Microbiology for Human and Aquatic Animal Health Thriving (2009 – present)


The overuse of broad-spectrum classical antibiotics may induce an antibiotic-resistant mechanism of bacteria and the accumulation of unused residues of drugs in the environment which, in turn, results in long-term negative effects on human and animal health. Therefore, the development of novel antibiotic alternatives for improved human, animal and environmental health is urgent.
We focus our research on development of pharmabiotics, which are any biological materials isolated from gut microbiota, including probiotics, bacteriocins, and bioactive molecules, for application in medicine and fisheries. Probiotics is “live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host” (WHO). While probiotic therapies for humans and livestock were focused on, the application of probiotics for aquatic animals have not been considered following the increasing development of aquaculture farming. Bacteriocins, which are ribosomally synthesized antibiotic peptides or proteins, have been looking for a positive health benefit to the host including human, livestock, and aquaculture animals.

At the moment we are studying on anticancer bacteriocins discovered from human microbiome using bioinformatics and molecular biology approaches. I have found the power of computational tools to generate new biological understanding for applications in medicine, agriculture and food security. Interestingly, microbiome is as one of the richest untapped sources inside our body which should be uncovered, especially on its link to human health in general and cancer development in particular.

Research Grants:

2017: Partner, HAPIE project, by British Council. Website:

2017-2019: Grant no. 106-NN.02-2016.70, Marine MicroFungi, by NAFOSTED

2015-2017: Grant no. 106.YS.04-2014.40, Anticancer bacteriocins from human gut microflora, by NAFOSTED

2014-2015: Co-Researcher, Grant no. SAT-ASEAN 5606, Probiotics for Pacific white shrimp, by PSU Collaborative Research Fund, Thailand

2011-2013: Grant no. 106.03-2011.34, Marine bacteriocins, by NAFOSTED

2011-2013: Grant no. B2011-13-02, Probiotics for lobsters, by MOET

2010-2012: Grant no. B2010-13-54, LAB bacteriocins for cobia preservation, by MOET

Selected publications:

  • T.H. Nguyen and V.D. Nguyen (2017): Characterization and Applications of Marine Microbial Enzymes in Biotechnology and Probiotics for Animal Health. In: Se-Kwon Kim and Fidel Toldrá, editors, Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, Vol. 80, Burlington: Academic Press, pp. 37-74. ISBN: 978-0-12-809587-4.
  • Chuong Nguyen, Van Duy Nguyen (2016): Discovery of azurin-like anticancer bacteriocins from human gut microbiome through homology modeling and molecular docking against the tumor suppressor p53. Biomed Research International, 2016, Article ID 8490482, pp. 1-12.
  • Nguyen Van Duy (2016): “Marine glycans in relationship with probiotic microorganisms to improve human and animal health”. In: Se-Kwon Kim (ed.), “Marine Glycobiology: Principles and Applications”, CRC Press, pp. 67-84.
  • Van Duy Nguyen, Thu Thuy Pham, Thi Hai Thanh Nguyen, Thi Thanh Xuan Nguyen, Lone Hoj (2014): Screening of marine bacteria with bacteriocin-like activities and probiotic potential for ornate spiny lobster (Panulirus ornatus) juvenile. Fish and Shellfish Immunology, 40(1): 49-60.
  • Nguyen Van Duy, Le Minh Hoang, Trang Si Trung (2013): “Application of probiotics from marine microbes for sustainable marine aquaculture development”. In: Se-Kwon Kim (ed.), “Marine Microbiology: Bioactive Compounds and Biotechnological Applications”, Weinheim: Wiley, pp. 307-349.

Molecular Microbiology: Functional genomics and gene regulation in Bacillus subtilis in response to aromatic antimicrobials (2003 – 2008)
As one of the best-studied model organisms of the low-GC content Gram-positive bacteria,Bacillus subtilis is exposed to a variety of toxic or antimicrobial aromatic compounds in the soil, which are produced by plants, fungi or derived from industrial contaminations. Several stress and starvation regulons have been extensively studied using proteome and transcriptome techniques. A complex dataset is now available indicating specific or more general stress or starvation responses. At the second stage the stimulons are classified in better defined regulons by the comparative proteome and transcriptome analyses of wild type strains and regulatory mutants. This complex dataset of regulons and the inducing conditions should be the basis now to predict the mode of action for antimicrobial compounds in B. subtilis. Currently, there is only little information about the response of B. subtilis to toxic phenolic compounds or whether B.subtilis is able to detoxify phenolic compounds. The goals of our research group are (1) to define the transcriptomic and proteomic signatures of B. subtilis in response to phenolic aromatic compounds (2) to verify the induction of putative degradative enzymes using transcriptional analyses and (3) to analyze the phenotypes, functions and regulation mechanisms of the newly discovered pathways which confer resistance to some phenolic compounds. These studies are published as part of collaborations with other co-workers of the group of Haike Antelmann (Greifswald University, Germany) as well as the groups of Jean-Francois Cavin (Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France), Kazuo Kobayashi (Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Nara, Japan) and Peter Zuber (Oregon Health and Science University, Beaverton, OR, USA).

Selected publications:

  • Manuel Liebeke, Dierk-Christoph Pöther, Nguyen Van Duy, Dirk Albrecht, Dörte Becher, Falko Hochgräfe, Michael Lalk, Michael Hecker, Haike Antelmann (2008): Depletion of thiol-containing proteins in response to quinones in Bacillus subtilis. Mol Microbiol 69(6):1513-29.
  • Montira Leelakriangsak, Nguyen Thi Thu Huyen, Stefanie Töwe, Nguyen Van Duy, Dörte Becher, Michael Hecker, Haike Antelmann, Peter Zuber (2008): Regulation of quinone detoxification by the thiol stress sensing DUF24/MarR-like repressor, YodB in Bacillus subtilis. Mol Microbiol 67, 1108-24.
  • Stefanie Töwe, Montira Leelakriangsak, Kazuo Kobayashi, Nguyen Van Duy, Michael Hecker, Peter Zuber, Haike Antelmann (2007): The MarR-type repressor MhqR (YkvE) regulates multiple dioxygenases/glyoxalases and an azoreductase which confer resistance to 2-methylhydroquinone and catechol in Bacillus subtilis. Mol Microbiol 66, 40-54.
  • Nguyen Van Duy, Carmen Wolf, Ulrike Mäder, Michael Lalk, Peter Langer, Ulrike Lindequist, Michael Hecker, Haike Antelman (2007): Transcriptome and proteome analyses in response to 2- methylhydroquinone and 6-brom-2-vinyl-chroman-4-on reveal different degradation systems involved in the catabolism of aromatic compounds in Bacillus subtilis. Proteomics 7, 1391-408.
  • Nguyen Van Duy, Ulrike Mäder, Ngoc Phuong Tran, Jean-François Cavin, Le Thi Tam, Dirk Albrecht, Michael Hecker, Haike Antelmann (2007): The proteome and transcriptome analysis of Bacillus subtilis in response to salicylic acid. Proteomics 7, 698-710.

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