BioHealth Sciences student featured in the Barometer

Currently researching: A pill made from Gadusol, a naturally occurring antioxidant, that, when ingested, would protect against harmful ultraviolet rays, thus obviating the need to apply sunscreen on the skin.


Van Ahn Vu

Van Ahn Vu

Van Anh Vu, a third year BioHealth Sciences major in the College of Science, was recently featured in The Daily Barometer discussing her research in the lab of Alan Bakalinsky, associate professor of Food Science and Technology.

A highly accomplished honors student, Van Anh has been offered early admission to the graduate program in the College of Pharmacy. She served as one of the upperclassman guest speakers at the first-year orientation for biohealth sciences students last fall. This year Vu will embark on a study abroad program.

According to the Barometer report, Vu’s research mentor, Gary Merrill, professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, connected her with Bakalinsky’s lab. Vu was immediately captivated.

In Bakalinsky’s interdisciplinary lab, Vu collaborates with researchers from the College of Pharmacy to produce a pill from Gadusol, a naturally occurring antioxidant. The pill, when ingested, would protect against harmful ultraviolet rays, thus obviating the need to apply sunscreen on the skin.

Vu credits her research experiences for transforming and deepening her scientific education at Oregon State.

 “You learn so much in here that’s hands-on besides things that you would learn in a textbook,” says Vu in the Barometer article. “Working now with plasmids, origin of replication, glycolysis…really dissecting that—everything I learned in biology I feel like is now applicable.”

Previously known as the General Science program, the BioHealth Sciences major launched in the fall of 2014 and trains students through research, internship and clinical experience for careers in health disciplines, including dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, optometry, medicine and occupational therapy.

In the Barometer article, Vu also calls on more women to pursue ambitious and demanding careers in science. Read more.

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