Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences, Academic Institute
Associate Member, Research Institute
Weill Cornell Medical College
Dr. Nhat-Tu Le received her bachelor’s degree in microbiology (1997) and master’s degree in science, Microbiology (2001) from the University of Science, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She began her career as a quality control manager at LG-Vina factory-DeBon Cosmetics in Nhon Trach II Industrial Zone, Dong Nai, Vietnam. She later joined ICA Pharmaceutical LTD, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam as an Assistant Director of Research and Development and Regulatory Affairs.
In 2004, Dr. Le made the decision to pursue her Ph.D. degree in Microbiology at the Sungkyunkwan University College of Pharmacy in Dr. Dong Kwon Rhee's Laboratory in South Korea. Her Ph.D. research focused on understanding the roles of the Streptococcus pneumoniae heat shock protein Caseinolytic protease L (ClpL) in pneumococcal adherence to host cells. Her first study, published in 2007, elucidated the effects of Streptococcus pneumoniae ClpL in the pathogenesis and translocation of virulence factors. This work earned her an outstanding poster award at the international meeting of the Federation of Korean Microbiological Societies in 2007.
After completing her Ph.D. program in 2008, Dr. Le pursued postdoctoral training at the University of Rochester in New York under the guidance of Dr. Jun-ichi Abe. During her postdoctoral training, Dr. Le focused on studying the role of the p90RSK-ERK5 complex in both the heart and the vasculature. Her research earned her recognition, including the American Heart Association (AHA) Best of Specialty Conferences Poster Section at the AHA Scientific Sessions in 2010. Dr. Le was awarded an AHA Postdoc Fellowship Grant Funding (2010-2012) and an AHA Scientific Development Grant (2013-2016). In 2011, she was named as The Melvin L. Marcus Young Investigator Award Finalist at the AHA Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences. In 2012, Dr. Le was appointed as a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester, New York.
In 2014, Dr. Le joined the faculty of the Department of Cardiology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center as an Assistant Professor. Her contributions were recognized with the first-place Scientific Poster Award for Excellence in Onco-Cardiology at the Fourth International Conference Cancer and the Heart at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. In 2017, Dr. Le was recruited to Houston Methodist as an Associate Professor. She was honored with a Career Cornerstone Award (2017-2021) at the Houston Methodist Institute for Academic Medicine. She also holds the position of Associate Professor of Vascular Biology in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College and has obtained adjunct associate professorship at the Department of Cardiology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Texas A&M since 2018, as well as at Texas A&M University since 2019. Dr. Le has secured grant funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to study the role of MAGI1 in atherosclerosis, the role of LATS1/2 in thrombosis, and the mechanisms by which cellular senescence contributes to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. She has authored 58 scientific papers and book chapters.
Currently, the Le laboratory is investigating the impact of shear stress and radiation on the promotion of SUMOylation, a post-translational modification, of critical molecules involved in endothelial senescence, endothelial activation, vascular dysfunction, and atherosclerosis. The laboratory is examining the regulatory roles of the tight and adherent junction molecule MAGI1 in endothelial activation and apoptosis in response to various stimuli, including SARS-CoV2 structural proteins. Additionally, the laboratory is studying the roles of TRAF2 and NCK interacting kinase (TNIK) in viral infection. Furthermore, the relationship between premature aging/senescence and the development of cardiovascular diseases in patients undergoing cancer treatment is being investigated. The primary objective of these research endeavors is to utilize the knowledge and insights gained in these areas of expertise to develop effective healthcare solutions for patients afflicted with cardiovascular diseases.