Japan honors Vietnamese scientist for animal husbandry breakthrough

By An Nguyen   November 27, 2019 | 04:55 pm PT
Japan honors Vietnamese scientist for animal husbandry breakthrough
Vietnam’s ambassador to Japan, Vu Hong Nam, awards Mai Thi Ngan (R) in Ibaraki, Japan. Photo by Vietnam News Agency.
Veterinary medicine student Mai Thi Ngan has received the Japan Award for developing a simple, effective diagnostic test for diarrhea virus in pigs.

Ngan was given the 2019 Japan International Award for Young Agriculture Researchers at a Tuesday ceremony held in Ibaraki prefecture, northeast of Tokyo.

The award, also called the Japan Award, is conferred by Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Ngan has successfully developed a simple, accurate, and economical diagnostic test and pooled testing system for detection of the virus that causes diarrhea epidemics in pigs.

She said her motivation for the research was the fact that it was very difficult to control epidemics among cattle and poultry in Vietnam due to the lack of awareness and response capabilities among farmers.

Initially, she chose the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) method to make copies of a specific DNA segment. However, the cost of doing this was really high. So she turned to a more economical method which is isothermal DNA amplification.

"This method is simple, economical, and highly practical. It can be used to diagnose a wide range of diseases on cattle and poultry caused by viruses or bacteria," Ngan said.

Ngan is currently a PhD student in Veterinary Medicine at Japan’s Miyazaki University. After finishing the program, she wishes to return to Vietnam and put her research findings to practical use and conduct other research projects.

The other two winners of this year Japan Award are Colombian Doctor Jacobo Arango Mejia for his research on tropical forage grasses to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change and Indian Doctor Rebejith Kayattukandy Balan for his research on molecular approaches in identification, diversity and management of important insect pests in India.

Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers was established in 2007 with a view to motivating young researchers to contribute to research and development in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and related industries in developing countries. Three winners are selected each year by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council.

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