Phuong Le

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Schmidt Science Fellow
pble at


Ph.D. (Bioengineering), University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2019
M.S.(Biological Systems Engineering), University of California, Davis, 2014
B.S.(Biological Systems Engineering), University of California, Davis, 2012


Phuong Le received her B.S. and M.S. in Biological Systems Engineering from the University of California at Davis, where she developed a label-free imaging method to detect oxidative stress in microbes under the guidance of Dr. Nitin. In PhD, Phuong joined Dr. Andrew Smith in the Bioengineering department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Phuong’s thesis focuses on developing quantitative, single-molecule imaging techniques and nanotechnology probes called quantum dots to observe and quantify individual molecules in cells. Using this technological platform, Phuong studied decision-making process of single cells in pathogenesis states including cancer and inflammation. As a postdoctoral researcher in Yeo lab, Phuong plans to gain training in computational neuroscience. Phuong is interested in studying how neurons function in homeostasis and pathogenesis states. In particular, Phuong wants to explore RNA localization in the context of neurodegenerative diseases. Phuong has competed in national competitions in table tennis and chess.


& indicates co-first authors

Le P., Vaidya R., Smith L.D., Han Z., Zahid M.U., Winter J., Sarkar S., Chung H.J., Perez-Pinera P., Selvin P.R., and Smith A.M. Optimizing Quantum Dot Probe Size for Single-Receptor Imaging. ACS Nano. 14, 7, 8343-8358. (2020).

Sarkar S., Le P., Geng J., Liu Y., Zhiyuan H., Zahid M. U., Duncan N., Youn Y., Selvin P.R., Smith A.M. Short Wave Infrared Quantum Dots with Compact Sizes for Microscopic Molecular Imaging in Cells and Tissues. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 142, 7, 3449-3462. (2020).

Le P., Chitoor S., Tu C., Lim S.J., A.M. Smith. Compact Quantum Dots for Quantitative Cytology. Methods in Molecular Biology. (2019)

Le P., Lim S.J., Baculis B.C., Chung H.J., Kilian K.A., A.M. Smith. Counting Growth Factors in Single Cells with Near-Infrared Quantum Dots. Nature Communications 10 (2019)

Liu Y., Le P., Lim S. J., Ma L., Sarkar S., Murphy S. J., Kosari F., Vasmatzis G., Cheville J. C., Smith A. M. Enhanced mRNA FISH with Compact Quantum Dots. Nature Communications 9 (2018)

Race, C. M.&, Kwon L.E.&, Foreman M.T., Huang Q., Inan H., Kesiraju S., Le P., Lim S.J., Smith A.M., Anderson K.S., B.T. Cunningham. An Automated Microfluidic Assay for Photonic Crystal Enhanced Detection and Analysis of an Antiviral Antibody Cancer Biomarker in Serum. IEEE Sensors Journal 18 (2017)

Ma L.&, Tu C.&, Le P., Chitoor S., Lim S.J., Zahid M., Teng K.W., Ge P., Selvin P.R., A.M. Smith. Multidentate Polymer Coatings for Compact and Homogeneous Quantum Dots with Efficient Bioconjugation. Journal of the American Chemical Society 138, 3382-3394 (2016).

Cossu A.&, Le P.&, Young G., N. Nitin. Assessment of sanitation efficacy against Escherichia coli O157:H7 by rapid measurement of intracellular oxidative stress, membrane damage or glucose active uptake. Food Control 71, 293-300 (2017)

Lim S.J., Zahid M.U., Le P., Ma L., Entenberg D., Harney A.S., Condeelis J., A.M. Smith. Brightness-equalized quantum dots. Nature Communications 6 (2015).

Le P., Zhang L., Lim V., McCarthy M.J., N. Nitin. A Novel Approach for Measuring Resistance of Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes to Hydrogen Peroxide Using Label-free Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Relaxometry. Food Control 50, 560-567 (2015).

Vonasek E., Le P., N. Nitin. Encapsulation of Bacteriophages in Whey Protein Films for Extended Storage and Release. Food Hydrocolloids 37, 7-13 (2014).