On Wednesday, 5 July 2017, the much awaited Outstanding Research Awards were presented by the Thailand Research Fund 2016 at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Bangkok. The awards were presented by Air Chief Marshell Dr. Prajin Chantong, Deputy Prime Minister, to professors and personnel for research completed in 2016 that will be beneficial for society and the country. Among the many talented researchers were two Chulalongkorn University professors from the Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Medicine.
From the Faculty of Engineering, Associate Professor Sucharit Koontanakulvong was awarded an Outstanding Research Award in the category of public policy for his work on “Research Centres for Water Resources Management at the Provincial Level”.
The research was motivated by Associate Professor Sucharit and his research team’s concern for the country’s limited water resources. While the country’s population is increasing and consumption behaviour is changing g, Thailand may face a waste shortage in the future. This could lead Thailand to a potential “Water War over water resources.
Water resources management in the past suffered from a lack of organisation and legal controls. A lack of information at the site level has also contributed to difficulties in the mediation of problems and the development of plans that will meet the needs of different areas. Thus, water resources management faces the risk of water shortage and requires more thorough planning to create a variety of options for managing water supplies that will be most beneficial and fair for Thailand’s populace.
This research presented a water resources management concept deal with new risks, and build water sustainability from the community level to the provincial levels. The proposal includes streamlining the development of personnel and the use of local knowledge and technology to develop understanding, set up regulations, and create a system to address future changes and risk.
The research results are highly valuable to the country’s water resources management and development, and public policy is applicable public services and education. The findings will also play an important role in initiating agreements across different departments to help establish rules and regulations for water resources management.
From the Faculty of Medicine, Professor Vorasuk Shotelersuk, MD., received an Outstanding Research Award in the category of academics for his research on “Human Pathogens: New Gene Searches and Functional Studies”.
Professor Vorasuk and his research team discovered pathogens that cause disease in humans, such as x-linked osteogenesis imperfecta and other genes that are risk side effects from drugs such as 6MP, a drug that treats leukemia. In addition, the research team has discovered new parasite mutations and clinical symptoms associated with over 20 rare diseases.
The “Human Pathogens: New Gene Searches and Functional Studies” research is academically outstanding and internationally recognized, as it can be clinically applied in real life. The study has been published in 26 international academic journals, with the most outstanding published in, Nature Communications, 2016; Impact Factor 11.47.
The research findings range from a clinical description of a new type of osteoporosis disease to finding new paths of genetical of transfer, along with the discovery of a new pathogenic gene. There have helped scientists and physicians to better understand the process of bone construction.
The Research mutation data discovered has been used to confirm diagnosis, helping to make the diagnosis of genetics more accurate, particularly in prenatal or pre-symptom diagnosis among family members. This can also be beneficial to pharmaceutical science studies as it facilitates administration of a variety of drugs, such as 6MP in leukemia patients.