Dengue outbreak forecasting tool takes IT graduate to Oxford University

Dengue outbreak forecasting tool takes IT graduate to Oxford University

Graduating top of his class, Huynh Ngoc Tuyen is also the very first RMIT Vietnam Bachelor of Information Technology graduate to receive an offer to do a DPhil in Clinical Medicine with Oxford University for his exceptional technical qualities as well as project leading skills and scientific understanding.

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'news-1-sset-graduate-huynh-ngoc-tuyen' RMIT Bachelor of Information Technology graduate Huynh Ngoc Tuyen

Being a shy and reserved kid, during high school Tuyen never reached out nor made himself visible to others.

“And that greatly hindered me from reaching my potential,” he said.

So, upon starting university at RMIT, Tuyen promised himself this would change.

The highlight of his first year was building a capstone-level project, a programmable LED board, which now marks the entrance to the School of Science, Engineering & Technology office.

“The project is a showcase of IT students' talent and creativity,” Tuyen said, “This helps bring a new perspective to our IT program, as it's not just coding but also creating products and exploring other opportunities.”

The newfound confidence reinforced Tuyen’s belief that he could contribute more to a broader community outside of RMIT.

Tuyen joined the non-profit organisation Fight For Dreams and used his technical knowledge to build a website that showcases information about the organisation.

“I helped raise money for high school students from low-income families in Tien Giang province through the website,” Tuyen proudly shared. “This money helped more than 100 students to continue their high school education, and funded trips and events.”

In his final year, Tuyen focused on a capstone project entitled “Dengue Advanced Readiness Tools” (DART), an integrated digital system for dengue outbreak prediction and monitoring, in collaboration with Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU). His outstanding performance not only brought Tuyen a position as a junior research fellow at OUCRU but the DPhil in Clinical Medicine with Oxford University.

Dr Marc Choisy, Head of Mathematical Modelling Centre for Tropical Medicine at OUCRU who then became Tuyen’s supervisor, was astonished with his exceptional technical qualities.

“In my 20 years of student’s supervision, I have never seen anyone learning R [a programming language] that fast, not only the language itself and its subtleties, but also the whole philosophy of working with R,” Dr Choisy said. 

“It is impressive too that by the end of the capstone project, Tuyen had already made a first version of an R package from all the tools he developed for the project. Porting the developed pipeline to cloud services such as those offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) also brought its lot of technical challenges that Tuyen managed to address with quite some dexterity.”

Dr Choisy praised Tuyen for his humility: “Tuyen is the youngest staff of OUCRU, an organisation of 350, but exceptionally mature for his age, and at the same time very modest and very kind to others in my group and in OUCRU”.

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'news-2-sset-graduate-huynh-ngoc-tuyen' RMIT School of Science, Engineering & Technology Senior Lecturer Dr Dinh Ngoc Minh (pictured right) and Huynh Ngoc Tuyen

Dr Dinh Ngoc Minh, RMIT School of Science, Engineering & Technology lecturer who directly supervised Tuyen with his capstone project, said that Tuyen is a student who plays his curiosity to his strength, constantly learns about new technologies to approach problems and tries out creative solutions.

“Different from other capstones projects at our school, the project that Tuyen and his team undertook involved senior scientists and doctors in a clinical setting and required advanced scientific computing skills such as computational modelling and statistics,” Dr Minh said.

“Tuyen took the opportunity and learned new analytics skills, demonstrated his capacity as an accomplished data scientist.

“Impressed with his performance, OUCRU offered Tuyen a position where he aims to pursue a further career in academia and research.”

Those transformative experience helped Tuyen to realise his aspiration and the direction he wants to pursue.

“Reflecting on my journey, I realised I could create sizable impacts on society with my knowledge acquired during my study at RMIT and passion for technology,” Tuyen said. “In addition, I also matured fully and reached my highest potential which helps create endless opportunities for me to contribute to any community that I am in.”

“I hope that my journey can inspire other shy and reserved students to know that they can still be their introverted selves while still being able to reach their potential and be successful. Just like how I always approach new things with the quote ‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars’.”

Tuyen was among 1,957 graduates of RMIT Class of 2023 who proudly graduated in five ceremonies during the week of 17-21 April at the RMIT Saigon South campus and the National Convention Center in Hanoi.

Story: Ha Hoang

26 April 2023


  • Graduation
  • Technology
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