth factor 21 exerts its anti-obesity effects in mice. Upon graduation, I worked as a Research Assistant first in Dr. Zoeller’s lab at UMass Amherst, investigating the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals on thyroid hormone signaling, and then in Dr. Tager’s lab at MGH, examining the mechanisms in which increased tissue stiffness influences the progression of fibrotic diseases.
I decided to join the IGP/VISP at Vanderbilt because of its collaborative and diverse research environment as well as its strong commitment to training graduate students, including international students. I always feel welcomed and cared for here at Vanderbilt and look forward to the next five or so years full of personal and career growth opportunities.
In my free time, I like to be out running, hiking, or climbing. I also love cooking, listening to music, and can’t wait to explore the vibrant food and music scene in Nashville!