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Young scientist receives 2020 Golden Globe Award

Doan Le Hoang Tan, 33, deputy director of the Centre for Innovative Materials and Architectures under the Vietnam National University HCM City, was recently honoured as one of the 10 outstanding young scientists, 

making him one of the 2020 Golden Globe Award winners.

Doan Le Hoang Tan, 33 works with his colleagues in the Centre for Innovative Materials and Architectures in HCM City. 


The award is handed out by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union and the Ministry of Science and Technology to recognise successful research of young scientists in information and technology, medicine, biology, the environment and new materials.

Tan was honoured after he researched and developed metal-organic framework material and biodegradable nano-silica material and used the materials in environmental and biomedical treatment.

Tan earned a BA in chemistry from the University of Natural Sciences under the Viet Nam National University of HCM City in 2009. The same year, he applied for a training programme of metal-organic framework material run by his university and University of California Los Angles. He participated in the programme in 2010.

“This was a time when I felt tremendous pressure, but I learned a lot of knowledge and experience for my research process,” he said.

The programme was guided by leading experts in the field of metal-organic framework material, with high expectations for fellows, he said.

“At that time, the research on traditional materials are not really a breakthrough, so I wanted to find a new direction of research for myself,” he said.

Research on metal-organic framework material in Viet Nam was very new in 2010, he said.

It was believed to be a research direction very close to the direction of global research at that time and applications from metal-organic framework material were hoped to bring useful things to life, Tan said when he explained why he had researched new materials.

For the first time, he was published in an international scientific publication of metal-organic framework material in 2015 after tireless efforts for five years.

Tan has written 27 scientific articles in prestigious scientific journals so far.

He said his achievements were not only because of his efforts but also the great support from the centre he was working for.

Later, Tan began researching and developing biodegradable nano-silica material to carry and transmit anticancer drugs.

He said, in cancer treatment, when injecting anticancer drugs into the body, apart from cancer cells, the drugs could also affect normal cells, causing the cells to weaken or die, leading to side effects and adversely affecting the patient's health.

Therefore, research on a method to correctly transmit anticancer drugs to cancer cells was always important in cancer treatment, he added.

The biodegradable nano-silica material that Tân and his colleagues developed was like a smart truck delivering anticancer drugs to the right tumour, he said.

After releasing pharmaceutical substances in cancer cells, the nanoparticles would decompose into small pieces and be eliminated from the body after passing through the kidney, he said.

The nanomaterial had been tested on cell and animal models with anticancer drugs. The results showed that the nanomaterial transported the drugs to the targeted cancer cells in a tumour without being spread to normal cells, he said.

Publishing the research results on this issue, however, from research to the application was a long process, requiring the participation of many parties, especially businesses, he said.

As a scientist, he hoped the research results would soon be applied to contribute to effective cancer treatment, he said.

Associate Professor, Phan Bach Thang, director of the centre said Tan always showed his talent and responsibility in both roles of researcher and manager.

Thang said when researching, Tan had made many scientific publications and synthesised a metal-organic framework that had not been identified in the world that Tan named VNU. The new material was thought to have high potential. Recently, Tan successfully studied material carrying and transmitting anticancer drugs.

Tan was assigned to be in charge of researching metal-organic framework materials and he did it very well, Thang added. — VNS

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