Tung Thanh Diep

Tung Thanh Diep

Doctor of Philosophy candidate

For his PhD in food science, Tung Thanh Diep is investigating how adding tamarillo can increase the nutritional value of yoghurt.

“Tamarillo is highly nutritious, with bioactive compounds that can improve wellbeing, however in New Zealand tamarillo has mostly been consumed as a fresh fruit. Little research has been done to develop tamarillo-derived foods and the potential of tamarillo extract as a functional ingredient remains largely unexplored.

“My research will provide more information on tamarillo for the export market, food companies, and health and nutrition experts. It will also explore the advantages of developing food products using ingredients derived from this fruit to enhance the product’s nutritional value, and to make consumption of tamarillo easier.”

Tung’s PhD research is supervised by Dr Michelle Yoo from AUT’s School of Science and Emeritus Professor Elaine Rush from AUT’s School of Sport and Recreation.

The right move
Doctoral study was the logical next step in his career, says Tung who came to AUT as an international student from Vietnam, supported by a scholarship from the prestigious Riddet Institute, a Centre of Research Excellence. He is the first student from AUT’s School of Science to receive this scholarship, and says he hopes his success will inspire other AUT students to gain this scholarship in future.

“In Vietnam, I’m a lecturer at Ho Chi Minh City-University of Agriculture and Forestry, and gaining a PhD will help me develop my current career and provide me with the opportunity to learn new techniques, publish research findings and build new professional relationships.

“What attracted me to AUT is that it has been recognised around the world for its high-quality education and as one of the world’s best modern universities. AUT also has high-quality amenities and research facilities for students, as well as a lot of expertise in helping international students succeed in their programmes.”

Expecting to finish his PhD in 2021, Tung already has a good idea what his next step will be.

“After completing my doctoral degree, I plan to continue working as lecturer and researcher in food science and technology, focusing on the development of new products that are fortified with natural bioactive compounds from fruits and vegetables.”

The perfect environment
AUT offers the perfect environment for his doctoral studies, Tung says.

“I enjoy the diversity of the people here and the friendly environment. The academic staff and technicians at AUT have immense knowledge in their fields, especially my supervisors.”

Tung says he would highly recommend AUT’s postgraduate science programmes to other students. In fact, he already has.

“One of my undergraduate students from Vietnam is now studying a master’s degree in food science at AUT, also supervised by Dr Michelle Yoo. When she decided to study a master’s degree, she asked me about a few different universities, and I recommended AUT.”

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