UC scientist receives over $700,000 for a multi-year project

Pharmacy faculty member studies properties that are environmentally friendly

University of Cincinnati cosmetic scientist Harshita Kumari has received a research grant for more than $700,000 for a multi-year study to explore certain new proprietary surfactants for industrial applications and personal care products such as skin- and haircare as well as laundry detergents. The grant was awarded by AdvanSix Inc., a global, American-based manufacturer of nylon resins and chemical intermediates used to make a wide range of products for a variety of industries and markets.

Surfactants, such as soaps or detergents, are compounds that lower the surface tension between two liquids, between a gas and a liquid or between a liquid and a solid. Surfactants may act as wetting agents, emulsifiers or foaming agents.

headshot Harshita Kumari

Professor Harshita Kumari is a prolific researcher in the area of cosmetic science.

“This research study will look at the functional benefits of AdvanSix’s proprietary surfactants for their commercial and market potential and further characterize these molecules in terms of their sustainability, environmental safety and ‘greenness’ compared to the leading benchmark products,” says Kumari, an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at UC’s James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy.

UC’s cosmetic science degree program is the oldest and largest in the country and was the first to offer a doctorate in cosmetic science. Research endeavors such as this are a prime example of the impact UC makes on the health of global citizens and is part of the university’s strategic direction Next Lives Here. 

Kumari’s expertise includes the material and formulation science behind the development of novel skin-, oral- and haircare products. Her research projects focus on understanding the mechanisms of delivery and deposition of actives onto the skin or hair and how you might control them. In addition, her research focuses on developing methods to construct novel delivery systems, based on the principles of self-assembly and molecular recognition.

The project, titled "Synthesis and characterization of new surfactants," began in October.

AdvanSix is a leading global producer of nylon resins, plant fertilizer ingredients and chemical compounds to enhance paint pigments. AdvanSix is a member company of the American Chemistry Council’s program Responsible Care®.

“Specific focus will be on optimization of the existing compounds and generate new compounds that may lead to improved functionalities for more natural and environmentally friendly personal care, agriculture and other uses,” says Kumari.

The UC pharmacy college has a two-decades’ long history of collaborating with industry on research endeavors.

This project, says Kumari, will also provide students in the college’s cosmetic sciences program an excellent opportunity to discover new scalable natural surfactants with potential application in the area of personal care and agri-products. Additionally, the director of the UC cosmetic sciences program, K.P. Ananth, will serve as a consultant on the study.  

Featured image at top is the exterior of the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, where Dr. Kumari is a cosmetic scientist: Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Content + Creative

 Impact Lives Here

The University of Cincinnati is leading public urban universities into a new era of innovation and impact. Our faculty, staff and students are saving lives, changing outcomes and bending the future in our city's direction. Next Lives Here.

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