Nguyen first became involved with research when undertaking an independent research project in high school. The project, entitled, “Fake Baking Bacteria,” involved convincing the local tanning salon owner to allow her to place Petri dishes of normal skin flora into tanning beds to measuring growth kinetics. Although the research did not yield any profound discoveries, it sparked a curiosity in research that ultimately led to her choice of science as a profession. Nguyen was initially attracted to virology due to the link between viruses and cancer. During her Ph.D. training she researched the virus that causes cervical cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV). Nguyen went on to receive further training in virology through working to understand the link between the virus that causes cold sores, herpes simplex virus (HSV) and the apoptotic cell death pathway.
- Defining the molecular mechanisms regulating apoptosis during herpes simplex virus infections.
- Determining the impact of apoptosis on the replication of herpes simplex virus.
- A collaboration with the Des Moines Waterworks developing a PCR-based assay to measure the levels of adenoviruses in water.