Matthew Tran

Matthew Tran

Where did you grow up and what’s your background?
I’m a fully-fledged Toronto urbanite with roots in downtown Toronto, Rexdale, Etobicoke and now Scarborough. Like most Vietnamese Canadians my age, I come from a large family of refugees with parents that can make a killer bowl of phở - pivotal to my survival during the Canadian winter.

Where did you study before coming to UTSC?
I studied at the UofT St. George campus and did a double major in Neuroscience and Animal Physiology. During this time I was also a volunteer/research student in the Josselyn/Frankland Lab at SickKids for about 3 years.

What is your program of study?
I signed a half-decade of my life away to pursue a PhD in the Department of Cell and Systems Biology. Here’s to the Raptors getting a title before I graduate.

What is your main research project?
My project aims to gain a better understanding of how a region of the brain known as the superior colliculus, binds different sensory information. Ultimately, I’m trying to determine what the functional ‘multisensory circuit’ within this region is, specifically by observing whether certain types of cells in this area might be more or less involved in multisensory integration. The goal would be to one day modify the activity of certain cells to alter perceptions of multisensory events and create a new type of multimedia experience which will perpetually fund our research (kidding, kind of).

Why science? If not science, then what?
Because pursuing it actually makes you a better person – seriously! I think anyone who engages in the scientific method becomes more observant, thoughtful, creative and, most importantly, open to mistakes.
If not science I’d probably be doing something that ties in policy, urban planning and social welfare. Alternatively, however, any one of these fine jobs would do as well.


The best restaurant in Scarborough is...?
My sample size is limited but: 1760 Ellesmere Rd, Toronto, ON M1H 2T9, Canada.

Your favourite place in Toronto is…?
Anywhere with a bike lane!

Your favourite place on the inter tubes?
Toss up between www.avclub.com or www.fivethirtyeight.com.