Tom Nguyen serves San Diego Zoo Global as a Research Associate in Conservation Genetics. As part of the northern white rhino project, he is assisting in our collaboration with The Scripps Research Institute to produce induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from rhino fibroblast cells currently cryopreserved in the Frozen Zoo®. Tom’s research interests include derivation of iPSCs from somatic cells, differentiation of iPSCs to desired cell types, and translating human stem cell research to different species.
Tom’s main focus is on optimizing the transformation of rhino fibroblast cells to iPSCs. In addition, he is concentrating on characterization/testing of iPSCs, and differentiating iPSCs to primordial germ cells from which we hope to derive viable gametes for in vitro fertilization. As part of his work, Tom is also helping to develop and implement a Frozen Zoo® Stem Cell Database.
Tom is currently working towards his bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology at California State University San Marcos. He is a CIRM Bridges to Stem Cells Alum, during which he assisted The Center for Regenerative Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute in developing their Ethnically Diverse Panel of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells for Pharmacogenomic Applications. In addition, he was an instructor of the CIRM Human Stem Cell Tissue Culture course at The Scripps Research Institute. Tom turned to biology and stem cells as a way to help make the future better for his children and future generations.