Student Profile:
Peter Truong ‘14- Alum Profile

Why Siena?

Truthfully, as a young adult at the time, I chose Siena because I wanted to be closer to my girlfriend. Her family had to move from Georgia, where we went to high school, to Montreal due to the economic downturn at the end of our junior year. When it came time to submit college applications at the start of senior year, it only made sense to cut the distance between us from 1,200 miles to 300. Also, I had some family who lived in Albany which helped with the integration process. Upon encouragement from my aunt and family friend, Michele, who both worked at Siena, I ended up accepting the admission letter.

Why Physics?

Originally, I pictured myself earning a Bachelor’s in either electrical engineering to follow in my step-father’s career path or computer science, as I had an interest in working with computers. However, Michele encouraged me to study physics as it was her primary field. I took the bait, and eventually enjoyed the broad spectrum of science that physics had to offer. Later on in my college career, I pursued a double major with computer science and eventually a triple major with computational science, but physics, ultimately, was the core of my studies at Siena.

What were some of your most meaningful experiences at Siena?

The most meaningful experiences were the research opportunities that the physics department at Siena offered. The skills and way of organizing research that these opportunities provided aided in having the upper hand over other candidates with similar backgrounds such as a liberal arts education. As a result of these opportunities, I was able to acquire and maintain an internship in the research and development department of X-Ray Optical Systems during the third and fourth year of college.

How did Siena and your degree prepare you for life after college?

I’m still in school now so my life hasn’t really changed that much, (Peter is currently in a PhD program at McGill University for Medical Physics) but there is a clear distinction between undergraduate and graduate work. Siena has aided in this transition by providing its students with research opportunities either in the form of research assistantships or industrial internships. The social responsibilities of a graduate student are dependent on the communication between their supervisor and colleagues. However, with the introductory research experience that Siena brings, prospective students become prepared to face these expectations of being a graduate student: professionalism, straightforward communication, motivational practice, participation in lab extracurricular, deadlines, survival outside of the research life, and luck.

What research are you currently working on?

A brief synopsis of my research: Ionizing radiation sterilizes tumor cells or inhibits cell cycling due to DNA damage within its nucleus. However, tissue response to ionizing radiation varies widely between cancer cell lines and types of radiation. These variations fluctuate between patients as well. The identification of these radiosensitivity factors could have important implications in cancer radiation therapy. It is well known that the variance of specific energy imparted per cell (“dose” per cell) increases with decreasing cell size. Given the importance of DNA damage, the dose within cell nuclei is considered as the most relevant quantity for dose response correlations. By incorporating microdosimetrical principles in delineating energy deposition sites over tumor nuclei size distributions, the radiobiological observations for the number of double-strand breaks can be evaluated via Monte Carlo track structure simulation.

Peter Truong ‘14- Alum Profile

Peter Truong

Class of 2014

Physics, Computer Science, Computational Science Major