Dr Phuong Tran

Phuong Tran carried out his PhD study in the Department of Biochemistry at La Trobe University (2010-2012) and in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Australian National University (2012-2014) under the supervision of A/Prof Alexander Maier. His PhD project focused on the ide
Visiting Scientist

Conjoint/Adjunct Role(s)

Conjoint Lecturer, St Vincent's Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney

Phuong Tran carried out his PhD study in the Department of Biochemistry at La Trobe University (2010-2012) and in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Australian National University (2012-2014) under the supervision of A/Prof Alexander Maier. His PhD project focused on the identification of proteins involved in malaria transmission and the elucidation of their function through biochemical, molecular and cell biological techniques.

During his doctorate, he revealed a weak spot in the complex life cycle of the malaria parasite, which could be exploited to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. He found that a molecule called gABCG2, which controls the transport of lipid molecules, played a key role in the survival of Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte, the sexual form of the malaria parasite.

Upon completion of his PhD, Dr Tran joined the colon and lung cancer group of A/Prof Maija Kohonen-Corish at The Kinghorn Cancer Centre at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney where he is working as a postdoctoral research officer.

His primary research focus at Garvan deals with the mechanism of how the ‘mutated in colorectal cancer’ (MCC) protein regulates the tumour suppression in colon epithelia, using a MCC knockout mouse model. A better understanding of this process could provide clues how to prevent colorectal carcinogenesis and therefore deliver additional instruments in the fight against this disease.

Research Interests

Colon cancer research
Adhesive complexes on the surface of colon epithelia
Mechanism of drug action in the colon cancer.
AHR signalling.
Functional genomics

Awards and Honours

2014 - LIMS postgraduate writing-up award, La Trobe University, Australia
2010-2014 - Postgraduate research scholarship and full fee research scholarship, La Trobe University, Australia
2013 - Bronze prize, in recognition of continuous outstanding academic achievement and exemplary community service contributions, La Trobe University, Australia
2012 - Australian Europe malaria research cooperative travel award (OzEMalaR), Australian Society for Parasitology
2010 - Winner, International students have talents, Festival of Light and Friendship, City of Darebin, Melbourne, Australia
2007-2009 - BK21 scholarship, Jungseok international scholarship and teaching assistantship for MSc study, Inha University, South Korea


2014 – PhD, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Latrobe University and The Australian National University - Australia
2009 – MSc, Biotechnology, Inha University - South Korea
2004 – BSc, Biotechnology, Vietnam National University - Vietnam

Selected Publications

Benthani FA, Herrmann D, Tran PN, Pangon L, Lucas MC, Allam AH, Currey N, Al-Sohaily S, Giry-Laterriere M, Warusavitarne J, Timpson P, Kohonen-Corish MRJ. ‘MCC’ protein interacts with E-cadherin and beta-catenin strengthening cell-cell adhesion of HCT116 colon cancer cells. Oncogene (2017)

Chooi, YH, Zhang, G, Hu, J, Muria-Gonzalez, MJ, Tran, PN, Pettitt, A, Maier, AG, Barrow, RA, Solomon, PS. Functional genomics-guided discovery of a light-activated phytotoxin in the wheat pathogen Parastagonospora nodorum via pathway activation. Environmental Microbiology 19 (2017) 5 1975–1986

Tran, PN, Tate, CJ, Ridgway, MC, Saliba, KJ, Kirk, K, and Maier, AG. Human dihydrofolate reductase influences the sensitivity of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum to ketotifen – A cautionary tale in screening transgenic parasites. International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance, 6 (2016) 179-183

Tran, PN, Brown, SHJ, Rug, M, Ridgway, MC, Mitchell, TW, and Maier, AG.  Changes in lipid composition during sexual development of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Malaria Journal (2016), 15:73. 

Pangon L, Ng I, Giry-Laterriere M, Currey N, Morgan A, Benthani F, Tran PN, Al-Sohaily S, Segelov E, Parker BL, Cowley MJ, Wright DC, St Heaps L, Carey L, Rooman I, Kohonen-Corish MRJ. JRK is a positive regulator of beta-catenin oncogenic activity commonly over-expressed in colon, breast and ovarian cancer. Oncogene (2015), 1–8.

Mladenova DN, Dahlstrom JE, Tran PN, Benthani F, Bean EG, Ng I, Pangon L, Currey N, Kohonen-Corish MRJ. HIF1α deficiency reduces colon inflammation in a mouse model of proximal colon cancer. Disease Models & Mechanisms 2015; 8,1093-1103. 

Benthani, F, Tran, PN, Currey, N, Ng, I, Giry-Laterriere, M, Carey, L, Kohonen-Corish, MRJ, Pangon, L. Proteogenomic analysis identifies a novel human SHANK3 isoform. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2015; 16,11522-11530.

Tran, PN, Brown, SHJ, Mitchell, TW, Matuschewski, K, McMillan, PJ, Kirk, K, Dixon, MWA, and Maier, AG. A female gametocyte-specific ABC transporter plays a role in lipid metabolism in the malaria parasite. Nature Communications 2014; 5,4773.

Tran, NP, Park, JK, and Lee, CG. Proteomics analysis of proteins in green alga Haematococcus lacustris (Chlorophyceae) expressed under combined stress of nitrogen starvation and high irradiance. Enzyme and Microbial Technology 2009; 45:241–246.

Tran, NP*, Park, JK*, Kim, ZH, and Lee, CG. Influence of sodium orthovanadate on the production of astaxanthin from green algae Haematococcus lacustris. Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering 2009; 14:322-329. * Equally contributed. 

Tran, NP*, Park, JK*, Hong, SJ and Lee, CG. Proteomics of proteins associated with astaxanthin accumulation in the green algae Haematococcus lacustris under the influence of sodium orthovanadate. Biotechnology Letters 2009; 31:1917–1922. * Equally contributed.

Park, JK, Tran, NP, Kim, JD, Hong, SJ and Lee, CG. Carotenogenesis in Haematococcus lacustris: Role of protein tyrosine phosphatases. J. Microbiology and Biotechnology 2009; 19(9):918~921.

Park, JK, Tran, PN, and Lee, CG. Influence of titanium oxide nano-paticles on cell growth and amino sugar production in microalga. J. Chitin Chitosan 2009; 14(1),18-23.

Person portrait

Dr Phuong Tran

Research group