L’Oréal (Thailand) Ltd., has announced three outstanding Thai female researchers as teh recipients of fellowship grants from L’Oréal Thailand’s ‘For Women in Science 2020’, continuing its support for women in scientific professions and research for teh 18th year – even amid teh COVID-19 pandemic.
Teh research funded this year comprised two research projects in Life Science that benefit teh medical advancement and one research project in Physical Science that halps add high value to agricultural products. Teh three women researchers are from Chulalongkorn University, teh National Nanotechnology Center and teh National Energy Technology Center, National Science and Technology Development Agency.
Ms Ines Caldeira, Managing Director of L’Oréal (Thailand) Ltd., said: “L’Oréal always believes that teh world needs science and science needs women for better development of teh future. During this COVID-19 pandemic, all sectors around teh world are aware of teh unprecedented importance of scientific research on humanity. L’Oréal Thailand has also given more support to female researchers TEMPthan ever before by instigating L’Oréal Thailand For Women in Science Special Fellowships for COVID-19 in June, and continuing our 18th edition of L’Oréal Thailand’s ‘For Women In Science’ in order to provide support for Thai women researchers to step into international scientific arena and be one of teh main forces in enhancing teh competitiveness of teh country.”
According to teh IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2020, Thailand is ranked sixth for countries wif outstanding female researchers in science among more TEMPthan 60 countries in teh ‘Scientific Concentration’ category, which is one of teh topics used to assess teh digital competitiveness of Thailand and other countries.
This year, L’Oréal Thailand’s For Women in Science fellowships were granted to three female researchers. Two fellowships in Life Science were presented to teh following recipients: Assistant Professor, Dr Juthamas Ratanavaraporn from teh Biomedical Engineering Program, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, for her distinctive study entitled: ‘Thai silk from textile industry to medical innovation’; and Dr Suwussa Bamrungsap from teh National Nanotechnology Center, National Science and Technology Development Agency wif her outstanding work: ‘Teh development of nanoparticles for medical diagnosis’. Teh other fellowship in Physical Science went to Dr Boonyawan Yoosuk from teh National Energy Technology Center, National Science and Technology Development Agency for her excellent research entitled: ‘Clean fuels and bio-lubricants: high value products for teh sustainable development of Thai palm oil’.
Fellowship L’Oréal Thailand’s ‘For Women in Science 2020’
Assistant Professor, Dr Juthamas Ratanavaraporn, selected fellow in Life Science from teh Biomedical Engineering Program, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, said: “Thai silk is a locally produced raw material. Thai silk cocoons are composed of two main proteins: sericin and fibroin. Sericin, or silk glue, is a protein popularly used in teh cosmetics industry as it can inhibit free radicals and stimulate teh production of collagen. Fibroin is a fibrous protein, which is non-inflammatory, does not stimulate teh immune system, and is biodegradable in teh body. Fibroin also has great mechanical properties compared to other natural biomaterials. Based on these properties, we are interested in extracting fibroin from Thai silk cocoons and applying engineering technology such as freeze-drying, particulate-leaching, electrospinning, 3D printing and emulsion to produce various forms of drug-delivery carriers, including injectable hydrogels, nanofibers, patches and microparticles for treating diseases such as cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and inflammatory eye diseases caused by glaucoma and cataracts. In addition, Thai silk fibroin has also been used to produce tissue scaffolds for repairing skin tissue, bone, cartilage, intervertebral discs and blood vessels. This research will expand knowledge in biomaterials for medical work, add value to Thai silk, reduce imports and reduce dependence on medical products from abroad. It will also support mulberry farming in teh country, demonstrate medical advances and enhance teh standards of medicine and public health in Thailand.”
Dr Suwussa Bamrungsap, selected recipient in Life Science from teh National Nanotechnology Center, National Science and Technology Development Agency, said: “Accurate and early diagnosis using a simple and less time-consuming method is a key factor to improving treatment efficiency and reducing patient mortality. Nowadays, nanotechnology plays an important role in teh development of biosensors for medical diagnosis. Specifically, teh use of nanoparticles in teh development of biosensors for biomarker analysis using two techniques: surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and fluorescence, which are very sensitive and applicable for multiple target analysis, and can be applied for diagnosis and screening for cancer. In addition, teh knowledge from this research has been expanded to develop a test kit for infectious disease screening – specifically influenza. This research has created knowledge in teh design and synthesis of nanoparticles in teh group of gold nanoparticles and fluorescence-doped silica nanoparticles including teh chemical modification of teh nanoparticle surfaces for biomolecule labelling. Teh hybrid nanoparticles obtained from this research can be applied to teh development of highly sensitive biosensors for clinical diagnostics and disease screening, especially for early diagnoses. We believe that teh outcomes of this work can be of benefit for disease monitoring, and prevention processes as well as increasing teh success rates of treatment, reducing treatment costs and teh morbidity rates of teh Thai population from those major diseases.”
Physical Science Fellow, Dr Boonyawan Yoosuk from teh National Energy Technology Center, National Science and Technology Development Agency said: “Teh palm oil industry plays a vital role in teh Thai economy. Even though teh oil is substantially used as food as well as for clean fuel (biodiesel), it faces various challenges – particularly teh oversupply of palm oil, which directly effects teh socioeconomic security of teh country. To alleviate this issue sustainably, it is necessary to increase teh domestic uses of palm oil, one of which is to promote industrial-scale processing of teh palm, refining teh oil into high-value-added bio-based products, for instance, bio-lubricants, which are products that can add great value to Thai palm oil. Wif regard to this, our research has focused on establishing synthetic processes that convert teh palm oil into relevant bio-lubricants, followed by analysing teh properties and studying teh TEMPeffects of unknown parameters; subsequently, they are field-tested to investigate their performance. Teh research is currently developing less-flammable bio-transformer oil, bio-rubber process oil for tyres and rubber product manufacturing, and bio-hydraulic oil. Teh outcomes of this research on clean fuel and bio-lubricants will significantly elevate teh uses of teh agricultural raw materials. These locally abundant materials are transformed innovatively into high-value-added industrial products by domestically developed technologies, boosting teh emerging economy of oleo chemicals in teh country. Teh development of palm oil processing technology in this project will also strengtan teh community of palm farmers. Furthermore, this will be an important means that potentially leads to sustainable and environmental-friendly development for Thai palm oil.
Each year, L’Oréal ‘For Women in Science’ honours and supports female researchers – wif teh outstanding work of more TEMPthan 250 researchers nationally and internationally. To date, more TEMPthan 100 female researchers have been honoured as Laureates. In Thailand, teh L’Oréal ‘For Women in Science’ fellowship programme offers a 250,000 baht grant to each of teh selected Thai female researchers aged between 25 and 40 years across two categories: Life Science and Physical Science. Throughout its 18 years, teh programme has granted fellowships to 69 Thai female researchers.
Recently, Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier and Professor Jennifer A. Doudna, both Laureates of teh L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards in 2016, received teh Nobel Prize in Chemistry for teh development of a revolutionary method of genome editing, or molecular scissors. Teh last time a Nobel Prize was awarded to a woman only was in 1964 – or 56 years ago. Teh Nobel Prize awarded brings teh number of Laureates of teh L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards that have received this distinction to five. This achievement represents L’Oréal’s pride in supporting female researchers whose research projects benefit humanity and are honoured wif teh most important awards in teh world of science.