Meet Our New Wadsworth Fellows: Tran Thi Minh

With the support of the Wadsworth International Fellowship Tran Thi Minh will continue her training in bioarchaeology at the University of the Philippines, supervised by Dr. Kimberly Plomp.

I currently hold both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biological Anthropology from Vietnam National University – Hanoi University of Science (VNU-HUS). I have established a track record of publishing in high-impact scientific journals, including Science, Quaternary Science, Scientific Reports, and American Journal of Biological Anthropology. Also, I have presented my research at international conferences in Singapore (2013), France (2015), the Philippines (2016), and Thailand (2022).

During my tenure at the Institute of Archaeology beginning in 2013, I have played a crucial role in numerous collaborative projects as a research facilitator and data collector. Currently, I hold a research position in the Department of Palaeoanthropology and Palaeoenvironment in the Institute of Archaeology, Hanoi. My role is to undertake field and lab research and curation of archaeological skeletons from open-air and cave sites in northern Vietnam. I also supervise and mentor students during their internship in the department.

My recent interest in paleopathology stems from my desire to better understand impacts on health and disease of ancient Vietnamese populations during the shift from hunter-gatherers to agriculturists. My goal is to explore whether transitions in behaviour influenced human skeletal variation, and if so, how this impacted health. These are the questions I seek to answer with my PhD research, which has been designed to incorporate my interest in the health and history of Vietnam and broaden my research profile to include evolutionary medicine and morphological variation.

My primary reason for pursuing a PhD is to become Vietnam’s first trained paleopathologist. My overall career goal seeks to establish the field of bioarcheology in Vietnam and contribute to research that is relevant to Southeast Asia and beyond. I want to help other young anthropologists, especially female researchers, learn modern research methods and gain greater access to academic opportunities. In addition, I aim to help the people of Vietnam learn about and appreciate their rich history. The School of Archaeology at the University (UPSA) of the Philippines is an ideal host institution for me to complete my PhD. I have chosen it because of its multi-disciplinary approach grounded in current archaeological and evolutionary theory, and because it will afford me access to all the resources afforded graduate students in the program.