Dr Kim Tran

Dr Kim Tran

Research Associate

School of Engineering

Career Summary

Biography

Dr. Kim Tran is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Global Innovation Centre for Advanced Nanomaterials (GICAN), School of Engineering and at the Ecotoxicology lab, School of Environmental and Life Sciences (SELS). Apart from researching, Kim is also involved in technical support and working as a technical officer at SELS. Kim started her academic career as a lecturer at School of Agriculture and Resources, Vinh University, Vietnam in 2004.

Kim received her PhD degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of Newcastle (UoN), Australia in 2017. Under supervision of Dr. Richard Yu and Dr. Geoff MacFarlane from ecotoxicology research group at SELS, Kim's PhD research was focused on elucidating molecular mechanisms underlying environmental estrogens induced vitellogenin induction in the Sydney rock oyster, an Australian ecologically and economically important species. The research shed a light on the participation of “estrogen receptor-like” in the mediation of molluscan vitellogenesis, which enhances the knowledge of estrogen signalling pathways in molluscs and helps to understand molecular rationales behind the use of molluscan vitellogenin as a biomarker to assess and monitor estrogen pollution. 

Kim’s previous and current research are interdisciplinary, which involved in

  • Development of molluscan species as bio-indicators of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) pollution in estuarine and marine ecosystems,
  • Contaminant monitoring (polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs), microplastics, poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and heavy metals),
  • Roles of microplastics as vector for pathogens and mixed contaminants; Risk assessment of contaminant transformation products and metabolites, and
  • Antibacterial activity testing of halloysite based nanomaterials and their modification forms and derivatives.

Teaching Expertise

From 2004 to 2012, Kim taught undergraduate courses: AQUA30012-Marine Aquaculture, AGR20002-Agricultural and Environmental Project Management.

Since 2018, Kim has been involved in demonstrating, marking and course development for ENVS2004-Ecology, SCIE1002-Multidisciplinary Laboratories and ENVS1002-Physical and Chemical Environmental System at the University of Newcastle. For the past four years, Kim has been mentoring and training post-graduate research students with field and lab work, as well as statistical and written components of their degree.




Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle

Keywords

  • DNA Methylation
  • Environmental contaminants
  • Estrogen Receptor
  • Gene Expression
  • Microbiological Culture
  • Molluscs
  • Sydney Rock Oysters

Languages

  • Vietnamese (Mother)
  • English (Fluent)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
410599 Pollution and contamination not elsewhere classified 100

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Research Associate University of Newcastle
School of Engineering
Australia
Casual Academic University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Australia
Casual Academic University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Australia

Awards

Recipient

Year Award
2016 Post Graduate Research Publication Award
Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry -Australasia

Teaching Award

Year Award
2019 Staff Excellence Award (Collaboration Excellence Team Award Recipient for SCIE-1002)
School of Environmental and Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, The university of Newcastle, Australia
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (18 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2021 Alam MR, Islam R, Anh Tran TK, Van DL, Rahman MM, Griffin AS, et al., 'Global patterns of accumulation and partitioning of metals in halophytic saltmarsh taxa: A phylogenetic comparative approach', Journal of Hazardous Materials, 414 (2021) [C1]

The current study represents the first attempt to analyse quantitatively, within a phylogenetic framework, uptake and partitioning patterns of copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd)... [more]

The current study represents the first attempt to analyse quantitatively, within a phylogenetic framework, uptake and partitioning patterns of copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) in extant saltmarsh taxa globally, and to assess associations of these patterns with various plant traits indicative of their halophytic adaptations. Despite saltmarsh being diverse taxonomically, most saltmarsh taxa accumulate metals to roots at, or above, unity (> 1). Further, there is significant translocation from roots to shoot for Cu, Zn and Cd (= 1), however, Pb is less mobile (TF = 0.65). Patterns of accumulation were similar among families, except greater Cd accumulation to roots in members of Juncaceae. Patterns of uptake to roots and translocation to leaves were broadly similar among plant type, plant form, habitat and photosynthetic mode. Zinc is lower in the leaves of salt-secreting species for some closely related taxa, suggesting some species co-excrete sodium (Na+) and Zn2+ through glands in leaf tissue. Salinity tolerance has no relationship to metal uptake and translocation. Translocation of Zn is greater at lower Zn sediment exposures, reflecting its active uptake and essentiality, but such bias does not affect outcomes of analyses when included as a covariate.

DOI 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.125515
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
Co-authors Richard Yu, Andrea Griffin, Mahmud Rahman, Geoff Macfarlane
2021 Islam R, Yu RMK, Andrew-Priestley M, Smith N, Rahman MM, Tran TKA, et al., 'Secondary treatment phase of tertiary wastewater treatment works significantly reduces estrogenic load', Water Research, 200 (2021)

Estrogenic compounds enter waterways via effluents from wastewater treatment works (WWTW), thereby indicating a potential risk to organisms inhabiting adjacent receiving waters. H... [more]

Estrogenic compounds enter waterways via effluents from wastewater treatment works (WWTW), thereby indicating a potential risk to organisms inhabiting adjacent receiving waters. However, little is known about the loads or concentrations of estrogenic compounds that enter Australian WWTWs, the efficiency of removing estrogenic compounds throughout the various stages of tertiary WWTW processes (which are common in Australia), nor the concentrations released into estuarine or marine receiving waters, and the associated risk for aquatic taxa residing in these environments. Therefore, seven estrogenic compounds, comprising the natural estrogens estrone (E1), 17ß-estradiol (E2) and estriol (E3), the synthetic estrogen (EE2), and the industrial chemicals bisphenol A (BPA), 4-t-octyl phenol (4-t-OP) and 4-nonyl phenol (4-NP), in wastewater samples were quantified via liquid chromatographic-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) after solid-phase extraction at different stages of wastewater treatment and associated receiving waters. The concentrations of the target compounds in wastewater ranged from < LOQ (limit of quantification) to 158 ng/L for Tanilba Bay WWTW and < LOQ to 162 ng/L for Belmont WWTW. Most target compounds significantly declined after the secondary treatment phase. Appreciable removal efficiency throughout the treatment process was observed with removal from 39.21 to 99.98% of influent values at both WWTWs. The reduction of the natural estrogens (E1, E2 and E3) and 4-t-OP were significantly greater than EE2, BPA, and 4-NP in both WWTWs. Risk quotients (RQs) were calculated to assess potential ecological risks from individual estrogenic compounds. In predicted diluted effluents, no targeted compounds showed any ecological risk (RQ =1.65 × 10-2) at both WWTWs. Similarly, all RQs for shore samples at both WWTWs were below 1. Finally, the hazard index (HI), which represents combined estrogenic contaminants¿ ecological risk, indicated no mentionable risk for predicted diluted effluents (HI = 0.0097 to 0.0218) as well as shoreline samples (HI = 0.393 to 0.522) in the receiving estuarine or marine waters.

DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2021.117257
Co-authors Mahmud Rahman, Richard Yu, Geoff Macfarlane
2021 Islam R, Melvin SD, Yu RMK, O'Connor WA, Thi KAT, Andrew-Priestley M, et al., 'Exposure to estrogenic mixtures results in tissue-specific alterations to the metabolome of oysters', AQUATIC TOXICOLOGY, 231 (2021) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.aquatox.2020.105722
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Richard Yu, Geoff Macfarlane
2021 Stein TJ, Alam MR, Tran TKA, MacFarlane GR, 'Metal(loid) uptake and partitioning within the saltmarsh halophyte, Juncus kraussii', Marine Pollution Bulletin, 170 (2021)

An investigation was conducted over three estuaries in SE Australia with a gradient in metal(loid) contamination to assess metal(loid) (Cu, Zn, As, Se, Cd and Pb) accumulation and... [more]

An investigation was conducted over three estuaries in SE Australia with a gradient in metal(loid) contamination to assess metal(loid) (Cu, Zn, As, Se, Cd and Pb) accumulation and transport within the halophytic saltmarsh rush, Juncus kraussii. Sydney Olympic Park exhibited the most elevated metal(loid) contamination, followed by Hunter Wetlands and Lake Macquarie. J. kraussii exhibited a strong ability to restrict metal(loid) movement into the root system, with the exception of cadmium (BCFs < 1.0) and unrestricted flow from root to culm excepting Se, Cd (TFs < 1). Pb and Zn exhibited elevated translocation between roots and culms (TF 4.4 and 7.3, respectively). Despite barriers for uptake into the below-ground tissues, most metal(loid)s were accumulated to the roots with environmental dose (except for Cu and Cd) and linear relationships were present between the root and culm (for As and Se) and the sediment and culm (for As, Se, Cd, and Pb).

DOI 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2021.112690
Co-authors Geoff Macfarlane
2021 Bhagwat G, Tran TKA, Lamb D, Senathirajah K, Grainge I, O'Connor W, et al., 'Biofilms Enhance the Adsorption of Toxic Contaminants on Plastic Microfibers under Environmentally Relevant Conditions.', Environ Sci Technol, 55 8877-8887 (2021)
DOI 10.1021/acs.est.1c02012
Co-authors Dane Lamb, Ian Grainge, Thava Palanisami, Geetika Bhagwat
2021 Alam MR, Tran TKA, Stein TJ, Rahman MM, Griffin AS, Yu RMK, MacFarlane GR, 'Accumulation and distribution of metal(loid)s in the halophytic saltmarsh shrub, Austral seablite, Suaeda australis in New South Wales, Australia', Marine Pollution Bulletin, 169 (2021) [C1]

We examined the patterns of uptake and partitioning of metal(loid)s in Suaeda australis from three highly urbanised estuaries (Sydney Olympic Park, Hunter Wetlands and Lake Macqua... [more]

We examined the patterns of uptake and partitioning of metal(loid)s in Suaeda australis from three highly urbanised estuaries (Sydney Olympic Park, Hunter Wetlands and Lake Macquarie) in NSW, Australia. Of these, Sydney Olympic Park was found to be the most contaminated estuary in terms of combined sediment metal(loid) load, followed by Hunter Wetlands and lowest in Lake Macquarie (via PERMANOVA). Uptake in roots was greater for the essential metals Cu and Zn along with the non-essential metal Cd and the metalloid Se (root BCFs >1) and lower for Pb and As (root BCFs <1). Substantial barriers for translocation from roots to stems were identified for all metal(loid)s (stem TFs; 0.07¿0.68). Conversely, unrestricted flow from stems to leaves was observed for all metal(loid)s at unity or higher (leaf TFs = 1). Strong linear relationships between sediment and root for Zn and Pb were observed, indicating roots as a useful bioindicator.

DOI 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2021.112475
Co-authors Geoff Macfarlane, Mahmud Rahman, Richard Yu, Andrea Griffin
2021 Bhagwat G, Carbery M, Anh Tran TK, Grainge I, O'Connor W, Palanisami T, 'Fingerprinting Plastic-Associated Inorganic and Organic Matter on Plastic Aged in the Marine Environment for a Decade.', Environmental science & technology, 55 7407-7417 (2021) [C1]
DOI 10.1021/acs.est.1c00262
Citations Scopus - 2
Co-authors Maddison Carbery Uon, Ian Grainge, Thava Palanisami, Geetika Bhagwat
2020 Roe RAL, Tran TKA, Schreider MJ, MacFarlane GR, 'Assessment of the Effects of Sediment-Associated Metals and Metalloids on Mangrove Macroinvertebrate Assemblages', Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 231 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s11270-020-04731-7
Citations Scopus - 4Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Maria Schreider, Geoff Macfarlane
2020 Idowu O, Tran TKA, Baker P, Farrel H, Zammit A, Semple KT, et al., 'Bioavailability of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) to the Sydney rock oyster (Saccostrea glomerata) from sediment matrices of an economically important Australian estuary', Science of the Total Environment, 736 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139574
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 4
Co-authors Thava Palanisami
2020 Tran TKA, Islam R, Le Van D, Rahman MM, Yu RMK, MacFarlane GR, 'Accumulation and partitioning of metals and metalloids in the halophytic saltmarsh grass, saltwater couch, Sporobolus virginicus', Science of the Total Environment, 713 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.136576
Citations Scopus - 6Web of Science - 6
Co-authors Mahmud Rahman, Richard Yu, Geoff Macfarlane
2020 Idowu O, Tran TKA, Webster G, Chapman I, Baker P, Farrel H, et al., 'Quantitative biomonitoring of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) using the Sydney rock oyster (Saccostrea glomerata)', Science of the Total Environment, 742 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140497
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Philip Hansbro, Thava Palanisami
2020 Islam R, Kit Yu RM, O Connor WA, Anh Tran TK, Andrew-Priestley M, Leusch FDL, MacFarlane GR, 'Parental exposure to the synthetic estrogen 17a-ethinylestradiol (EE2) affects offspring development in the Sydney rock oyster, Saccostrea glomerata', Environmental Pollution, 266 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114994
Citations Scopus - 4Web of Science - 3
Co-authors Geoff Macfarlane, Richard Yu
2019 Yingprasertchai T, Yu RMK, Thi KAT, Kong RYC, O'Connor WA, MacFarlane GR, 'Characterisation of the metallothionein gene in the Sydney rock oyster and its expression upon metal exposure in oysters with different prior metal exposure histories', MARINE ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH, 151 (2019) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.marenvres.2019.104775
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3
Co-authors Geoff Macfarlane, Richard Yu
2019 Tran TKA, Yu RMK, Islam R, Nguyen THT, Bui TLH, Kong RYC, et al., 'The utility of vitellogenin as a biomarker of estrogenic endocrine disrupting chemicals in molluscs', Environmental Pollution, 248 1067-1078 (2019) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.02.056
Citations Scopus - 25Web of Science - 22
Co-authors Richard Yu, Geoff Macfarlane
2018 Islam R, Kumar S, Karmoker J, Kamruzzaman M, Rahman MA, Biswas N, et al., 'Bioaccumulation and adverse effects of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) on ecosystems and human exposure: A review study on Bangladesh perspectives', Environmental Technology and Innovation, 12 115-131 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.eti.2018.08.002
Citations Scopus - 17Web of Science - 14
Co-authors Mahmud Rahman
2017 Tran TKA, MacFarlane GR, Kong RYC, O'Connor WA, Yu RMK, 'The constitutively active estrogen receptor (ER) binds and activates the promoter of the vitellogenin (Vtg) gene in the Sydney rock oyster, Saccostrea glomerata', Marine Pollution Bulletin, 118 397-402 (2017) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.02.060
Citations Scopus - 6Web of Science - 6
Co-authors Richard Yu, Geoff Macfarlane
2016 Tran TKA, MacFarlane GR, Kong RYC, O'Connor WA, Yu RMK, 'Mechanistic insights into induction of vitellogenin gene expression by estrogens in Sydney rock oysters, Saccostrea glomerata', Aquatic Toxicology, 174 146-158 (2016) [C1]

Marine molluscs, such as oysters, respond to estrogenic compounds with the induction of the egg yolk protein precursor, vitellogenin (Vtg), availing a biomarker for estrogenic pol... [more]

Marine molluscs, such as oysters, respond to estrogenic compounds with the induction of the egg yolk protein precursor, vitellogenin (Vtg), availing a biomarker for estrogenic pollution. Despite this application, the precise molecular mechanism through which estrogens exert their action to induce molluscan vitellogenesis is unknown. As a first step to address this question, we cloned a gene encoding Vtg from the Sydney rock oyster Saccostrea glomerata (sgVtg). Using primers designed from a partial sgVtg cDNA sequence available in Genbank, a full-length sgVtg cDNA of 8498 bp was obtained by 5'- and 3'-RACE. The open reading frame (ORF) of sgVtg was determined to be 7980 bp, which is substantially longer than the orthologs of other oyster species. Its deduced protein sequence shares the highest homology at the N- and C-terminal regions with other molluscan Vtgs. The full-length genomic DNA sequence of sgVtg was obtained by genomic PCR and genome walking targeting the gene body and flanking regions, respectively. The genomic sequence spans 20 kb and consists of 30 exons and 29 introns. Computer analysis identified three closely spaced half-estrogen responsive elements (EREs) in the promoter region and a 210-bp CpG island 62 bp downstream of the transcription start site. Upregulation of sgVtg mRNA expression was observed in the ovaries following in vitro (explants) and in vivo (tank) exposure to 17ß-estradiol (E2). Notably, treatment with an estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist in vitro abolished the upregulation, suggesting a requirement for an estrogen-dependent receptor for transcriptional activation. DNA methylation of the 5' CpG island was analysed using bisulfite genomic sequencing of the in vivo exposed ovaries. The CpG island was found to be hypomethylated (with 0-3% methylcytosines) in both control and E2-exposed oysters. However, no significant differential methylation or any correlation between methylation and sgVtg expression levels was observed. Overall, the results support the possible involvement of an ERE-containing promoter and an estrogen-activated receptor in estrogen signalling in marine molluscs.

DOI 10.1016/j.aquatox.2016.02.023
Citations Scopus - 22Web of Science - 20
Co-authors Richard Yu, Geoff Macfarlane
2016 Tran TKA, MacFarlane GR, Kong RYC, O'Connor WA, Yu RMK, 'Potential mechanisms underlying estrogen-induced expression of the molluscan estrogen receptor (ER) gene', Aquatic Toxicology, 179 82-94 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.aquatox.2016.08.015
Citations Scopus - 16Web of Science - 16
Co-authors Geoff Macfarlane, Richard Yu
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Dr Kim Tran

Positions

Research Associate
School of Engineering
College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Casual Academic
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Technical Officer
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Casual Research Assistant
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Contact Details

Email thikim.tran@newcastle.edu.au

Office

Room B117
Building Biological Science Building
Location Callaghan Campus
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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