Thanh Kha Phan


Department of Biochemistry
La Trobe University

Thanh Kha Phan completed his BBiotech & Cell Biol (Honours) at La Trobe University. In 2013, he received a La Trobe University Postgraduate Research Scholarship and a Full Fee Research Scholarship to undertake a PhD under the supervision of Dr Mark Hulett. Upon completion of his PhD in 2017, for which he was awarded the Nancy Millis medal, he has joined the laboratory of Dr Ivan Poon at La Trobe University as a postdoctoral fellow.
His PhD studies focused on phosphoinositide phospholipids and their novel roles in host defense. He has provided significant insights into the interaction between phosphoinositides and human antimicrobial peptides and its importance in mediating tumour cell membrane permeabilisation, fungal cell killing and inflammation. These findings not only enrich the knowledge of lipid biology but also provide a promising platform for therapeutic design. The multifaceted phosphoinositide-targeting agents would potentially provide immense therapeutic benefits, particularly for immunocompromised cancer patients, who are often predisposed to opportunistic infections. His work has been positively received by the research community and general public, evidenced by a number of first authored publications, best oral presentation prizes and society awards, notably the Royal Society of Victoria’s Young Scientist Research Prize (Runner-up).
The ASBMB fellowship will allow him to attend the 6th International Symposium on Antimicrobial Peptides in Poitiers, France, where he will share his work with leading researchers of the field and expand his collaborations to further develop his research.