Student research spotlight: Bao Vu

Bao Vu
Bao Vu
Vu first became involved in scientific research during his junior year, when he had the opportunity to join Dr. Dao’s lab in Drake University. Since the lab was interested immune-suppressed diseases, he focused on cloning, isolating, purifying and obtaining the 3-D structure of Ubiquitine Binding Protein #43 (UBP 43), a human immune suppressor.

Following the experience at Drake University, his interest in microbiology/
immunology and infectious disease soon landed Vu an internship position in Des Moines University. Working in Dr. Larsen’s lab, Vu, for the last two years, has involved in several different projects, involving mucocutaneous candidiasis. Currently, Vu continues with his research on the relationship between sodium choleate (crude bile salts) and Candida albicans. In addition to his scientific interest, Vu is also looking forward to pursuing his higher education in microbiology field in the near future.


  • B.S. in pharmaceutical science, Drake University

  • B.A. in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, Drake University

Current projects

  • Investigating the effect of crude bile salts (sodium choleate) onCandida albicans’ sensitivity toward azole treatment.
  • Developing a HPLC method to detect cell membrane sterols.
  • Understanding the mechanism of sterol transport in Candida albicans.


  • DeSeta, F. Schmidt, M. Vu, B., Essmann, M. Larsen, B. Antifungal mechanisms supporting boric acid therapy of Candida vaginitis. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy December 2008 (electronic publication doi 10.1093/jac/dkn486)
  • Vu, B. Essmann, M. Larsen, B. Sodium Choleate (NaCho) effects on Candida albicans growth and virulence attributes: Implications for its role as a gastrointestinal tract inhabitant. Journal of Mycopathologia (electronic submit March 2009)

Scientific presentations

  • May 2009, Iowa Physiological Society Annual Meeting, Bile Salts and Candida albicans… How Much do We Know?
  • Apr 2009, Iowa Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Sodium Choleate Effects on Candida albicansGrowth, Virulence Factor Expression and Stress Responses
  • Apr 2009, Des Moines University, Research Symposium, The Biological Effects of Bile Salt and Its Constituents on Candida albicans
  • Jul 2008, Des Moines University, Summer Research Program, Physical and Biochemical Effects of Sodium Choleate on Candida albicans
  • Apr 2007, Drake University, Conference on Undergraduate Research in the Sciences (DUCURS), Physiological, Pharmacological, Pharmaceutical, and Psychological Effects of Propranolol, a Non-selective Beta Blocker, on Rat Models


  • Trainee Award for Excellent Undergraduate Scientific Presentation, May 2009, Iowa Physiological Society Annual Meeting
  • Presidential Scholarship, 2006-2009, Drake University


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