Young Vietnamese Ph. D. honoured in US

Posted at: MONday - 23/03/2015 11:38 - post name: Cộng tác viên

 
Young Vietnamese Ph. D. honoured in US

Dr. Phan Minh Liem has become the first Vietnamese who has honoured by the MD Anderson Cancer Center for the fourth time.

The 32-year-old scientist is also one of the ten people who have won the Young Citizens Award.

Bringing fame home

Dr. Phan Minh Liem is a young Vietnamese who has dedicated his time to study. His great contributions to science have brought honour to his country.

Born in 1983 in a teachers’ family, Liem has had great passion for reading and conducting scientific experiment since he was a little boy with support from his family.

When he was at 10th grade, he was granted a scholarship by Soleil Francophone to study in France. In 2001, he passed the entrance examination to the Ho Chi Minh City University of Science where he majored in bio-technology. During his study, he was always active in the university’s scientific activities. At his third year at university, he got a scholarship by the Vietnam Education Foundation to take a Ph. D course in the US.

“I was advised by professors of the US National Academy of Science to go to the MD Anderson Cancer Centre, where I could follow my research on cancer,” Dr. Liem recalled.

MD Anderson, located in Houston, Texas, has been rated by US News as No. 1 cancer centre in the US for 12 years.

With his great passion and expectation to develop new therapy to help all patients, Dr. Liem’s contributions have been recognised and honoured in the US.

He was the recipient of Andrew Sowell-Wade Huggins Scholarship and named Sylvan Rodriguez/Cancer Answers Award Scholar in 2010 for his academic achievements in cancer research and contributions to community. He was also the recipient of Rosalie B. Hite Fellowship in 2010, which is given to graduate students that have excellent achievements in their research. He has been presented different awards by the US Congress and Ministry of Defense for his cancer research.

In 2010, he became the first foreign student elected President of Graduate Student Association of GSBS, UT-Houston, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Minh and his partners have had 15 research projects published in different international science magazines on bio-technology and cancer, such as the Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences and the Journal of National Cancer Institute.

Especially, the Khanh Hoa – born young Ph.D. is the first Vietnamese whose name has been listed in the Wall of Honour Student of  the MD Anderson Cancer Center for four times.

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Good news for cancer patients

After six years working together on a research project, Dr. Liem and his mentors and collaborators have identified a novel important regulator of cancer metabolic reprogramming. This regulator is frequently lost during carcinogenesis and this loss enables cancer cells to dramatically accelerate and reprogram their metabolism and energy production to boost their proliferation, survival, radio-chemo resistance and metastasis. Loss of this regulator frequently happens in more than 91percent of breast cancer patients and is strongly correlated with poor survival, which indicates the importance of this regulator in suppressing cancers.

By re-expressing this regulator in many cancer models, they effectively and selectively suppressed their metabolic pathways and energy production, thereby significantly reducing their metastasis, proliferation, and tumor formation. Furthermore, they observe that this regulator doesn't cause harmful side effects on normal cells. Although there is still a lot more research to be done before we can apply these findings on patients, Dr. Liem hopes their discovery will contribute to the development of novel effective targeted anti-cancer therapies.

In addition to his passion for cancer research, he hopes to develop Vietnam’s science through practical actions. In 2013, he worked with the Ho Chi Minh City University of Science and the Vietnam Education Foundation to bring MD Anderson Cancer Center professors to open a course on cancer for more than 100 doctors and students in Vietnam. The second course was run in 2014, benefiting nearly 300 learners.

Dr. Phan Minh Liem and his VEF fellows have also established the Vietnam Journal of Science (VJS), the first of its kind in Vietnam, to provide scientific information to Vietnamese people and publish Vietnamese scientists’ articles and research project on international magazines.

Source: Dan tri

Translated by Dic

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