L'Oreal Thailand recently announced the five recipients to the L’Oréal Thailand “For Women in Science” Fellowships 2018. Assistant Professor Dr. Surapa Thiemjarus and Dr. Wirulda Pootakham are two of NSTDA outstanding female researchers honored with these prestigious awards in physical sciences and life sciences, respectively.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Surapa Thiemjarus is a researcher at the Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Laboratory, NECTEC-NSTDA. She was awarded for her work on pervasive healthcare system for elderly people and patients. Based on Body Sensor Networks and Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies, a continuous preventative monitoring system developed by her team addresses common health problems faced by older adults, such as bedsores and falls. Instead of relying on routine observation by the caregivers, the miniaturized and intelligent sensors can provide continuous monitoring of the wellbeing and safety of the elderly and patients and raise alarms if any adverse event is detected. Early interventions and preventative care can potentially reduce the mortality and morbidity rate and lead to a significant reduction in care costs for the family or government. To view her work, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gzv1hD1yWe8.
Dr. Wirulda Pootakham, Head of Genomic Research Lab, BIOTEC-NSTDA was recognized for her work to elucidate thermal stress response and assess genetic diversity of corals in Thai waters. She and her team sequenced DNA barcodes (internal transcribed spacer; ITS) from the coral samples collected from various locations in the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea. These DNA barcodes were subsequently used to assess the level of coral genetic diversity. In addition, the differences in gene expression between heat-tolerant and heat-sensitive coral colonies during thermal stress were compared. Basic knowledge obtained from these studies will be valuable in predicting the survival rate of coral reefs in Thai waters as they encounter fluctuating environments in the future. Molecular markers associated with heat tolerance can be used by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources to select heat-tolerant colonies and propagate them for coral reef restoration programs, which is part of a larger sustainable marine ecosystem conservation and restoration effort. To view here work, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/BIOTECNSTDA/videos/549215232189459/.
Other three winners include: Dr. Chanchao Lorthongpanich from Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Asst. Prof. Dr. Varisa Pongrakhananon from Chulalongkorn University and Dr. Chularat Wattanakit from the Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology (VISTEC).
**Photos and news credit: BIOTEC and NECTEC websites.