National Nanotechnology Center (NANOTEC)
National Science and Technology Development Agency, Thailand
- B.Sc. in Chemistry, 2004, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand
- Ph.D. in Chemistry, 2008, Arizona State University, USA
Laocharoensuk is a researcher at NANOTEC working on the development of new sensing platforms based on multifunctional nanomaterials.
Advice to Students:
You have to build a strong foundation of your knowledge in basic science and also be creative and open minded.
Q: When did you first find that your career path focused on nanotechnology?
Laocharoensuk: I believe it started since 2004, when I began my graduate study dealing mainly with nanoparticles and nanowires synthesis.
Q: What current nanotechnology applications are you working on?
Laocharoensuk: My research interests focus on the design and synthesis of nanoscale architectures and study their structural dependent properties with an emphasis on electrochemical and optical applications. Currently, I am working on the development of electrochemical immunosensor for cancer detection and Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) sensing platform based on controlled assembly of nanoparticles and nanowires.
Q: What's the most rewarding thing about working with nanotechnology?
Laocharoensuk: Nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary field. You always find yourself learning and discovering undisclosed stories of nature.
Q: Is there an example you can provide that shows how something you’ve worked on has positively impacted the world?
Laocharoensuk: It would be too early to claim for such a global impact. However, I started to see that the vision of my graduate research relative to an understanding of reaction mechanism and the development of catalytic nanomotors gradually shows positive potential in biosensor and biomedical applications. For example, I developed at the time “the world’s fastest catalytic nanomotor” and extensively studied its autonomous motion and magnetic manipulation which later facilitates the development of motion-based DNA sensor and catalytic nanoshuttle for drug delivery.
Q: What do you think is the single greatest impact nanotechnology has had on the world thus far?
Laocharoensuk: It would be difficult to selectively name a single greatest technology. However, I believe a significant turning point is the fact that nanotechnology has revolutionized scientific thought. Scientists began to look at things in different aspects. These result in a paradigm shift in research activities especially the discovery of new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in medicine, electronics, and energy harvesting.
Q: Please give an example of what you envision nanotechnology applications leading to in the future.
Laocharoensuk: I think the advances in nanoelectronics will facilitate the interconnection of physical and biological systems. The fact that we can fabricate functional devices at the same scale as biological entities will provide us with powerful tools for the study of complex biological systems. Sensor technology will be moving toward high accuracy, sensitivity and smart responses. Therapies, disease detection and diagnosis will be transformed to achieve improved human health and well-being.
Q: Do you find yourself working more in a team situation, or more alone?
Laocharoensuk: Most research projects involve team effort. There are always individual- and team-level work tasks. I always found discussions among experts from diverse fields very stimulating. Not a single project can be accomplished without a good collaboration especially for multidisciplinary field as nanotechnology.
Q: If you work more as a team, what are some of the other areas of expertise of your team members?
Laocharoensuk: I am a material chemist by training with experience in electrochemical and optical detection. Most of my collaborators are experts in molecular biology, nanoscale device fabrication, and bioengineering.
Q: Did your university training help you in your nanotechnology work?
Laocharoensuk: Of course, it provided me the basic knowledge of physics, chemistry, and biology.
Q: Do you have a mentor? Did you in your college years?
Laocharoensuk: Yes, I have been blessed with mentors who continuously support me through out my career. I had learned several aspects of being a great scientist and good mentor. Currently I am shifting my gear towards mentoring others. I think it is very important for a great scientist to be able to effectively communicate and share his/her knowledge.
Q: If you had to do it all over again, would you still focus on nanotechnology applications?
Laocharoensuk: Absolutely! I am certain that nanotechnology will always be an answer to my curiosity.
Q: If a high school or college student was interested in nanotechnology, what advice would you give them to help prepare take on those roles?
Laocharoensuk: You have to build a strong foundation of your knowledge in basic science and also be creative and open minded.