Prof. Nguyen Thanh Liem: Vietnamese scientists can teach abroad hinh anh 1Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem examines the health of a pediatric patient (Photo: Vietnam +)

Hanoi (VNA) - Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem - Director of the Vinmec Genetic Stem Cell &Technology Research Institute, has been voted as one of two Vietnamese scientists by the Asian Journal of Science (Singapore) among typical Asian scientists in 2019 (Asian Scientist 2019).

Throughout his medical career, Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem has left a great mark in the world medical community. He has been performing endoscopic surgery in children since 1997 and has brought Vietnamese endoscopy to children on a par with the most advanced centers in the world. So far, he has contributed 9 new laparoscopic techniques to the world specialized pediatric surgery.

In the introduction of Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem on the website publishing a list of 100 typical Asian scientists 2019, Asian Science Magazine (Asian Scientist) stated: “A leading pediatric endoscopic surgeon, Nguyen was the first in Vietnam to perform a laparoscopic surgery on a child in 1997 and the first to carry out kidney and liver transplantations in Vietnam’s children’s hospitals. Apart from his surgical career, Nguyen is the director of the Vinmec Research Institute of Stem Cell and Gene Technology where he pioneers stem cell therapies for diseases such as cerebral palsy and autism. For his notable medical contributions over the years, Nguyen was awarded the 2018 Nikkei Asia Prize for Science and Technology.”

It is known that in order to be voted on this list, the honorable person must receive national or international awards, at least one important scientific discovery and / or leading an institute/ a research institute.

Having a great passion and well-trained, Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem has conquered and broken many limits in medical research over the years. He was invited to write a chapter on Bile duct cysts for pediatric textbooks for British and American doctors. He is also a rare Vietnamese doctor who is invited to teach and perform surgeries in many countries with developed medicine in the world. Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem is one of the pioneering scientists in stem cell field in Vietnam.

Scientific research like swimming

Professor, you have had a great scientific research career with resounding achievements. You are the author of more than 200 medical and scientific research publications published at home and abroad, including nearly 100 research published in prestigious medical journals of the US and Europe. In addition to passion and perseverance, you must have some "secret"?

Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem: For me, scientific research is like swimming. If you only swim five or seven meters, you don't need to study. You can swim in the water at a time. But if you want to swim further, swim in the big sea, you must be meticulously trained. If you want to do scientific research, you must study it formally through training classes or take self-study seriously.

Prof. Nguyen Thanh Liem: Vietnamese scientists can teach abroad hinh anh 2Prof. Nguyen Thanh Liem in gene research lab (Photo: Vietnam+)

- Besides the method, what are the other important factors that determine the success of a scientific research process?

Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem: Each person's desire to do science depends on his upbringing, the nurturing of inquiry and creativity. However, to stimulate the desire to explore and create, the society in general and organizations in particular have to respect and highly appreciate scientific research.

Only science can make a breakthrough because it can change the lives of millions of people. Therefore, many universities abroad consider scientific research as a mandatory criterion for evaluation. Each doctor must have 1 research project; for 2 years, if a professor doesn't have a scientific paper, he has to go away. The number of published studies is the leading standard for ranking universities in the world.

- Scientific research is a guiding torch, requiring commitment. At Vinmec Genomic Stem Cell and Technology Research Institute, what are your policies for building the next generation and promoting research fire among young scientists?

Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem: I "force" my colleagues to send me a summary every week about something to force them to read. Researchers have to consider reading books as an urgent need, if not reading, they feel anxious and restless.

"Vietnamese people can do science at an international level"

- Professor, you once shared that research is not the thing you are most proud of. So for a person who has dedicated to scientific research, what is more special that can make you proud of?

Professor Nguyen Thanh Liem: What I am proud of is to have demonstrated that Vietnamese people can do science at an international level. Vietnamese people do not have to be guilty, confident that they can only invite foreign experts to teach, but Vietnamese scientists can teach and operate abroad.

What I am proud to be able to provoke the spark of scientific research for young scientists in Vinmec, when you have become accustomed to the spirit of "until you forget to eat, at midnight, pat your pillow". The number of scientific research articles published abroad is still small, but has also begun to exist in the last 1 or 2 years.

I think that the motivation and inspiration can create a basis for Vinmec to do well scientific research and make breakthrough contributions in the future.

- Thank you very much, professor!