BIOTEC researcher won Falling Walls Lab Thailand 2019 Competition

Dr. Udom Sae-Ueng, BIOTEC researcher from Biomolecular Analysis and Application Research Team, Biosensing and Bioprospecting Technology Research Group, won the first prize in Falling Walls Lab Thailand 2019 competition for “Breaking the Wall of Bacterial Wilt Disease.”

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Dr. Sae-Ueng’s research work introduces the idea of using virus to control plant pathogenic bacteria, which is a cause of wilt disease. Wilt disease caused by Ralstonia solanacearum bacteria has damaged major economic crops, such as tomato, potato, and chili, worldwide. To solve the problem, the researcher and his team has developed formulated bacteriophage (phages) solution helping to kill R. solanacearum bacteria—the cause of bacterial wilt disease. Not only do the phages have the ability to control the pathogenic bacteria, but also are environmental-friendly since they were isolated from soil. Moreover, the formulation developed by the team is able to preserve the infectivity of the phages, which is useful for the practical phage use and storage. Patent application has been filed for the formulated bacteriophage.

The work is a coalition effort led by Dr. Udom Sae-Ueng with contribution from Dr. Ubolsree Leartsakulpanich and Dr. Penchit Chitnumsub from Biosensing and Bioprospecting Technology Research Group, and Dr. Orawan Chatchawankanphanich, Ms. Anjana Bhunchoth and Ms. Namthip Phironrit from Integrative Crop Biotechnology and Management Research Group in collaboration with Dr. Chaweewan Sapcharoenkun and Mr. Alongkot Treetong from NANOTEC.

As the winner of Falling Walls Lab Thailand 2019 competition, Dr. Sae-Ueng will receive flight ticket to attend the conference in Berlin to compete with winners from across the world and meet the world's prominent scientists, entrepreneurs and policy-makers.

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Another research work that earned second place in the competition is “Breaking the Wall of Multidrug - Resistant TB Diagnosis” by Dr. Pakapreud Khumwan, BIOTEC researcher from Bioengineering and Sensing Technology Research Team, Biosensing and Bioprospecting Technology Research Group. The work has demonstrated a technique for detecting the mutation of multi-resistant tuberculosis drug leading to treatment efficiency.

Falling Walls Lab Thailand 2019 competition was co-hosted by Deutscher Academicher Austauschdienst German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) on 8 September 2019. The purpose is to provide researchers and entrepreneurs an opportunity to tear down walls in sciences, business or society through their innovative ideas, research projects and social initiatives. The challenge is to present their idea in just 3 minutes in English.

The Falling Walls Conference is an annual global gathering of forward thinking individuals from 80 countries organized by the Falling Walls Foundation. Each year on 9 November—the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall—20 of the world’s leading scientists are invited to Berlin to present their current breakthrough research.

Posted on 15 October 2019.