Cleft lip disorder, rice projects get B40m

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BANGKOK, 13 November 2012 – Two scientists from Chulalongkorn University and Kasetsart University have been granted a total of 40 million baht for stem cell research into helping people with cleft lip and cleft palate disorders, and for improving the Kingdom’s rice strains.

The National Science and Technology Development Agency approved the funding of 20 million baht each for Prasit Pavasant, head of the Mineralized Tissue Research Unit of Chulalongkorn University’s dentistry faculty for the stem cell project and to Apichart Vanavichit, head of Kasetsart University’s mutated rice development efforts.

Dr Prasit said his study into dental stem cells for bone and periodontium tissue engineering is aimed at curing patients who have cleft lip or cleft palate. He said stem cells from a patient’s teeth can be used to repair the bone causing the abnormality.

For rice strain development, Apichart said his team is looking to create sustainable varieties of rice such as water-resistant rice which can help crops withstand flooding and provide higher levels of iron.