News Year 2013

Thailand organized the ASEAN Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Grand Challenges Initiative Meeting on 13 December 2013 in Bangkok. Attending the meeting are representatives from ASEAN COST Focal Points, SCIRD Focal Points, Representatives from ASEAN Secretariat, and representatives from Grand Challenges Canada.

Identification of good metaphase spreads is an important step in chromosome analysis for identifying individuals with genetic disorders. The process of finding suitable metaphase chromosomes for accurate clinical analysis is, however, very time consuming since they are selected manually. The selection of suitable metaphase chromosome spreads thus represents a major bottleneck for conventional cytogenetic analysis.

Palm oil is now the largest source of edible oil in the world, and cultivation of oil palm has expanded enormously in recent years, with worldwide yearly increases in demand being driven by dietary and biofuel applications. Oil palm cultivation in Thailand faced with problems of quality seedlings that can provide high yield and be grown in northern and northeastern regions, where rainfall is relatively limited. Crop improvement of oil palm is proved to be challenging, as it is a perennial crop species with a long breeding cycle.

Dr. Bunpote Siridechadilok, BIOTEC researcher at Medical Biotechnology Research Unit, a joint lab between BIOTEC and the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University won a 100,000 Canadian dollars research grant from Grand Challenges Canada, Stars in Global Health Program to develop a new technology to speed up the search for dengue vaccine candidates.

Congratulations to Teerapong  Yata (PhD candidate) who was awarded the 1st Prize winner of the Educational award for excellence in Medical Science 2013. This annual award is for Thai student in the final stage of PhD research in UK who has a record of outstanding performance and exceptional academic achievements during the time of study here. The award ceremony was organized by the Anglo-Thai Society at the Oriental club in London, UK on 20 November.

BIOTEC and Asia Star Animal Health Co., Ltd. (ASAH) signed a licensing agreement to facilitate the transfer of feed enzyme technology developed by Bioresources Technology Unit to the company for commercial production. The technology, derived from a collaborative research between BIOTEC and ASAH, includes the new fungal strain, Aspergillus sp., which was screened from BIOTEC Culture Collection and the solid state fermentation technique for enzyme production.

Ms. Wansika Kiatpathomchai, BIOTEC researcher, based at Center of Excellence for Shrimp Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, was awarded Taguchi Prize for Outstanding Research Achievement in Biotechnology 2013 and Assoc. Prof. Apichart Vanavichit, Director of Rice Gene Discovery Unit, was the recipient to the Ajinomoto Lecture Award 2013. Both awards were announced at the 25th Annual Meeting of the Thai Society for Biotechnology and International Conference 2013 (TSB 2013) on 17 October 2013.

Dr. Somvong Tragoonrung, Director of Genome Institute, BIOTEC, and staff from DNA Technology Laboratory and Genome Institute were honored with the 2013 Outstanding Technologist Award, presented by the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under the Patronage of His Majesty the King. He was recognized for his

Dr. Phanramphoei Namprachan Frantz, BIOTEC researcher of Virology and Cell Technology Laboratory, won the EURAXESS Science Slam ASEAN 2013, a competition for researcher to showcase their research projects to their peers and the wider public in a relaxed and joyful atmosphere.

Three projects from BIOTEC were awarded “Excellence in Science” by the Committee on Science, Technology, Communications and Telecommunications of the Senate. The certificate presentation ceremony, presided over by Mr. Nikom Wairatpanij, President of the Senate, was organized on 2 September 2013 at the Parliament Building.

On 19 August 2013, the Rice Department made an announcement on four new certified rice varieties.  Among the four certified varieties is blast-resistant glutinous rice, developed by Rice Gene Discovery Unit, in collaboration with various research partners, namely Kasetsart University, Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna (RMUTL), and the Rice Department.  Named RD18, this new variety is a cross between RD6 and Jao Hom Nil rice using molecular markers in the backcross breeding process.

Seed industry is a primary industry which has a strong impact on the quantity and quality of agricultural products down the value chain.  Important to this industry is an ability to detect and identify plant pathogens which is essential to epidemiological and disease management studies, selective breeding programs and disease-free certification

Dengue is caused by four closely related viruses, dengue serotypes 1 – 4. Severe dengue hemorrhagic fever is associated with a secondary response to an infection by different dengue serotypes.  Determination of dengue serotypes in current and previous epidemics is also crucial in being able to predict the severity of the current epidemics and for monitoring the predominant serotypes as a warning to a potential dengue outbreak.

National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR) and National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan co-organized  the annual meeting on August 7, 2013 at Thailand Science Park Convention Center (TSP-CC), Pathum Thani, Thailand.

A Number of great activities for budding innovators have been organized in the "2nd Tao Kae Noi Technology" hosted by the Samart Innovation Project of the Samart Group Companies and the NSTDA Business Incubator and soon the winners of the event will be announced.  Most recently, after the last intensive session on technology training and marketing theory, the participants got out into the field for fun-filled but educational activities under the "Idea to Market Boot Camp".

The National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) believes early mortality syndrome (EMS), blamed for the recent drop in Thailand's shrimp supply, will be alleviated this year.

The National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (Nectec) yesterday introduced a Thai language-based social media analytical tool to evaluate product popularity among the online population.