In AMSI scholarship recipient
AMSI grant recipient profile: Ha Tran

Ha Tran

University of Adelaide

I’m currently undertaking a MPhil in Reproductive Immunology at the University of Adelaide. I am interested in bioinformatics, immunology, and reproduction and am passionate about pursuing a career in research.

Can you give me a quick overview of the type of mathematics you are studying and its potential applications or outcomes?

My research aims to elucidate the significance of transplantation antigens in seminal fluid and their role in driving the expansion of the female immune response after mating. This aim is investigated through a series of mouse mating models followed by genomic and single-cell transcriptomics sequencing.

How did you get into the mathematical sciences/bioinformatics?

My interest in bioinformatics began somewhat serendipitously. I originally intended to pursue a career in organic chemistry, but through a series of inspirational professors and mentors, my interests naturally evolved into biological science and, eventually, bioinformatics. To me, the capacity to utilise computer science to contextualise biological data is enthralling.

What advice would you give to your younger self or others wanting to studying the mathematical sciences?

Take a step back, try your best to discover what motivates and propels you, where your true interests lie and free yourself from unnecessary cultural and personal expectations. I try my best to live by this sentiment, and although I am in no position to advise anyone, I suggest others keep this in mind when pursuing any studies.

What was your motivation for attending AMSI BioInfoSummer?

BIS22 was my first experience at a bioinformatics conference, and I hope future conferences will be like it. The speakers were illuminating but were also genuine and down to earth. Personally, most of the research I was exposed to during BIS22 were either directly applicable or inspired me to look at my project from a novel perspective. For anyone debating whether they should go, you should, and I will see you there.

You received an AMSI BioInfoSummer travel grant to attend AMSI BioInfoSummer. How important was this in terms of your ability to attend and fully participate in the sessions throughout the week?

The grant was essential in my attendance at BIS22. Coming from interstate, I dreaded having to look for accommodation, especially in Melbourne. Without the grant, I would only be able to attend virtually, which is incomparable to physical attendance.

What was your main take away from AMSI BioInfoSummer?

I had many takeaways from BIS22, from fascinating talks about genome organisation via DNA supercoiling by Professor Galloway and genome architecture in the immune system by Dr Coughlan to a detailed single-cell transcriptomics workshop with Dr McCarthy. Best of all, I got to learn and meet my science hero, Dr Drew Berry, whose scientific videos about the DNA replication machinery inspired me to pursue biological science studies. Thank you for a fantastic event!!

Where do you want the mathematical sciences to take you? Where do you see yourself in five or ten years’ time?

I want to leverage mathematical science and bioinformatics to carve myself a niche in academic research and continue to discover new and exciting ideas. In five to ten years, I hope to be in a stable post-doctoral position with a dual capacity for web lab and transcriptomics. BIS22 reassured me that a future in academia, especially in bioinformatics, will be challenging but feasible.