Procter & Gamble honors UC College of Medicine professor

National Connect + Develop awardee for contributions to innovation

In a commitment to collaborative ingenuity that took center stage at the Procter & Gamble (P&G) Americas Connect + Develop Awards, a spotlight shines brightly on esteemed faculty member from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (CoM) — Ana Luisa Kadekaro, PhD.

The P&G Connect and Develop (C+D) Best Partner Award category in 2023 recognizes extraordinary partnerships forged between trailblazing thought leaders, innovation mavens and P&G's formidable innovation and scale capabilities. At the pinnacle of this honor, Kadekaro was chosen for her renowned, groundbreaking work crafting a resilient and dependable ex vivo moisturizing assessment.

The goal was to develop a skin explant model suitable to test the effects of topical products on human skin. Developing in vitro and ex vivo models to replicate human skin reactions is significant for advancing scientific understanding, exploring therapeutic strategies and enhancing the ability to predict positive and negative in vivo effects. 

"This (new) model represents a useful tool for pre-screening novel formulations with the advantage of generating data that would not be possible in studies performed in human subjects. I am absolutely thrilled that our partners at P&G recognized the value of this skin explant model for the development of novel products," Kadekaro said.

I am absolutely thrilled that our partners at P&G recognized the value of this skin explant model for the development of novel products.

Ana Luisa Kadekaro, PhD University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Pioneering innovation

Ana Luisa Kadekaro Dermatology in White Coat

Ana Luisa Kadekaro, PhD, dermatology, UC College of Medicine.

The University of Cincinnati has earned a reputation as a pioneer in collaborative innovation, exemplified by the prestigious C+D award acknowledging the successful, enduring partnership between P&G, Kadekaro's lab in CoM/Dermatology and Yuhang Zhang's lab at the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy.

The partnership encompasses the P&G Digital Accelerator, situated within the UC 1819 Innovation Hub, created to facilitate research engagement for undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctorates and faculty, working alongside P&G technical staff.

“Very early in the process, we realized that the commonly used explant models were not suitable to mimic the conditions of real-life clinical studies on individuals or their daily skincare routines," Kadekaro said. "After numerous attempts, we successfully devised a setup wherein the epidermal compartment could be elevated in the air environment, ensuring  that the dermal side maintained contact with the supporting culture medium.”   

Tradition of excellence

P&G's Research and Development division boasts a rich tradition of fostering open innovation, a legacy their core C+D experts masterfully upheld. At the helm of this dynamic team, these experts tirelessly pursue collaborations that hasten and magnify the trajectory of groundbreaking solutions.

"Professor Ana Kadekaro developed a robust and reliable ex vivo moisturizing assessment, a solid pre-screening tool for new technologies at Procter & Gamble," Anneke Kaminski, P&G Research and Development senior director of Connect + Develop Americas, said. "We appreciate her deep expertise, dedication and collaboration, which led to this outcome.”

Kaminski emphasized that the profound significance of Kadekaro's accomplishment lies in the impact of her discovery, advancing the identification of novel active ingredients specifically designed to enhance effective skin moisturization.

"We tested several ways to keep topically applied products from contacting the dermis in our in vitro models and developed a robust model, allowing for daily topical treatments that could be associated with washes at the end of the day,” Kadekaro said.

Kadekaro's expertise underscores her commitment to pioneering research, fortifying UC’s position as a trailblazer in innovation. Her model will continue as a potent pre-screening tool for developing cutting-edge skincare technologies.. 

Featured image at top: Female researcher in laboratory. Photo credit: DW2630 via Shutterstock

Innovation 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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