Dr Harshita Kumari accepts $700,000 grant to study AvanSix personal care surfactants

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / (Elena Feodrina)
© Getty Images / (Elena Feodrina)

Related tags Surfactant Dr Harshita Kumari Cosmetic science Cosmetic chemists University of Cincinnati AvanSix

This new industry partnership has the University of Cincinnati Assistant Professor and her students working to make existing surfactants better and to innovate chemical compounds that would make AvanSix surfactants more fit and functional in today’s beauty ingredient marketplace.

Dr Harshita Kumari has been a professor at the University of Cincinnati for nearly 6 years but her work in the fields of solution chemistry of supramolecular complexes extends back farther than that and has garnered Kumari over 50 peer-reviewed publications.

Kumari’s current research work centers on cosmetic chemistry and the delivery and deposition of active ingredients onto skin and hair as well as on “novel nanometric delivery vehicles, based on the principles of self-assembly and molecular recognition” ​and “integrating principles of modern biophysics into material and formulation science towards the development of novel skin care, oral care, and hair care products,” ​according to an online summary​ of her professional work.

Dr Harshita Kumari partners with chemical company AvanSix on surfactant research

The newly funded research project—Synthesis and Characterization of New Surfactants—will be years long and got under way just last month.

“This research study,” ​explains Kumari, “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.”

Environmentally friendly personal care ingredients and formulations are in tremendous demand. And the sort of work Kumari and her students are doing with the AvanSix portfolio of surfactants will explore how the company’s personal care inputs can function as sustainable wetting agents, emulsifiers, and / or foaming agents in formulation.

The “specific focus” ​of her work, says Kumari, “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.”

Cosmetic science education and industry collaboration is standard at University of Cincinnati

“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,” ​according to a recent media release about Kumari’s AvanSix grant and research project.  

And, “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,”​ notes the media release. 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.

In fact, earlier this year the personal care maker Kao USA took up residence at the University of Cincinnati’s 1819 Innovation Hub​, as Cosmetics Design Editor Deanna Utroske reported. And at the time, Jesse Grisson, President of Operations for the Kao Americas region said, “Innovation is about driving aggressive, creative change throughout the entire organization….This collaboration with UC and having 1819’s incredibly passionate and energetic resources [including cosmetics science students] at our fingertips will create a valuable mechanism that we can leverage to drive strategic and sustainable growth for the future.”

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