Student Researcher Spotlight: Thai Nguyen

The College of Arts and Sciences is proud to call Thai Nguyen one of our top students. He is currently a junior pursuing a degree in biology with a concentration in pre-medical studies.

His “Three-Minute Thesis” presentation on “The Potential of Developed Nanoparticles to Target Glioblastoma Cancer Stem Cells” won first place in the Student Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program this past fall.

Thai Nguyen

SURE is an eight-week summer program that allows undergraduate students to participate in faculty-supervised research in their field of interest. Nguyen worked alongside Diana Goncalves Schmidt, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, to develop a nanoparticle that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and recognize cancer stem cells. Nguyen and Goncalves Schmidt witnessed nanoparticles effectively targeting cancer stem cells under the microscope. The heat-releasing mechanism of the nanoparticles can destroy cancer stem cells and could be more effective than chemotherapy and radiation.

“The main reason why I wanted to attend the SURE program was for the research experience which is really valuable for me because I want to go into medical school,” Nguyen said. “Without the support of my institution and ability to work with equipment and lab space, I would not have been able to have had such an amazing experience. Dr. Schmidt advised me both theoretically and practically, and I was able to learn about her past research and research processes.”

Nguyen has been on the 4.0 GPA President’s and Dean’s lists and has served as a supplemental instruction leader for courses in Organic Chemistry I and General Chemistry II. He is also a certified emergency medical technician (EMT), an active volunteer at University Hospitals Portage Medical Center and has shadowed doctors.

About the SURE Program
Students interested in being involved with the SURE program can apply now until Feb. 27, 2023. Faculty are also encouraged to consider serving as a SURE mentor. The program will run from June 5 to July 28, 2023. On-campus housing will be available and a stipend for both full-time and part-time participants will be offered. To find out more information about the SURE program and how to apply visit

POSTED: Thursday, February 2, 2023 03:54 PM
Updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2023 02:19 PM
Angelina DiFranco