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BEHIND THE SCIENCE: MEET 4 SCIENTISTS DRIVING INNOVATION AT KIMBERLY-CLARK*

Behind every scientific breakthrough is a story of trial, tribulation and, ultimately, triumph. At the center of it all are the scientists, determined to see a project through to success.

Scientists’ contributions to society are invaluable­­—and often require that they put themselves in harm’s way—yet their efforts sometimes go unnoticed.

Here are four scientists whose love of their field has pushed them to create the products and solutions that are among the many reasons why Kimberly-Clark Professional* continues to be an industry leader.

 

 

Role:

Lead product engineer, Global R&D division at Kimberly-Clark Professional*

 

Love of Space Leads to Love of Science

I grew up in an ancient age where kids were still really fascinated by space travel. I loved space, cars and sports, but I realized I was most interested in the materials that went into those things.

 

Engineering KCP Products

As lead product engineer in the Global Research & Development  division at Kimberly-Clark Professional*, I’ve developed products ranging from the BLOCK-IT* House Wrap and Floor Underlayment to Kimberly-Clark Professional* Onvation*, a smart restroom management system that uses machine-to-machine connectivity to deliver real-time data and alerts.

 

Using Science to Create Protective Wear for Scientists

I recently helped create the Kimtech* A7 Certified Liquid Barrier Gown, which protects scientists in the drug compounding industry from exposure to hazardous materials, such as hormone treatments and chemotherapy drugs. The turnaround time was only six months, but my team leveraged our collective experience to quickly create something impactful.  

 

Designing a Product a Mother (and Father) Would Love

My mom worked as a medical technologist, and my dad was an X-ray technician in hospitals. The Liquid Barrier Gown is something my parents would have probably used. It gives you a sense of impact when you connect the dots to where you are now.

 

 

Role:

Lead scientist, Life Sciences Microbiology in Corporate Research and Engineering, Kimberly-Clark Corporation

 

From Bookworm to Bacteria Researcher

I have always been inquisitive and love to read. I quickly developed a fascination with bacteria and their ability to rapidly evolve to changes in their external environment.

 

A Scientist of Many Hats

My days in Corporate Research and Engineering are never the same. On any given day I work with our Clinical and Innovation Testing functions to initiate and monitor clinical studies. I also translate technical discoveries into good prototypes, identify potential microbiology risks within developmental phases and collaborate with business unit stakeholders to understand business goals. That’s just to list a few.

I do get to coach and mentor junior scientists, which is an opportunity I enjoy.

 

Exploring the Microbial Communities in Our Skin

I am part of the Corporate Research and Engineering group that works on scientific discovery and new technologies. This work is a newer front-end innovation project and has not yet been captured in a product. However, I have spent the last several years researching both the vaginal and nasal microbiome, which are microbial communities on our skin. Since our consumer products come into contact the human microbiome in some fashion, it is important for us to understand and promote the natural balance of these important communities for our consumers.

 

 

Role:

Lead scientist, Corporate Research & Engineering, Kimberly-Clark Corporation

 

Exploring Micro Causes to Solve Macro Problems

I received my Ph.D. in nutritional sciences at Rutgers University, where I studied molecular and cellular biology, specifically related with lipid metabolism. My research experience revolved around drug discovery in the areas of diabetes and obesity. I also conducted basic research and product development for skin care products.

 

The Lab Is My Office

Based on hypothesis and study design, I run biology bench tests to understand diaper skin health and explore new solutions to prevent diaper dermatitis (diaper rash)

 

The Dangers of Dermatitis

At least 50 percent of babies experience diaper rash at some point during their infancy. Severity can be varied, from just mild irritation to adverse secondary infection, which requires immediate attention from medical professionals. Because diapers are a main product of Kimberly-Clark*, and because of the high prevalence of diaper rash in infants, we want to deliver better products to help maintain healthy skin.  

 

Making a More Comfortable Diaper

I’ve been working on understanding and exploring new solutions for diaper skin health and contact dermatitis. My goal is to improve consumers’ skin health through the technology our team is currently developing for our diaper products.

 

The Power of Patience

I would say to the aspiring scientist that she should gain diverse exposure to different types of industries. Biologists can pursue their career across different industries such as the pharmaceutical industry, consumer good companies, cosmetic/beauty industries and food, among others. Above all, a scientist needs to be super patient and persistent.

 

 

Role:

Lead scientist, Corporate Research & Engineering, Kimberly-Clark Corporation

 

Education

B.S. in chemistry and certificate in forensic chemistry from Kennesaw State University

 

Love of Murder Mystery and Forensics Leads to Chemistry Degree

When I was 12 years old, I watched a documentary on the role of forensics in solving a murder. Trace analysis fascinated me, which led to me to pursue a chemistry degree.

I had a professor in college who reprimanded us for being afraid of answering incorrectly. I remember him telling us to never fear being wrong and to always ask questions if you don’t know the answer. That has always stuck with me. 

 

Breaking Down Barriers (and Ingredients)

I specialize in liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Chromatography allows you to separate mixtures into individual components. Think of soap. Using chromatography, I would be able to tell you the ingredients found in a bar of soap and how much of each ingredient is in it.

 

Finding Solutions for Customers

We’ll be contacted by an internal customer who needs help analyzing various aspects of our products. I’ve worked with products ranging from Kleenex® sanitizer and skin cleanser to Scott® wipes and disinfectant spray to Kimtech Pure* Kimguard* sterilization wrap, among others. 

 

The Value of Persistence

Never quit and always ask questions. This work will challenge you mentally and emotionally. World crises would be solved if this work was easy. The world today depends on the scientists and engineers of tomorrow. While challenging, this career path is one of the most rewarding. 

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