Steven Truong was born in St. Paul, Minnesota to Vietnamese refugees. After years of working as laborers in America, Steven’s entire extended family pooled their resources to start a family-owned nail salon, which is running to this day. Steven spent his evenings after school at the salon, where he assisted in the business’s operations and finished homework between helping customers. His childhood at the salon instilled in him an enduring work ethic.
In his free time as a child, Steven read Spider-Man and watched Star Wars. This love for science fiction and fantasy evolved into a passion for science. He eventually realized he could use science to address diabetes, a disease which affects much of his family and community.
During his undergraduate years at MIT, Steven worked in the Langer-Anderson Lab to develop smart insulins and in the Lauffenburger Lab to study the link between the immune system and diabetes. With fellowship funding through MIT’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, he started a study investigating the genetic basis of diabetes with colleagues at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City. The data from this study were published, associating single nucleotide polymorphisms to type 2 diabetes in Vietnamese individuals. Steven and his colleagues eventually secured a grant to expand their studies through the National Foundation for Science Technology and Development. The grant currently funds Vietnam’s largest genome-wide association study, which he co-leads. After his undergraduate years, Steven worked in the Vendruscolo Lab of Cambridge University, where he used computational biology to study the COVID spike protein and intrinsically disordered proteins. For his dedication to research, Steven was awarded the Barry Goldwater Scholarship.
Steven graduated MIT as Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi with a double-major in biological engineering and writing. With the Marshall Scholarship, Steven completed an MPhil in computational biology at Cambridge University and was able to continue his writing studies with an MA in creative writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. Currently, he is an MD/PhD student at Stanford University. Steven hopes to pursue a career as a physician-scientist to help solve and treat metabolic disorders such as diabetes. He also hopes to make these discoveries accessible—especially for communities traditionally underrepresented and underserved in medicine—as a physician-scientist, science communicator, and storyteller.