Vietnamese man impresses American scientists

VNF - As one of 10 outstanding Vietnamese 2019, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Duc Thanh currently heads a research group on the biomedical technology at Connecticut University.

Vietnamese man impresses American scientists

Nguyen Duc Thanh

Born in 1984, Nguyen Duc Thanh was trained at Hanoi University of Technology. He received a doctoral fellowship from the Vietnam-US Education Fund (VEF) in 2008 and completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 at Princeton University. Later, he worked as postdoc (Massachusetts postdoctoral fellow) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and was appointed by the University of Connecticut as Assistant Professor.

Thanh's researchese focus on the technology of converting medical materials into "smart" materials that are structured at microscopic (nano and micro) dimensions for various applications in medicine and biology. With this achievement, he was awarded many prestigious awards, including NIH Trailblazer Award for Young and Early Investigator 2017, 2018 SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award.

Thanh said his most favorite work is research on vaccines and intra-pressure measuring devices capable of self-digesting inside the human body. At the beginning of his postdoctoral research, he says, in Africa and developing countries there is a reappearance of pandemics like Ebola, Polio, Inflenza. Luckily, sponsored by Bill Gate’s charity, he created a vaccine injected as soon as the baby was born.

Applying microelectronics knowledge, Thanh figured out a new method that is using computer chip manufacturing technology to fabricate small particles of vaccines, with self-digesting medical materials.

Accordingly, just a single injection, these vaccines will automatically release the vaccine at different times as desired and stimulate the body's immunity. The work, published in Science magazine, has attracted the attention of many researchers inside and outside the United States, as well as media giants such as The Guardian, The Independence and Foxnews.

The second work is to convert medical materials into "smart" materials used for various medical applications. It was about the time when he first worked at the University of Connecticut.

According to him, these devices can be implanted into the body to measure the pressures in the body of a patient with traumatic brain injury, eye pressure of cataract patients. They transmit signals to the outside through wireless technology and are particularly capable of self-destruction. This idea was realized by outstanding students in his research group at the University of Connecticut. After that, the group announced the research results on PNAS - a famous multidisciplinary magazine in the US and received the attention of researchers and media around the world.

Arouse potentials

Assoc. Dr. Nguyen Duc Thanh said in the US, the research in the field of biomedical technology and biomedical materials attracted great attention from industry. The government also provides a great deal of funding for the combination of industry and researchers. There are many start-up companies using research results from research groups in institutes and universities. Research groups in this field themselves must also be very active in commercializing research products.

Mr. Thanh believes that Vietnam is full capable of cooperating with the US to develop this field. It will bring to Vietnam new technology and huge funding. Therefore, he always wanted to cooperate with scientists in the country or do something to support young Vietnamese scientists. Currently, he has been in constant contact with several research groups in Vietnam and annually bring outstanding Vietnamese students to the US to study and research in his group.


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