Lisa Nguyen joined the PIBBS program in 2013 and is currently part of the Development, Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine PhD program with her mentor Rong Lu, PhD. Lisa chose to attend USC because of its close-knit research community. The formalized structure of the PIBBS curriculum also played a major role in her decision to attend USC. Growing up, Lisa always had an interest in science. Her first research experience was working in an evolutionary physiology laboratory that examined cardiac shunting in alligators. This experience inspired her to pursue an MS degree with an emphasis in cell biology and physiology.
One particular facet Lisa found appealing about PIBBS is how first-year graduate students are given the opportunity explore the various fields of biomedical research. There are no restrictions on the type of research performed during the rotation period, which allowed her to freely follow different sciences and helped her find exciting research that she was passionate about. Lisa has participated in many of the career development programs offered by PIBBS, which are helpful in developing skills necessary for finding a job and preparing for tough interviews. She believes graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at USC have plenty of opportunities to work together on collaborative projects. Lisa highly regards the PIBBS research training environment, which she believes has prepared her for a career in the science field.
As a fifth-year graduate student, most of Lisa’s time is focused on her manuscript and preparing for her dissertation. In the near future, Lisa sees herself working as a consultant or becoming more involved with science policy making. One important piece of advice she offers entering graduate students is to create a balanced life by learning to manage stress — which she accomplishes with an early morning run before the start of her day. Lisa also makes time to hike with her dogs, and she believes that exercise and cooking are very meditative and provide a nice break from the hectic life of a researcher.