Name: Tam Pham
How do you Identify: Pansexual Genderfluid Person of Colour
Current Job: M.Sc student at the Rainey Lab
Scientific Field/Discipline: Structural biology, Biophysics, GPCR protein interaction
Affiliation: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Dalhousie University
Tell Us about yourself:
I am a M.Sc student at the Rainey lab from Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University. My research interest is centered around understanding protein structure-function correlation using a biophysical technique called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). Because of my unique identity as an immigrant QTBIPOC individual, I come to realize the lack of representations in the Atlantic Canada academic settings, STEM field and throughout my life. I encountered QTBIPOC folks who felt that they were “left out” from the conversation when it comes to 2SLGBTQ+ issues whether personal or professional environment. It motivates me to become more involved with 2SLGBTQ+ advocacy whether in my personal free time with the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP) or in the STEM field.
Tell us about your work:
I study about the apelinergic system in humans. This system has many therapeutic targets for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and cancer. The system comprises of the apelin receptor, apelin and apela isoforms. My research interest focuses on the interaction between two known apelin isoforms (apelin-55 and apelin-36) with the apelin receptor using a variety of NMR techniques.
Who are your LGBTQ+ role models?
George Takei has always been one of the few BIPOC LGBTQ+ celebrities who uses his platform to promote spreading love and acceptance towards and within the 2SLGBTQ+ communities. I stand for his motto and strive to be like him one day.
Where do you see yourself in 5 - 10 years?
In 5 – 10 years from now, I envision myself as someone who can actively do research and mentor the upcoming generation of scientists. As someone working towards more inclusivity and acceptance for communities, I would still continue to advocate and be the voice for the visible minorities.
What would you like to change about Academia (or equivalent) to make it more welcoming to LGBTQ+ folks?
One thing that I would like to change about the current educational system is reducing the promotions of hate speech such as xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, etc… I encountered occasions where people with high positions in the academia utilizing their position to spread their hatred to others. In my humble opinions, as someone who happens to exist in the intersectionality of multiple marginalized identities, I do not want the existence of hate speech to discourage folks from their aspirations and dreams.