Tri Pham

Tri Pham, PhD

Assistant Professor

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Tri studies mathematics, physics, and aerospace engineering through a Double Degree program in Advanced Science and Engineering at the University of Sydney, Australia. He then obtained a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, majoring in computational biophysics at Monash University, Australia. 

After completing his Ph.D., Tri joined Professor Michael Shirts at the University of Virginia, USA, to train in computer-aided drug design by improving the efficiency and accuracy of free energy calculations for protein-ligand interactions. He has identified an optimal variance pathway that can reduce the total variance by 30% compare to the standard pathway. This finding facilitated computational drug design by providing a rapid and accurate method for free energy calculations.

In 2012, Tri received a prestige award ( Transition Postdoc Fellowship) from the Swiss National Science Foundation to investigate the mechanics of asymmetric cell division (ACD) in Professor Clemens Cabernard’s laboratory at the Biozentrum, University of Basel. In Basel, he joined forces with Professor Daniel Müller’s laboratory at ETH Zürich to use atomic force microscopy (AFM) combining with live-cell imaging to measure hydrostatic pressure and cortical stiffness of a single cell at precise space and time during mitosis. He showed that ACD is a two-step process governed by asynchronous Myosin relocalization and internal pressure. He further showed that intracellular pressure plays an important role in enhancing the physical asymmetry in asymmetrically dividing cells. He also developed various methods and toolkits to facilitate the efficient analysis of a large amount of live and fixed cell imaging datasets. He joined the Department of Biology as an Assistant Professor in August 2019.


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