Byron Trinh's Research Profile

Byron Trinh

Expected Graduation: Class of 2018

Major: Biology

Mentor: Dr. John K. Chan

Bronco Scholar: http://broncoscholar.library.cpp.edu/handle/10211.3/194004

“If you show enough interest in the faculty mentor’s research and demonstrate that you are dedicated to conducting research, the faculty mentor will likely find a place in their lab or recommend another lab for you to work in.” – Byron Trinh

Byron Trinh has dedicated his years as an undergraduate doing volunteer work and research in the dental field. Since coming to Cal Poly Pomona, he has been an active member of the Pre-Dental Society and the Tri Beta National Biological Honor Society. As a member of the Pre-Dental Society, he has held the position of Treasure during his sophomore year and is currently serving as President in addition to being Science Council Representative for the society his junior year. During his tenure as Treasure for Tri Beta, he received accolades for going beyond his assigned duties.

During the summer of 2017, he participated in the “Dental Explorers Program” at the University of Southern California Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry where he was exposed to different aspects of dentistry. Currently, Byron is in the Pre-Dental Prep program with the Los Angeles Dental Society where he is mentored by dental students and dentists. Through the Pre-Dental Prep program, he has received hands-on training in dentistry.  In addition to his academics, Byron has been involved with the Lestonnac Free Clinic in Orange County, where he assists dentists providing free dental care to low income individuals since his freshman year of college.

After discussing his career aspirations in dentistry with Dr. John Chan, Professor and Pre-Professional Advisor for the Biological Sciences Department at Cal Poly Pomona, Dr. Chan encouraged Byron to pursue extracurricular activities, research opportunities, and high academic achievement. Dr. Chan also introduced Byron to his research on the effects of nicotine and Byron immediately asked for a position in his lab. Since then Byron has moved on to his own research, still under the mentorship of Dr. Chan, on a topic that every college student gets excited about — caffeine! Byron, along with his co-author Cynde Mai, published their research “Effect of Caffeine on Biofilm Formation, Capsule Size, and Flagella on Pseudomonas Aeruginosa.” Byron and Cynde have consistently provided each other with mutual support in completing their research, acquiring funding, and sharing their work.

Bryon has presented his research at many conferences and has traveled to the American Society for Microbiology: Microbe 2017 conference in New Orleans. When asked about his research, Bryon stated:

My research involves the treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic bacteria commonly found in the lungs and a potential factor in illness among patients with pneumonia, with different concentrations of caffeine. I study how caffeine affects Pseudomonas aeruginosa, specifically its effect on biofilm formation, capsule size, and flagella formation. The importance of my research is too observe how Pseudomonas aeruginosa responds to caffeine and how there may be a possible relationship between caffeine consumption and biofilm formation. Then, I looked at the relationship between biofilm formation and capsule size and flagella formation. I studied biofilm formation because it contributes to the bacteria's ability to adhere to surfaces and become pathogenic. It was expected that if biofilm formation increases, capsule size should increase and increased flagella formation would compensate for the decreased motility due to increased biofilm formation.

Research has taught Byron how to effectively search and interpret scholarly work. While Byron did face obstacles along the way, he realized that “when one procedure did not work, I went back to the literature to look for other methods that may work. I was also able to tweak other peoples' procedures to better fit my study.”

Byron's research connects to his future plans to keep people healthy and give them access to dental care. Byron hopes to continue conducting research in dental school on the effects of eating habits on overall health. As a first year student, Byron was intimidated to approach professors asking for research opportunities but he overcame that feeling by recognizing the importance of undergraduate research on his future goals. Byron advises undergraduate students to not be afraid of their professors and ask if they have an opening in their lab “If you show enough interest in the faculty mentor’s research and demonstrate that you are dedicated to conducting research, the faculty mentor will likely find a place in their lab or recommend another lab for you to work in.” 

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