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Source: Ruth Welti, 785-532-6241, welti@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Stephanie Jacques, 785-532-0101, sjacques@k-state.edu

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

K-STATE GRADUATE STUDENT IN BIOLOGY WINS SCHOLARSHIP FROM LOCAL ROTARY CLUBS

MANHATTAN -- Hieu Sy "Danny" Vu, a Kansas State University graduate student in biology from Vietnam, has been awarded the Konza and Manhattan Rotary clubs' $500 International Graduate Student Scholarship.

"Danny Vu was chosen because of the caliber of his graduate work to date and his intention to return to Vietnam to collaborate with other returning doctoral recipients to use their expertise to convert the country's biological wealth to benefit humankind," said Rebecca Gould, co-chair of the scholarship committee for the Konza and Manhattan Rotary clubs.

During his sophomore year in the College of Natural Sciences at Vietnam National University, Vu and a group of his friends embarked on a mission to create a natural substance research center in Vietnam. In an effort to increase their knowledge before they develop the center, each dispersed across the globe to gather expertise that will assist them with the project.

The natural substance research center will investigate and indentify potential pharmaceuticals from natural sources. Not only will the center be able to use Vietnam's rich tropical plant life to conduct experiments, Vu and colleagues hope it can increase the country's independence in the pharmaceutical market.

"We also will try to make our intended research center a friendship connection which will contribute to development in science, industry and education in Southeast Asian countries, especially Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia," Vu said.

The Rotary scholarship will help Vu fund his participation in a summer cooperative research project at the University of North Texas where he will be trained in molecular techniques to further his research on the mechanics of plants reactions to stress, such as freezing, insects and bacterial infections.

“The knowledge that Danny gains in his Ph.D. thesis research will be directly applicable to his long-term career plans, which could aid not only the people of Vietnam, but potentially, the world,” said Ruth Welti, Vu's major adviser and a K-State professor of biology.

Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. The International Scholarship program is one way that Rotary International can foster international understanding and friendship, Gould said.