The number of women involved in science and technology is on the rise especially in developing countries such Thailand.  Thanks to institutions such as L’Oreal Thailand and the Thai National Commission for UNESCO for giving recognition and supporting the advancement of women in science and to encourage women to continue careers in

scientific fields.  The annual “L’OREAL-UNESCO for Women in Science” fellowship is awarded to women working in doctoral and post-doctoral research who have already distinguished themselves in the life sciences.

Dr. Saengchan Senapin, BIOTEC Researcher from the Center of Excellence for Shrimp Molecular Biology and Biotechnology or Centex Shrimp, is named a recipient of the L’OREAL Thailand-UNESCO for Women in Science 2011 fellowship for her research on the “Study of shrimp molecular biology using yeast two-hybrid technique.”  Her research group interests are driven by current needs of the shrimp industry which is very economically important for Thailand.  Her study focuses on protein interaction studies using yeast two-hybrid assays to reveal the binding between Taura syndrome virus (TSV) and Laminin receptor (Lamr) protein in shrimp.  This study will be used as an essential model to help controlling diseases and enable shrimp farming and other aquaculture cultivation to become a sustainable enterprise with minimum environmental impact.

Dr. Saengchan is the 7th BIOTEC researcher winning this prestigious award, following Dr. Ubolsree Leartsakulpanich, Mrs. Wansika Kiatpathomchai, Dr. Lily Eurwilaichitr, Dr. Kallaya Dangtip, Dr. Kobkul Laoteng, Dr. Nitsara Karoonuthaisiri who were honored in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively.  In addition, Dr. Chawanee Thongpanchang, was named UNESCO-L'ORÉAL International Fellow in 2007.

The main objective of my research is to study encapsulation technology to assist in controlling release characteristics, retention, and enhanced stability against heat, moisture and light of bioactive compounds” said Dr. Uracha Ruktanonchai from NANOTEC a recipients of the fellowship.  Her research is “Development of Encapsulation technology based on lipid nano carriers for bio applications”

“Effective encapsulation technology can help not only to save costs but also to provide better product performance.  This research mainly focuses on materials and resources available in Thailand such as herbs, essential oils and proteins.  Successful examples of  this research are nanoemulsion-based cream and chilli pads for arthritis patients, nanoemulsion for mosquito repellent, nanoparticle based on sugarcane bagasse, which can be beneficial not only to pharmaceutical , but also to food and agriculture industries by providing better efficacy, quality and safety for consumers.  I hope my research can be of wide-reaching benefit, especially for Thai industrial sectors.  I would like my works to be an inspiration for young generation to have an interest in sciences; this would be my contribution to society”. Dr. Uracha said

The ‘For Women in Science’ fellowship programme is a collaboration between L’Oréal Thailand and the Secretariat of the National Commission for UNESCO. The fellowship programme was established in Thailand in 2002, offering four fellowships per year (two Material Science and two Life Science), valued at Baht 200,000 per fellowship for female scientists and researchers aged between 25-40 years.

This year, the “L’OREAL Thailand-UNESCO for Women in Science 2011” fellowship will recognize and support the following female scientists and their work:
Material Science category
•    Dr. Uracha Rungsardthong Ruktanonchai, NanoDelivery System Laboratory, National Nanotechnology Center, NANOTEC for her contribution to “Development of Encapsulation technology based on lipid nano carriers for bio applications” 

•    Assistant Professor Dr  Hathaikarn Manuspiya from the Petroleum and Petrochemical College, Chulalongkorn University for her study on the “Development of Mesoporous Materials for entrapping heavy metals and gases in packaging for a better quality of food and water” 

Life Science category
•    Dr Saengchan Senapin National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) for her research on the “Study of shrimp molecular biology using yeast two-hybrid technique.” 

•    Dr Natini Jinawath from the Research Center, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University for her study in “Genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array as a clinical diagnostic tool for unexplained developmental disabilities and congenital anomalies”