somvong
Dr. Somvong Tragoonrung
Executive Director

Somvong Tragoonrung obtained his Ph.D. in plant and soil science from Montana State University. Before completing his doctoral degree, Somvong had experience working in the research departments of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). He started his career at BIOTEC in 1992 as a researcher in Plant Genetic Engineering Laboratory. In 1999, he was tasked to lead the establishment of DNA Technology Laboratory and became its first director until the spin-off in 2009. Somvong has served as Director of Genome Technology Research Unit since 2008.

As an expert in genomic research, Somvong was a key member of Thai research team participating in the International Rice Genome Sequencing Project. His expertise in genome technology allows him to lead the team to develop genetic testing of GM products, species identification and grain purity. He is also an expert in utilizing genome technology for crop improvement, with the current work concentrating on eucalyptus, oil palm and sugar cane. He was the recipient of 2013 Technologist Award, a prestigious award established by the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology. 

 

Ms. Dussadee Siamhan
Deputy Executive Director 
 
Dussadee Siamhan graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Kasetsart University and in 1993 obtained her master’s degree in agricultural studies from the University of Queensland under the Australian Development Co-operation Scholarship Scheme (ADCSS). She started her career at the Asian Regional Center – Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (ARC-AVRDC). In February 1995, Dussadee joined the BIOTEC Research Funding Division, responsible for analyzing and monitoring research and development projects in the plant biotechnology field, including coordinating biosafety activities and overseeing projects with international partners. In October 2000, BIOTEC created the Evaluation and Monitoring Unit (EMU), to its operations to appraise, monitor and evaluate all of BIOTEC’s activities, including the operation of research units and BIOTEC itself, and Dussadee was chosen to lead this new initiative. While still leading EMU, in March 2004 Dussadee was also entrusted to start a new operation, the BIOTEC Training Unit, a division to organize training workshops in the field of biotechnology utilizing local as well as international experts. Within three years of operation, the BIOTEC Training Unit was able to earn sufficient revenue to cover its operational expenses.

Dussadee was appointed Deputy Executive Director of BIOTEC in August 2008 and is responsible for strategic planning, budgeting, evaluation and monitoring of BIOTEC administrative activities.

 

Kuakoon
Dr. Kuakoon Piyachomkwan
Deputy Executive Director
 

Kuakoon Piyachomkwan earned her Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology from the Oregon State University, USA in 1997. Her research interest is on food carbohydrate, starch properties and enzyme technology. She has published over 40 international publications. In 2015, she became a Head of Cassava and Starch Technology Research Laboratory, a collaborative research unit between BIOTEC and Kasetsart University.

Kuakoon was appointed Deputy Executive Director of BIOTEC in 2016. Her main responsibility is for research and development both central and collaborative research units.

 

Dr. Lily Eurwilaichitr
Deputy Executive Director

Lily Eurwilaichitr graduated in 1989 from Chulalongkorn University, Faculty of Science with a second class honors degree. She obtained her master’s degree from the International Institute of Biotechnology, UK under a British Council scholarship, and completed her PhD at the Research School of Bioscience, University of Kent at Canterbury, on molecular genetics in yeast. In 1996, she started her career as a researcher at BIOTEC. She became Head of the Enzyme Technology Laboratory in 2004 and led a team of researchers to establish and develop technology for gene discovery from unculturable microorganisms from environments. In 2008, Lily was appointed Director of BIOTEC's Bioresources Technology Research Unit. Well-known for her collaborative work with local industries, Lily has garnered several accolades, notably the 2006 L’Oreal Thailand Fellowship “For Women in Science” and the 2008 Taguchi Prize for Outstanding Research Achievement in Biotechnology. Academically, she has served as an adjunct assistant professor at Institute of Molecular Biosciences of Mahidol University since 2002 and advised/co-advised graduate students in various universities such as Mahidol University, Chulalongkorn University, Kasetsart University and King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi.

Lily was appointed Deputy Executive Director of BIOTEC in September 2012. Her responsibility includes BIOTEC research unit coordination, platform technology development, management of information systems, international cooperation and public relations. Lily continues to be engaged in research, focusing on enzyme discovery, recombinant expression systems.

 

Dr. Sirawut Klinbunga
Director, Animal Biotechnology Research Unit

Sirawut Klinbunga completed Ph.D. in Marine Biotechnology from the University of Stirling, UK before joining BIOTEC in 1996. His research interest is in the area of molecular markers for genetic improvement of economically important aquatic species. He has published over 80 international publications and he is also a member of editorial board of international journals such as Developmental and Comparative Immunology and Advances in Molecular Medicine, including the reviewer of more than 20 international journals. 

In 2000 and 2003, Dr. Sirawut received Young Scientist Award and Outstanding Technologist Award from the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under the Patronage of His Majesty the King. In 2001, his paper entitled “Development of DNA markers and studies in the black tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon” awarded The National Research Council Prize from National Research Council of Thailand. In addition, he was a recipient of Taguchi Prize for Outstanding Researcher in 2004 from the Foundation for the Promotion of Biotechnology in Thailand. He was selected as a recipient of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) fellowship in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2005. Currently he serves a member of The Fisheries Society of British Isles (FSBI) and Thai Academy of Science and Technology (TAST).

 

Dr. Wonnop Visessanguan
Director, Food Biotechnology Research Unit
 

Wonnop Visessanguan started working at BIOTEC in 1994 before awarded the Royal Thai Government Scholarship to pursue Ph.D. study in food science. He obtained his doctoral degree in Food Science and Technology from Oregon State University, USA in 1999. His main research interest is on food chemistry focusing on food proteins and enzymes that affect on quality of food products. He has published over 150 papers in international peer reviewed journals. 

Wonnop was the recipient of the 2003 Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under the Patronage of His Majesty the King. He received the 2005 Taguchi Prize for Outstanding Research Achievements by a Young Scientist in the Field of Biotechnology from Thai Society for Biotechnology. In 2006, his research team was honored with the 2006 Outstanding Technologist Award from the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under the Patronage of His Majesty the King. At present, he is a member and affiliated member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), and Thai Academy of Science and Technology (TAST), respectively.

 

Theerayut
Dr. Theerayut Toojinda
Director, Plant Biotechnology Research Unit
 

Theerayut Toojinda completed his Ph.D. in Crop Science from the Oregon State University, USA in 1998. He has accumulated expertise in the field of plant breeding for almost 30 years. His expertise is in the field of genome mapping in plants, molecular breeding, gene identification and positional gene cloning.

 
Theerayut is the best known rice breeder in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), particularly Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. His research is centered on the use of marker aided selection (MAS) to improve the effectiveness and precision of conventional rice breeding with the goal to improve tolerance to unfavorable environmental conditions and resistance to pests and diseases. He and his research team developed rice varieties which are flood-tolerant jasmine rice (Homcholasit), blast-resistant glutinous rice (Thanyasirin).

 

Anan
Dr. Anan Jongkaewwattana
Director, Virology and Antibody Technology Research Unit
 
Anan Jongkaewwattana obtained his doctoral degree in Microbiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA in 2005 before starting his research career at BIOTEC. He was granted an opportunity to join, as a post-doctoral fellow at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, USA to work on the technology of reverse genetics of influenza A virus in 2006. Soon after Anan completed his fellowship, he started his independent research group working on influenza virus biology. A few years later, his group was expanded to the ‘Virology and Cell Technology Laboratory’ and Anan has been looking after this Laboratory for almost ten years. In 2016, he is promoted to act as a research unit director of a newly established research unit, Virology and Antibody Technology Unit.
 
Anan is well recognized as an expert in the field of molecular virology especially in the area of reverse genetics technology development of RNA viruses at both national and international levels. He established reverse genetics of influenza Aviruses in Thailand and successfully developed prototyped H5N1 and H5N3 vaccines. In 2009, the swine-origin influenza virus (H1N1) pandemic erupted in Mexico and rapidly spread to Thailand, his team was the first group in the country who successfully constructed the vaccine against pandemic H1N1 within a few weeks after obtaining the genetic materials of the parental virus.

 

Dr. Sumalee Kamchonwongpaisan
Director, Medical Molecular Biology Research Unit
 
Sumalee Kamchonwongpaisan received her Ph.D. in biochemistry for work in antimalarial drug action and development in 1994 from Mahidol University and completed her post-doctoral fellowship from University of Michigan, USA in 1996. Her research interests focus on antimalarial drug development, drug-parasite-host interaction, mechanisms of antimalarial drug action or resistance, biochemistry and functional genomics of malaria. She has published over 65 papers and holds three international patents. 
 

In year 2004, Dr. Sumalee received Taguchi Prize for Outstanding Research Achievements by a Young Scientist in the Field of Biotechnology. She is also funded in part by the World Health Organization. In year 2005, she became the first Thai scientist to be awarded the prestigious title of International Research Scholar in Infectious Diseases and Parasitology from Howard Huges Medical Institute (HHMI).

 

Dr.Sithichoke
Dr. Sithichoke Tangphatsornruang
Director, Genome Technology Research Unit
 

Sithichoke obtained a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford in 2000 and a Ph.D. in Plant Molecular Biology from the University of Cambridge in 2004. He started his career as a researcher in BIOTEC Starch Biosynthesis Laboratory. In 2007, Dr. Sithichoke was appointed the Head of Genomic Research Laboratory. His main focus is on plant genetic research, specifically to improve current understanding of plant genetics by applying genomic techniques. He has actively involved in oil palm research in collaboration with scientists from partner institutes to develop markers associated with high yield, thin shell and high sex ratio. He also collaborates with the Rubber Research Institute of Thailand to develop molecular markers associated with drought tolerance and disease resistance. He currently joins a research team conducting a multidisciplinary study utilizing the state-of-the-art -omics technologies for sugarcane breeding. In addition to research in plant and agricultural science, Dr. Sithichoke applies his expertise to bioresources and biomedical studies as well. He was awarded 2012 Young Scientist by the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology under the Patronage of His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

 

Nitsara
Dr. Nitsara Karoonuthaisiri
Director, Biosensing Technology Research Unit

Nitsara Karoonuthaisiri completed Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University, USA before joining BIOTEC in 2004. She established and became Head of BIOTEC Microarray Laboratory in 2007. In 2014, Nitsara was appointed as Director of a newly-established Biosensing Technology Research Unit. Nitsara published over 40 international peer-reviewed scientific papers and was invited to present her work at more than 60 national and international conferences.

Nitsara is an accomplished scientist, well-known for her expertise in microarray technology and its applications. Some of her awards are the 2009 For Women in Science fellowship from UNESCO-L’Oreal Thailand, the 2010 Invention Award from the National Research Council of Thailand for the development of antibody array for foodborne pathogen detection, the 2011 Young Technologist Award from the Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Technology, and the European Union FP7 Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship to develop biosensors for the detection of foodborne pathogens. Nitsara is well recognized internationally. She was elected as the founding co-Chair of the Global Young Academy in 2010 and named Young Global Leader 2013 by the World Economic Forum.

 

Supawadee
Dr.Supawadee Ingsriswang
Director, Biodiversity and Biotechnological Resource Research Unit
 

Supawadee Ingsriswang obtained her Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of Maryland, MD, USA. Shortly after she returned to Thailand to start her career at BIOTEC in 2002. In 2003, Supawadee was appointed the Head of Information Systems Laboratory. Her areas of expertise are data science, bioinformatics and biological databases. She has more than 50 presentations and publications in the international conferences and journal respectively.

Supawadee was granted an opportunity to join the Short Term UNESCO-IUMS-SGM Fellowships, to work at the Laboratory for Research and Development of Biological Database, DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ), National Institute of Genetics (NIG), Japan. Since 2005, she has joined the Task Force for ASIAN Biological Resource Center Network (ABRCN) in the Asian Consortium for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Microbial Resources (ACM). She has also been a part of International Council for Science (ICSU) as a Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) Task Group on Advancing Informatics for Microbiology since 2012.

 

Verawat
Dr. Verawat Champreda
Director, Microbial Biotechnology and Biochemicals Research Unit
 

Verawat Champreda received the Ph.D. Scholarship from the Ministry of Science and Technology to pursue his degree in Biochemistry from Imperial College London, UK. Verawat started his research career at BIOTEC after his graduation in 2003 and was appointed the Head of Enzyme Technology Laboratory in 2010. His main research interest is on enzyme technology, metagenomics technology and biorefinery. He has published over 70 papers in international peer-reviewed journals.

Verawat joined a team of the researchers at NANOTEC and the Joint Graduate School of Energy, Environment (JGSEE) King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi and networks of leading local universities and international institutions to establish a focal point for multi-disciplinary biorefinery research called the Integrative Biorefinery Laboratory. This strategic laboratory focuses on development of platform technology on conversion of the underutilized agricultural biomass and sugars to valorized fuels and chemicals by bio- and chemo-catalytic processes and on translation of technology to industrial application.