Freddy T. Nguyen, MD, PhD

Research Fellow @ Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Physician-scientist developing biophotonics and nano technologies for functional precision medicine to provide the right treatment to the right patient at the right time.


Dr. Freddy T. Nguyen, MD, PhD, is a Research Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyHis current focus area is in functional precision medicine to develop new technologies (based on photonics and nanotechnologies) to provide quicker and more dynamic information to determine the most effective treatment for the right patient at the right time. His prior work has focused on spectroscopic techniques (fluorescence, Raman, diffuse reflectance, and light scattering) for cancer diagnostics and therapy effectiveness.

He was previously the Transfusion Medicine Fellow in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Dartmouth, Pathology Resident at Mount Sinai Hospital, Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT,  In Vivo Microscopy Fellow at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his M.D. from the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also did research in the George R. Harrison Spectroscopy Laboratory at MIT over the years. He received his B.S. in Chemistry and B.A. in Mathematics from Rice University.

MD-PHD TRAINING: His PhD focused on developing and validating Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) for the intraoperative assessment of tumor margins and lymph nodes during breast cancer surgeries. He also worked on the development of targeted multi-modal protein microspheres as a delivery vehicle for contrast agents to bridge the localization of tumor cells across macro scale and micron scale imaging modalities such as MRI, Fluorescence, OCT, and Magnetomotive-OCT. Supported by a predoctoral fellowship from the Breast Cancer Research Program of the Department of Defense CDMRP.

POSTDOCTORAL TRAINING: He developed novel nanoscale sensors for the molecular recognition of chemotherapeutic drugs and cell death markers to assess drug delivery and cancer therapy efficacy.  By leveraging optical technologies, hydrogel chemistry, and nanotechnology, he developed a unified optical imaging nanosensor platform for in vivo and in vitro molecular recognition of small molecules. Supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.

CLINICAL TRAINING: During his in vivo microscopy fellowship at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, he focused his time on studying the longitudinal progression of Barrett’s Esophagus and pre-cancerous lesions in the esophagus using capsule-OCT.  In his residency in clinical pathology at Mount Sinai Hospital, Dr. Nguyen’s work pivoted towards the COVID-19 pandemic leveraging his expertise in informatics and his interests in Transfusion Medicine.  He studied the impact of COVID-19 convalescent plasma including adverse effects on transfused COVID-19 patients.  He also studied neutralizing antibody responses in COVID-19 convalescent sera on collaboration project led by the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health.  With his interests in informatics, he contributed to a project to leverage natural language processing for extracting diagnostic information from pathology reports. He continued his clinical training with a Transfusion Medicine fellowship at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.

PHYSICIAN-SCIENTIST: Dr. Nguyen has been a strong advocate for trainees throughout his career. He was the founder, President, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Physician Scientists Association (APSA), an organization that was built to support and advocate for physician-scientist trainees. In 2006, he was recognized by the Excellence in Medicine Award from the American Medical Association Foundation for his leadership. In 2014, APSA jointly with the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians recognized Dr. Nguyen with the APSA Directors’ Award for his “indefatigable dedication to physician-scientist trainees” and in celebration of 10th anniversary of the founding of APSA. He was a member of the Physician Scientist Initiative Committee led by the Association of Professors of Medicine and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Clinical and Translational Science Network led by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) & Science Careers.

Since 2022, he has been leading active research at MIT on the physician-scientist pipeline in collaboration with Prof. Dania Daye, MD, PhD and Dr. Alex Adami, MD, PhD.

SERVICE: He has previously represented his peers on the Associate Member Council of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and on the Council of Student Members for the American College of Physicians (ACP).

He is highly involved with his alma mater, Rice University, having served as Founding President of the Rice Alumni in Medicine (RAM) group, a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Rice Alumni, co-chair of his Class Reunion, and a co-president of the Boston Rice Alumni Regional Group.

Dr. Nguyen serves on the Committee on Assessment of Biohazards & Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight for MIT and previously served on the Institutional Review Board for UIUC. Dr. Nguyen also serves on the Nanosensors Section Editorial Board for Sensors and on the Editorial Board of Plasmatology.

INNOVATION: He has been an emerging leader in healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems as a former co-director of MIT Hacking Medicine, co-founder and co-director of the MIT COVID-19 Challenge, and co-founder and co-director of the MIT Hacking Racism Challenge.

Since 2018, he has been co-leading active research at MIT on innovations in healthcare, entrepreneurship, and health equity in collaboration with Prof. Khalil Ramadi, Prof. Bryan Ranger, Prof. Martha Gray, and Zen Chu.