News Archive

Grants in Aid of Research Recipient Profile: Anne Xuan-Lan Nguyen

August 18, 2020

Anne Xuan-Lan NguyenGrants: $5,000 total in Fall & Spring 2019–2020, with designated funds from the National Academy of Sciences

Education level at the time of the grant: First-year medical student, undergraduate

Research Discipline: Computer Science and Mathematics

Project Description: These grants have allowed me to investigate vision-related research questions. The goal of these studies is to inform the general public, patients, health care professionals, and the scientific community, as well as health administrators, on 1) the potential effects of heavy metals on the eyes, and 2) the impact of ethnicity and race on surgical outcomes.

1) Toxic exposure to metals can lead to deadly conditions and highly impact patients’ quality of life. Our goal is to assess the potential relationship between ocular diseases and abnormal metal levels, which can be due to work exposure and other environmental factors. We have datamined a large-scale database in order to assess the potential relationship between metals and ocular diseases.

2) Identifying racial determinants of health is imperative for understanding patient care and treatment outcomes. Ophthalmology is a unique specialty in medicine with complex follow-up parameters that can yield invaluable data for patient care. While mining of electronic health records using automatic patient stratification is increasingly popular in medicine, this precision health approach is fairly new in ophthalmology. We are currently exploring this methodology on a large dataset in order to answer our research questions.

How the projects have influenced you as a scientist: I would like to thank Sigma Xi for funding my vision-related research projects. These grants have encouraged me to pursue a career as a clinician–scientist. Working in the laboratory of Dr. Albert Wu, an ophthalmologist at Stanford University, has reinforced my desire to bridge the gap between ophthalmology, research, and public health.

Where are you now? I am a second-year medical student at McGill University and am the Med-2 representative for the Medical Student Society Ophthalmology Interest Group at McGill. I am passionate about health innovation, education, and research. Outside of the classroom, I can be found leading volunteer initiatives, playing ultimate frisbee, and organizing global health projects.

Students may apply for Sigma Xi research grants by March 15 and October 1 annually at