Thang Van Nguyen, DVM, PhD

Thang Van Nguyen, DVM, PhD


Assistant Research Professor


My research work aims to investigate how post-translational modifications (PTMs) such as ubiquitylation, acetylation, SUMOylation and phosphorylation regulate metabolic enzymes in normal cells and cancers. With the availability of large-scale cancer genomics and proteomic data sets, time is ripe for identifying molecular regulation of metabolic enzymes by PTMs with a clear connection to human diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. I also seek to understand the molecular mechanisms of action of anti-cancer drugs such as IMiDs. My research focus will help us to design cancer therapeutic strategies based on inhibition of metabolic enzymes for treating human diseases such as cancers.

Academic Information

Assistant Research Professor

Research Interests

  • Cancer biology 
  • Immunology
  • Post-translational modifications of proteins

Areas of Expertise

  • Glutamine metabolism
  • Signal transduction
  • Post-translational modifications of proteins
  • Cancer drug targets

Education & Training


2012-18, California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Post-Graduate School

2011, PhD in Immunology & Cancer Biology, UT - M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Graduate School

2003, MS in Molecular Biology, KU – Leuven & VUB in Belgium

Veterinary School

DVM, Hanoi University of Agriculture

Awards & Honors

  • Selected talk at the Copenhagen Bioscience Conferences: “Protein Signaling – from pathways to networks”. Denmark, 2016.
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Fellow Award, 2013 – 2016.
  • International Myeloma Foundation Brian D. Novis Research Award, 2013. 
  • Selected talk at the Sixth International Conference on SUMO, Ubiquitin, UBL Proteins: Implications for Human. Houston, Texas – USA, 2012.
  • Vivian L. Smith Award for Outstanding Young Immunologist, Center for Cancer
  • Immunology Research, UT - MD Anderson Cancer Center, 2006.
  • Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) Fellowship for Ph.D program in the US, 2004.
  • Vietnamese Government Scholarship for master program in Belgium, 2001 – 2003.
  • VIFOTEC prize (Vietnam Fund for Supporting Technological Creations), 1997.
  • First Class Honors, Hanoi University of Agriculture, Vietnam.


  • Thang Van Nguyen
    USP15 antagonizes CRL4CRBN-mediated ubiquitylation of glutamine synthetase and neosubstrates.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Oct 2021, 118 (40) e2111391118; DOI:10.1073/pnas.2111391118
  • Thang Van Nguyen, Jing Li, Chin-Chun (Jean) Lu, Jennifer L. Mamrosh, Gang Lu, Brian E. Cathers and Raymond J. Deshaies.
    P97/VCP promotes degradation of CRBN substrate glutamine synthetase and neosubstrates.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 114: 3565-3571, 2017. 
  • Thang Van Nguyen, J. Eugene Lee, Michael J. Sweredoski, Seung-Joo Yang, Seung-Je Jeon, Joseph S. Harrison, Jung-Hyuk Yim,
Sang Ghil Lee, Hiroshi Handa, Brian Kuhlman, Ji-Seon Jeong, Justin M. Reitsma, Chul-Seung Park, Sonja Hess, and Raymond J. Deshaies.
    Glutamine triggers acetylation-dependent degradation of glutamine synthetase via the thalidomide receptor cereblon.
    Molecular Cell 61: 809-820, 2016. 
    • Selected as “Featured Article” of the issue previewed by Koirala S and Potts PR. An Acetyldegron Triggers CRBN to Take Down the "Q". Mol. Cell 61 (6): 795-796, 2016. 
    • The Editor interview at 
    • Highlighted in the Editors' Choice section of Science Signaling by Gough RN. Controlling glutamine metabolism by acetylation. Sci. Signal. 9 (421): 73, 2016. 
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