Vivien Low

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Favorite movie: Pulp fiction

Hometown: Kuala Lumpur

Non-science activity: Snowboarding and cooking

Dream benchmate: Bill Nye

One item from my bucket list: Tell a story at The Moth

Scientific interests: Cancer metabolism and metastasis

Current research interests: Polyamine metabolism in lymphangioleiomyomatosis and mTORC1 hyperactivated cancers



I did my undergrad studies at NYU, where I majored in biology. I continued my studies at NYU where I studied transposable elements in a protist called Trichomonas vaginalis for my master’s degree.  T. vaginalis is the cause of Trichomoniasis, an STD that affects millions of women, which made me realize the importance of studying molecular mechanisms that underlie diseases. After my masters I worked as a lab tech also at NYU in the lab of Eva Hernando studying how BRD4 and super enhancers play a role in stem cell biology and consequently tissue homeostasis. For my PhD I decided to focus on the study of the molecular mechanisms that underlie a lung disease that affects mainly women, lymphangioleiomyomatosis, and for which there is presently no cure. In the Blenis lab, I work with Ana Patricia Gomes developing a new mouse model for this disease, as well as studying the role of polyamines in this pathology.

Honors and Awards

2012     New York University Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Program Scholarship

(50% tuition scholarship to complete a BA and MS in an accelerated five-year program)

2012       New York University Biology Department Masters Research Grant

2013      2nd Place in the 15th Annual Poster Session of the Department of Biology at NYU

Selected Publications

Schild, T.*, Low, V.*, Blenis, J. and Gomes, A.P., 2018. Unique Metabolic Adaptations Dictate Distal Organ-Specific Metastatic Colonization. Cancer cell33(3): 347-354. * both atuhors contributed equally to this work.

Di Micco, R., Fontanals-Cierra, B., Low V., Ntziachristos, P., Yuen, S.K., Lovell, C.D., Dolgalev, I., Yonekubo, Y., Zhang, G., Rusinova E., Gerona-Navarro, G., Canamero, M., Ohlmeyer, M., Aifantis, I., Zhou, M.M., Tsirigo, A., Hernando E, 2014. Control of embryonic stem cell identity by BRD4-dependent transcriptional elongation of super-enhancer-associated pluripotency genes. Cell Rep.  9(1): 234-247.

Bradic, M., Warring, S.D., Low, V., Carlton, J.M., 2014. The Tc1/mariner transposable element family shapes genetic variation and gene expression in the protist Trichomonas vaginalis. Mob DNA 5: 12.