History of BME Vietnam

Vietnam National Universities in Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam National Universities in Ho Chi Minh City (VNU-HCM) is one of the two leading university networks in Vietnam. It reports directly to the Prime Minister of the country. It was established in 1995 by grouping the elite public universities in the city which have a long tradition and great reputation, and by creating new university members which carry special missions. VNU-HCM has more than 4,300 staff (including 2,400 teaching staff), and 51,000 full-time undergraduate, 5,900 MS and 420 PhD students.

International University of VNU-HCM
International University (IU) of VNU-HCM was established in 2003 to be a platform to promote the reform of higher education in Vietnam. It is the first public university that teaches all courses in English. It has extensive collaborations with many universities in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. At IU there are almost 7,000 students, 300 faculty and more than 100 staff. The degrees offered include Biomedical Engineering, Biotechnology, Business Administration & Banking Finance, Computer Science & Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Industrial System Engineering Management.

Biomedical Engineering Department of IU
The Biomedical Engineering Department (BME) at IU was established in 2009. It is the first in the country that offers the accredited degree of Engineer in Biomedical Engineering (an equivalent of the BS BME in the U.S.)www.hcmiu.edu.vn/bme. We promote the close relationship between Education, Research and Entrepreneurship. Our motto is High Quality, Sustainability and Usefulness. Our Department has, currently, more than 100 undergraduate students and 11 faculty and staff. For two successive years (2010 and 2011) the laureate winners of the Entrance Exam Competition to IUjoined BME program.

The Department current research activities concentrate on the Design and Applications of Medical Devices to satisfy the urgent need of the country. We focus on the development of telemedicine homecare devices to serve a large number of people including those in the remote areas where the healthcare are not regularly reached. Because the market demand is high and the requirements in technology and investment are relatively low, we strive to rapidly transfer this knowhow to local investors who may start small enterprises of medical devices to satisfy the national market and export these products to the developing countries. In the more fundamental research topics we are using the method of the functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) to investigate the hemodynamic activities of the brain and tissues with applications in Brain-Computer Interface, Sleep study and Biomechanics. In the longer term, we aim toward the development of other BME sub-fields such as Clinical Engineering, Hospital Management, E-Healthcare, Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery and Regenerative Medicine to contribute to the globalization trend.

Professor Vo Van Toi, Chair of the BME Department

Professor Vo Van Toi, Chair of the BME Department, obtained his Ph.D in Micro-Engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology – Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland in 1983. From 1983-1984 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Health Science and Technology Division (HST), a joint program between Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA.

From 1984 to 2009 he was a faculty of the School of Engineering at Tufts University. During that period of time, he achieved different important tasks. He was co-director of the joint programs between the School of Engineering and School of Medicine, and between the School of Engineering and School of Dental Medicine. He directed his students to build the first solar car for Tufts University named: “Sun On The Hill”. This car participated in the Second Annual Solar Vehicle racing competition: “The 1990 American Tour De Sol” and placed third out of 6 cars, behind only two commercial cars.

From 1991 to 1992 he was on sabbatical from Tufts to be a Research Professor at the Scheie Eye Research Institute of University of Pennsylvania (USA) that led him to help create the Eye Research Institute in Sion (Switzerland).

From 1992 to 1994 he was the Vice-Director of that institution. He was instrumental in establishing the BME Department at Tufts University in 2003. From 2004 to 2007 he was appointed by President G. Bush to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF). VEF is a U.S. federal agency established by the U.S. Congress to bring the U.S. and Vietnam closer through educational exchanges related to science, engineering, mathematics, medicine, and technology.

From 2007 to 2009 he was on leave from Tufts to be the Executive Director of VEF. During his tenure at this institution, he established a program called: “All the Ways Home” to facilitate the dialogue between VEF fellows and leadership of the Vietnamese universities. This initiative allows both sides understand their mutual interests so that the returnees are able to excel their expertise in an appropriate academic environment.

In 2009 he resigned from VEF and took an early retirement from Tufts to go back to Vietnam to establish and chair the BME Department at IU. His research interests include: Design and Applications of Medical Devices, Mechanism of Human Visual System, Ophthalmology, and Telemedicine. His effort of helping Vietnam was mentioned in the American Society for Engineering Education publication (Beckoned Homeward, ASEE Prism, Jan 2010 issue).

While a professor at Tufts, Professor Vo developed an extensive professional relationship with Vietnam since 1992 (http://www.cs.tufts.edu/~vanvo/VN). In January 2004, under the sponsorship of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Professor Vo led a delegation of BME professors from several American universities to conduct a fact finding visit to Vietnam to determine its potential for the development in BME.The delegation proposed a 5-year plan to help Vietnam to develop the BME. The details of this visit are presented in the following website: Development of BME in Vietnam.

Within this framework, in July 2005, the First International Conference on the Development of Biomedical Engineering in Vietnam was held in Ho Chi Minh City with the funding of NSF and Vietnam National Universities Ho Chi Minh City. From that conference a Consortium of Vietnam- International Universities was created to advise and assist the development of Biomedical Engineering in Vietnamese universities.

In July 2007, the Second International Conference on the Development of Biomedical Engineering in Vietnam was held in Hanoi. During this event, the Vietnamese Association of Biomedical Science and Engineering was endorsed by the Asia-Pacific International Molecular Biology Network (AIMBN), Biomedical Engineering Society Singapore (BESS), International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE), Société Française de Génie Biologique et Médical (SFGBM) and IFMBE Asia-Pacific Working Group.

In January 2010, the Third International Conference on the Development of Biomedical Engineering in Vietnam was organized by IU in Ho Chi Minh City http://csc.hcmiu.edu.vn/BME2010/. It reflected the steady growth of the activities in this field in Vietnam, and featured the contributions of researchers of 21 countries, including: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. The Conference was endorsed by the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE). It also hosted the Clinical Engineering Workshop of the IFMBE Asia Pacific Working Group. The contributed papers were published in the IFMBE Proceedings Series by Springer vol. 27 (ISBN 978-3-642-12019-0).

In January 2012 Professor Vo organized the Fourth International Conference on BME in Ho Chi Minh City http://csc.hcmiu.edu.vn/BME2010/. This was in fact a mega-conference regrouping 3 conferences. It is kicked off by the Regenerative Medicine Conference (Jan 8-10, 2012) with the theme “BUILDING A FACE” USING A REGENERATIVE MEDICINE APPROACH”, endorsed mainly by the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) and co-organized by Professor Stephen E. Feinberg, University of Michigan Health System, USA, Professor Anh Le, University of Southern California, USA and Professor Vo Van Toi, International University-VNU HCM, Vietnam. It is followed by the Computational Medicine Conference, endorsed mainly by the Computational Surgery International Network (COSINE) and the Computational Molecular Medicine of German National Funding Agency; and the General Biomedical Engineering Conference, endorsed mainly by the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE) (Jan 10-12) and co-organized by Professor Paolo Carloni, German Research School for Simulation Sciences GmbH, Germany, Professor Marc Garbey, University of Houston, USA and Professor Vo Van Toi, International University-VNU HCM, Vietnam. It featured the contributions of 435 scientists from 30 countries, including: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Russian Federation, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Viet Nam. Some abstracts were published in the journal Oral and Craniofacial Tissue Engineering by Quintessence Publishing. The whole proceedings were published in IFMBE Proceedings Series by Springer (ISBN: 978-3-642-32183-2).