Professor Brings Biomedical

Engineering to Vietnam

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR VO VAN TOI is working to bring biomedical engineering to Vietnam. With support from the National Science Foundation, he has visited the country twice over the past year. The first trip took place last spring and found Vo, an associate professor in biomedical engineering, leading a delegation of American professors and researchers throughout the country. The goals of the delegation were to assess the status of biomedical engineering in the country and to identify areas in which collaboration between the United States and Vietnam could occur. Vo returned to Vietnam in July 2004 with fellow biomedical engineering Professor and Acting Associate Dean of Engineering Sergio Fantini to see what progress had been made since the first visit, to spread the merits of biomedical engineering further, and, to lay the groundwork for a summer 2005 biomedical engineering conference in Vietnam.

“In Vietnam, the field of Biomedical engineering is quite new,” says Vo. “ They are beginning to develop the infrastructure necessary to move forward. For example, in January 2004 the Ho Chi Minh University of Technology created its Biomedical Engineering Department. To help this process along, I have proposed a model. I call it the Virtual Department of Biomedical Engineering of Vietnam.” As part of the virtual department plan, students from Vietnam will be given scholarships to study at American universities.

Once in the United States, these students will focus on biomedical engineering research, management and leadership, and entrepreneurship. The hope is that after these students graduate with their master’s or doctoral degrees they will return to Vietnam and, in the words of Vo, “establish start-up companies, convert intellectual products into commercially viable ones for market, and conduct joint scientific research projects with the United States.”

 

Professor Vo and the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) have worked together to make the virtual department a reality at Tufts, with the VEF providing stipends for three Vietnamese students to study at the university. Professor Vo, who was appointed to the VEF Board of Directors by President Bush last May, and the School of Engineering welcomed these students to Tufts in September.

 

(Published in Tufts Engineering Issue, Alma Matters: Special Edition)