2019 BioGENEius Hall of Fame Awardee

Michael Tran Duong
Student, Perelman School of Medicine and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences,
University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Michael Duong is a medical student and science advocate at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. His aim is to be a physician, scientist and educator at the forefront of improving diagnosis and management of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Given that one in three Americans over 75 are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, my long-term goal is to catalyze a paradigm shift in how we diagnose and treat neurodegenerative disease.  His current research focuses on applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve diagnosis of brain diseases and harnessing non-invasive neuroimaging biomarkers to demystify dementia progression.  Michael hopes to streamline diagnosis and provide a platform for healthcare providers and the biotech industry to improve communication and discovery.

Michael began his interest in science in his childhood, creating his own "basement laboratory" complete with incubators and centrifuges!  Luckily (and with his parents' blessing no doubt), he was able to "upgrade" the ability to pursue his scientific explorations in high school with a student internship at Kibow Biotech.  His passion for science led him to years of independent research and science fairs, culminating in the 2014 and 2015 International BioGENEius Challenge, the 2017 Goldwater Scholarship in Life Sciences and the 2019 Marc S. Levine Radiology Research Prize.  Michael has additionally received honors from the US Surgeon General, House of Representatives, Departments of Education and Agriculture and National Merit/AP scholarships.

As a Vietnamese American, son of refugees, and family caregiver, Michael is shaped by ancestral, cultural, and religious heritage. From listening to the story of his mother’s harrowing trip across the South China Sea on a wooden boat, he learned gratitude and perseverance. From caring for his grandfather with dementia, he learned compassion and patience. Michael applies these lessons of humanity and peace to his approach to molecular and computational neuroscience. By investigating Alzheimer’s disease progression in different populations, he hopes to develop tools and treatments to empower personalized care for patients.  As dementia prevalence is rising substantially in developing nations like Vietnam, Michael realizes that biomedical science must be diverse and provide precision management and treatments that are unique for each population and person. Leveraging heritage and life lessons, Michael embraces the love of and duty to his ancestors to help cognitively impaired patients and their families.

Michael Duong exemplifies all that we at the Institute hope for all in our BioGENEius  family so it is with great pleasure that we recognize him as the 2019 BioGENEius Hall of Fame Awardee