L'Oréal announces four Thai female researchers awarded the 'For Women in Science' grant for 2023
Empowering women to address environmental and sustainability challenges
Bangkok, November 16, 2023 – L'Oréal Group in Thailand underscores the crucial role of female researchers in the scientific community. For the 21st consecutive year, L'Oréal reaffirms its commitment to supporting research by announcing the names of four exceptional female researchers awarded grants from the "For Women in Science" fellowship program for 2023. Each recipient is honored with 250,000 Baht for their remarkable contributions to society in the fields of environmental and sustainability research. L'Oréal remains steadfast in its dedication to research support and the recognition of women's achievements in the scientific domain, with a focus on fostering high-quality research that generates societal benefits, both locally in Thailand and globally.
Mr. Patrick Girod, CEO of L’Oréal Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, expressed, "As a global leader in the beauty industry, L'Oréal has consistently prioritized scientific research and acknowledged the immense potential of female scientists. We firmly believe that the world needs science, and science needs women. Globally, only 33% of researchers are women, with a limited number receiving due recognition for their contributions . Thailand stands out with a positive trend, witnessing a notable surge in high-quality research outputs driven by a dedication to societal betterment. Furthermore, concerted efforts from both the public and private sectors are elevating the role of female researchers in the field of science. L'Oréal Group in Thailand takes great pride in contributing to the advancement of gender equality within the scientific community, aligning with critical concerns such as environmental sustainability. We remain unwavering in our commitment to supporting Thai female researchers and expanding opportunities for women in this field. This platform recognizes the outstanding contributions of Thai female researchers and reaffirms that their potential and capabilities are truly exceptional."
Four fellowships were awarded to altogether four female researchers from four institutions, spanning two distinct fields of study.
In Life Sciences:
1. Dr. Piyachat Chuysinuan from Chulabhorn Research Institute for her remarkable work titled "Development of Injectable Alginate/Hydroxyapatite/Silk Fibroin Composite Hydrogels for Dental Tissue Engineering”.
2. Dr. Suyanee Thongchot from the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, recognized for her outstanding research on "Anti-Folate Receptor Alpha-Chimeric Antigen Receptor (Gen 5.3 Anti-FRa-CAR) T Cells Secreting NECTIN2 Enhances Autophagy Against 3D Triple Negative Breast Cancer Patient-Derived Organoids”.
In Physical Sciences:
1. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pornnapa Kasemsiri from the Faculty of Engineering, Khon Kaen University, for her inspiring work titled “Bioactive Injectable Hydrogels Based on Modified Starch Waste for Biomedical Applications”.
2. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Theeranun Siritanon from the Institute of Science, Suranaree University of Technology, recognized for her distinctive study entitled “Design and Development of Photocatalysts for Environmental Applications”.
Dr. Piyachat Chuysinuan, a researcher at the Organic Chemistry Synthesis Laboratory at Chulabhorn Research Institute and a grant recipient in the field of Life Sciences, shared, "In Thailand, various groups of patients face tooth loss issues, including those with gum diseases, accident survivors, and elderly individuals with deteriorated jawbones due to aging. Dental implantation, a widely adopted treatment, often requires bone grafting when patients have inadequate jawbone structure to support the dental implant. However, this involves the use of expensive imported materials, making treatment inaccessible for many. In response, our research team has collaboratively developed a novel medical material for dental tissue engineering in the form of injectable hydrogels. Composed of Alginate, Hydroxyapatite, and Silk Fibroin, this material boasts favorable physical and biological properties. It is biocompatible, stimulates bone growth, and can be produced from readily available natural resources within the country, such as eggshells and silk cocoon remnants. This research innovation signifies progress in dental materials, creating value from overlooked resources while championing environmental sustainability. Importantly, it has the potential to provide more accessible jawbone implantation treatments, enhancing patients' quality of life in a sustainable manner."
Dr. Suyanee Thongchot, a researcher at Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, and a grant recipient in the field of Life Sciences, stated, “Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) is known to be more aggressive and challenging to treat compared to other forms of breast cancer. This research proposes the use of a treatment method called chimeric antigen receptor or CAR T-cells. In this treatment, cancer patients’ white blood cells, which are often limited in quantity and not robust, are extracted in order to be modified or stimulated using genetic engineering techniques in a laboratory. The modified white blood cells are then reintroduced into the patient's body to efficiently target and eradicate cancer cells. These immune cells essentially function as "living drugs," working to eliminate cancerous cells. The research team explored enhancing the antibody secretion targeting the NECTIN2 protein – an immune checkpoint molecule – in order to enhance CAR T-cells that specifically target the folate receptor alpha protein (called CAR T-cells gen 5.3). Initial results have been promising when compared to CAR T-cells gen 4. Currently, evidence suggests that treating cancer patients with CAR T-cells yields favorable outcomes with minimal side effects. In the future, CAR T-cell therapy may become a viable option for patients dealing with the TNBC type, offering a safe approach as it utilizes the patient's own immune cells. Furthermore, this research has uncovered new insights, including predictive biomarkers, to advance the development of CAR T-cells, which can be used in conjunction with immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) medications. It will provide a range of data, such as autophagy pathways, paving the way for innovative medical advancements in TNBC treatment, yielding even more promising results.”
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pornnapa Kasemsiri, a researcher at the Faculty of Engineering, Khon Kaen University, and a grant recipient in the field of Physical Sciences, detailed, "Hydrogel has gained considerable interest as a wound dressing material due to its exceptional properties, including tissue compatibility, moisture retention, and mechanical strength. However, its use in injectable form has certain limitations. Ongoing research is focused on formulating injectable hydrogels as drug carriers to specific organs, potentially offering an alternative to some surgical procedures. Integration of nanomaterials in the development of injectable hydrogels has attracted attention due to its effectiveness against bacteria and potential to enhance hydrogel strength. Our research team identified Cassava Starch Waste (CSW) as a promising starting material for biomedical applications. We have developed bioactive injectable hydrogels from modified CSW and dialdehyde starch (DAS) in conjugation with gelatin. CSW is an affordable agricultural by-product, making this research instrumental in creating low-cost hydrogels, thus increasing treatment accessibility for patients."
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Theeranun Siritanon, a researcher from the Institute of Science at Suranaree University of Technology, and a grant recipient in the field of Physical Sciences, stated, "Environmental challenges and water source pollution are pressing issues, especially for a country like Thailand, where a significant portion of the population relies on water sources for their livelihoods. While water treatment sometimes requires complex equipment and energy, photocatalysts have the potential to break down various organic compounds using sunlight. However, their commercial use is limited due to efficiency constraints. To address this, our research team has focused on developing efficient photocatalysts using different strategies. We have successfully created photocatalysts tailored for various systems and reactions. For instance, we have improved the efficiency of Bi2WO6 in degrading Rhodamine B dye and enhanced the capacity of BiOCl thin films to reduce NOx pollutants in the air. Additionally, we have increased the efficiency of the Bi2O2CO3 photocatalyst in reducing antibiotic contaminants in water through strategic doping and composite approaches. These highly efficient photocatalysts hold the potential to provide effective solutions for degrading various organic substances, including pharmaceuticals, insecticides, and dyes. Furthermore, highly efficient photocatalysts can be used to separate water into hydrogen gas, a transformative technology that contributes to the sustainable coexistence of humans and nature."
The L'Oréal "For Women in Science" fellowship program was initiated in 1997 by the L'Oréal Foundation in collaboration with UNESCO. Each year, the program supports more than 250 emerging female researchers on both national and global scales, recognizing and awarding the achievements of more than 100 female laureates worldwide, seven of whom have gone on to win Nobel Prizes. In Thailand, the L'Oréal "For Women in Science" fellowship program grants 250,000 Baht to female researchers under the age of 40 in two fields: life sciences and physical sciences. L'Oréal Group in Thailand has been implementing this program for 21 years and has supported a total of 84 Thai female researchers from 20 different institutions.