Dr. Watchara Kasinrerk, Professor of Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Chiang Mai University and also Director of Biomedical Technology Research Center, has been selected to receive a prestigious 2009 NSTDA Research Chair Grant. The grant, worth 20 million Baht over a 5-year period, will allow Prof. Watchara and his team to focus on immunology and molecular biotechnology study for the development of disease diagnostic kits and treatments. The grant will also enable an upgrade of the research facility at Chiang Mai University to accommodate a large-scale production recombinant antigens and monoclonal antibodies. In term of research and development, Prof. Watchara aims to develop immunodiagnostics for diseases of importance to Thailand and this region, including beta thalassemia, tuberculosis, cancer and coronary heart disease.
Among Prof. Watchara’s past achievements was the development of immunochromatographic strip test for rapid screening of alpha-thalassemia 1 carriers by using Hb Bart’s specific monoclonal antibodies. In addition, he has generated a unique monoclonal antibody against CD4 protein. This monoclonal antibody specifically reacts to CD4 on T-lymphocytes, but not monocytes. The generated CD4 monoclonal antibody was then used to develop a new method and reagent for enumeration of CD4 Lymphocytes, named CD4 select. Both the strip test for alpha-thalassemia and CD4 Select have been licensed to a local company. In 2008, he was named an Outstanding Scientist by the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under the Patronage of His Majesty the King.
NSTDA Research Chair Grant is awarded to outstanding senior scientists who have demonstrated a sustained high level of productivity to enable them to conduct a large-scale research project and provide mentoring of new investigators.
Posted on 03 June 2009.