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First Vietnamese researcher receives Early Career Award from International Brain Research Organization

Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 18:48 GMT+7
First Vietnamese researcher receives Early Career Award from International Brain Research Organization
Dr. Ha Thi Thanh Huong (L) is pictured at the School of Biomedical Engineering of the International University under the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Bui Nghia / Tuoi Tre

A university lecturer has become the first person in Vietnam to receive an Early Career Award from the International Brain Research Organization.

Dr. Ha Thi Thanh Huong, 31, a lecturer at the School of Biomedical Engineering of the International University under the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City, is among the 15 researchers in the world to be honored with this year’s Early Career Award.

In 2018, having obtained a PhD in neuroscience at Stanford University in the United States, Huong returned to Vietnam to seek solutions to human brain problems, contributing to the improvement of Vietnamese people’s intellectual and mental health.

The award, valued at EUR5,000 (US$5,870), is to support researchers in the early stages by providing additional funding for their research.

The Early Career Award is decided based on the quality of candidates' published articles, as well as the importance and persuasiveness of their topic.

Applicants are required to submit a scientific résumé and an online application describing their ongoing research project while clarifying how they will use the funding and the importance of the project.

Alzheimer's is one of the most fatal diseases in the elderly, Huong told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, adding that research on it is becoming increasingly urgent given an aging population in Vietnam.

“I applied for this year’s award to look for financial support for a project on Alzheimer's disease diagnosis. My team and I are developing a tool that can be more accurate, reduce invasiveness, and lower the cost for diagnosing the disease,” Huong elaborated.

“We will apply artificial intelligence to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) analysis, and use breakthrough molecular biology tools such as RNA sequencing in blood samples."

The group has submitted four reports at an international conference on biomedical engineering and received funding from the Vietnam Alzheimer's Network, a program sponsored by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

The team’s diagnostic model using artificial intelligence also entered the top 20 at a contest for innovation and artificial intelligence application organized by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Science and Technology earlier this month.

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