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We received a GRF research grant from RGC!

Dr. Jung Sun YOO received a prestigious research grant, General Research Fund (GRF) 2018/2019, from Research Grants Council (RGC) by the Hong Kong SAR Government. The grant amounts to a total of HKD 899,100 over three years. This is consecutive awarding of RGC grants from last year, which is very rare. The following is a brief description which opens to the public through RGC website.

Title: Terahertz wave irradiation promotes skin regeneration and new hair growths


StartFragmentTerahertz waves (0.1 THz ~ 10 THz) have attracted great interest with recent technological advances and are now the subject of interdisciplinary researches. A variety of applications have shown initial promise for their biomedical use, particularly in broadband Terahertz based imaging including noninvasive or intraoperative cancer imaging and skin and cornea hydration sensing. However, efforts to reveal the Terahertz-induced effects at cellular and molecular levels, especially how biological objects interact with Terahertz wave having specific frequency and intensity, is scarce and remains challenging. Recent progress in Terahertz spectroscopy have shown that many important biomolecules have intrinsic vibrational resonances in the Terahertz range, implicating that appropriate Terahertz irradiation may direct biochemical reactions and biological energy transport. In addition, mild inflammation response in mouse skin under Terahertz irradiation was reported recently, suggesting possibility of immune response mediated skin regeneration. In this project, we aim to investigate biological effects of Terahertz irradiation for skin regeneration and hair growth to develop a novel therapeutic technique for dermatological diseases. Hair loss, or alopecia, is a markedly increasing dermatological disease in aging society, involving an annual global market revenue of US$85 billion and a growth rate of 5%. Unfortunately, currently available therapeutic drugs such as Minoxidil and Finasteride have either low efficacy or significant adverse effects. Focusing on capability of Terahertz wave for nonionizing local irradiation and deep penetration to cover a whole hair follicle, we identified skin exposure to Terahertz (0.2 THz) promotes hair stem cell proliferation in the preliminary study. Based on such compelling evidence, we will investigate the optimized Terahertz irradiation condition to maximize hair stem cell regeneration and greatly induce growth cycle of hair follicle using novel time-lapse in vivo imaging technologies. Then, we will compare stimulatory effect of the determined Terahertz irradiation over conventional red-light therapy by quantitative and long-term analysis of hair growth. Immune reaction coupled regeneration by Terahertz will be also rigorously investigated as one of major underlying mechanism. Finally, we will showcase overall biosafety and absence of adverse effect of Terahertz by measurement of temperature change, blood vessel dilation, DNA damage, and tissue viability. To this end, we provide, for the first time, a powerful strategy to treat hair loss with high efficacy and no side effect using a new promising frequency regime, i.e., Terahertz wave. Such Terahertz medicine will eventually revolutionize current clinical practice in dermatological treatment to improve overall patient outcome and reduce health care cost.EndFragment

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