Dr Lam and Thi Hong Thanh Pham
Dr Lam and Thi Hong Thanh Pham
22 June 2010

When Alzheimer’s researcher Dr Hoang Lam Pham (Lam) was given the chance to work at any Australian university, UQ was the straightforward choice.

Now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow within UQ’s School of Pharmacy, Dr Lam first visited the University when he was sponsored by the Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training to complete a Master of Philosophy in 2004.

His valuable work was soon recognised and supported by the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) and the School of Pharmacy, and he was awarded a PhD in 2008.

Along the way, Dr Lam met his wife Thi Hong Thanh Pham (Thanh), a fellow Vietnamese scholar who had completed a Master of Educational Studies with first class honours at UQ.

Thanh was then offered PhD scholarships by three different universities, but also selected UQ as her first choice. She will follow her husband in completing her PhD later this year.

After graduating, Dr Lam commenced work as a lecturer at the University of Medicine & Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City and also worked as a pharmacy manager for a large international clinic.

Then came a remarkable career opportunity courtesy of an Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award.

“With this job offer, I was able to choose from any institute or university in Australia. I decided to come back to UQ because I had established good relationships with both friends and staff,” he said.

“As a student and now as a staff member I am always strongly supported with outstanding expert advice and good facilities to develop my research ideas.

“Both Thanh and I have found that UQ has various funding sources to support students to advance their knowledge. For example, we can apply for funding to attend conferences and collect data. Also, UQ always has opportunities for those who want further develop their research careers. “

Dr Lam said the School of Pharmacy – which has recently relocated to the $100 million PACE facility in Woollongabba – had an international reputation for producing excellent healthcare outcomes via research and teaching.

Dr Lam has developed a drug delivery system that can be used to transfer desired genes and vaccines into the skin. He has also successfully synthesised prodrug linkages which provide good therapeutic potential in the treatment of Alzheimer’s.

Dr Lam’s current research focuses on the ability of these linkages to cross the biological membrane, as well as to understand the behaviour of β amyloid fibrils which are the main cause of the Alzheimer’s disease.

Media: Liz Rourke at UQ International (07 3346 7672, e.rourke@uq.edu.au)