A CNRS Crystal Medal goes to a research scientist at UTC-GEC

Jeanne-Bernadette Tse Sum Bui who works as a CNRS Research Engineer at the UTC-GEC Lab (Enzyme and Cell Engineering) has been investigation properties of Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIPs) for the past 11 years. The recognised excellence and the innovative nature of her work have merited her award of the CNRS Crystal Medal, which alone is a “first” for UTC.

A CNRS Crystal Medal goes to a research scientist at UTC-GEC

Created as it was in 2001, this national level ‘competition’ looks at work done by ‘research engineers’, by lab. technicians and ‘admin’ support staff for the quality and originality of work that often is largely ignored in comparison with research scientists’ production and publications. The application file is presented by the hierarchic superior of the « candidate” based on the last two annual reports that record the quality of the scientific results obtained. In the vase of Jeanne-Bernadette, it was Prof Karsten Haupt – a world specialist in bio-mimetic polymers – who registered her.

“My career has evolved gradually, recalling that when I began, I was a simple lab. worker and now I have the responsibility to supervise doctorial theses and can sign as corresponding author in scientific reviews – I see this Medal as a true recognition of my career”, says Jeanne-Bernadette Tse Sum Bui, specialist in a field which has numerous industrial applications. “I started in the framework of a research programme with a Canadian company who wanted to develop anti-doping-drug tests to detect presence of testosterone in urine samples. Thus, I developed some MIPs to detect certain cancer bio-markers and now I am working with some major groups on applications in the area of odors and their perception”, explains our research engineer, who also greatly enjoys passing on her knowledge and know-how to her students.

 UTC among the world leaders in the MIP field

Our totally devoted research engineer spends her time, partly on lab experiments, part teaching and part writing scientific articles, expending the same energy in all! “Our field is highly competitive an d so if we do noty do a sufficient number of lab tests and trials, then we won’t accumulate a sufficient number of results and of it take too long to get them accepted for review publication, the other will get there first”, and as she adds, this means scarifying some weekends to the write-ups. Her research projects last generally between 6 months a d 3 years and often are in collaborative contracts with industrialists or partner laboratories in the EU. Thy can be feasibility trials lasting a few months or long-term research to identify commercial, market-ready solutions.

Her recent participation in a project with L’OREAL had a large international echo. The idea explored here consisted of adding MIPs to a deodorant, to capture those molecules responsible for BO (body odour). After a few years research, studies are now under way with various materials to identify possible industrial DO product combinations. UTC is among world leaders in this area of MIPs and is defending its place among the other front-line innovative runners, thanks the high quality of the UTC-GEC teams.