As the year draws to close, it is, perhaps, useful to look back at the 25+ blogs we have posted throughout the year. The blogs, when looked at together, with the benefit of hindsight, reveal a picture of an institute that, despite the COVID pandemic, has continued to push forward and develop.
2020 will always be remembered as the year of COVID, and like all companies and organisations, TRI has had to adapt to continue to operate. Capturing the mood of the time, two blogs in September showed how TRI had moved to flexible work hours and remote working, but was still developing and promoting staff members (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/evolution-at-tri) and remotely supporting students in the UK and US (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/supporting-students-during-lockdown).
2020 was also the 90th birthday for TRI. Blogs in July told stories about our formation by the US Senate (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/happy-birthday-tri) and how our founders argued about how to pronounce TRI. Was it pronounced ‘TRI’ or ‘try’ Princeton? (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/tri-or-try-princeton ).
2020, finally, was also the year that TRI really went on-line with a website refresh and the launch of the TRI Library (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/a-new-window-into-tri ). The new website meant the end of the old quarterly newsletters and start of the weekly blogs and fortnightly e-newsletters. The TRI e-newsletter has over 1000 subscribers around the world and is still growing.
TRI has several Fellows, all of whom have lots of knowledge and experience in cosmetic science, which they use to support and advise TRI. This year we were proud to announce in Dr Roger McMullen and Dr Apostolos Pappas joined as Fellows. (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/dr-roger-mcmullen-becomes-a-fellow-of-tri-princeton ).
This year has seen some very important growth in TRI research capabilities, some of which were covered in our blogs. In May we told you about the new techniques TRI has developed in measuring UV protection for hair (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/new-methods-for-testing-sun-protection-for-hair). In August we announced that a $11,000 NYSCC grant had been used to install and commission a new high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) instrument for the analysis of hair and skin lipids (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/nyscc-award-provides-new-lipid-analysis-capabilities). In September we were proud to announce the acquisition of the world’s smallest benchtop FTIR, the Agilent Cary 430, which will be used for rapid and flexible hair and skin testing (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/new-for-hair-skin-testing-the-world-s-smallest-ftir ).
Whilst the teams’ capabilities have grown, our rate of publications has also grown. 2020 saw the publication of 3 high-quality peer-reviewed articles, several magazine articles and many conference and seminar presentations. All of these are held in the new TRI library (https://library.triprinceton.org ). Dr Trefor Evans, our Director of Hair Research, continued this year to produce his popular series of hair claims testing articles for the popular magazine, Cosmetics & Toiletries, two of which were featured in our blogs: hair softness claims (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/a-soft-touch-hair-softness-claims ) and hair claims testing methods and equipment (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/which-hair-claims-test ). Dr Samuel Gourion-Ariquaud, our Director of Skin and Biosubstrates, contributed to several publications this year, one of which was featured twice (!) in our blogs. His work on the deposition of hair products on the scalp and body clearly sparked our imagination (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/drip-feeding-how-hair-products-also-spread-on-your-skin ). Dr Ernesta Malinauskyte, Principle Research Scientist, also produced several publications this year. Analysis of website traffic has shown that her blog about the publication on the effects of pH on hair was one of the most widely read website pages this year (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/the-ph-effect ).
If 2020 was a COVID year, it was also the year of on-line Zoom calls and Zoom conferences. The Multi-Ethnic Hair and Scalp Care Symposium, jointly organised by the International Trichology Congress and TRI, was initially planned to run in London in October. However, COVID restrictions on travel and people collecting together meant that in July we announced that the whole event was going on-line (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/multi-ethnic-hair-scalp-symposium-goes-on-line ). The on-line event, held over the 4-6th October, drew hundreds of attendees from around the world and was a great success (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/online-symposium-receives-great-feedback ). Two subsequent blogs about the science discussed at the meeting have had lots of attention from readers (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/hot-topics-in-textured-hair-research-hair-porosity-and-hair-braiding-damage ) and (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/scalp-biome-from-wolves-in-yellowstone-to-the-latest-anti-dandruff-treatments ). In addition to the on-line Multi-Ethnic Symposium, TRI staff have presented at other important on-line conferences. Dr Trefor Evans presented at the Virtu-Wool textile research conference in New Zealand (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/tri-at-virtu-wool-conference ) and Dr Paul Cornwell presented at the Hair Tech conference in Brazil (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/tri-at-hair-tech-conference-in-brazil ).
We, at TRI, are passionate about our science. So, it was nice to share this passion in a book jointly published in 2020 by the Royal Society of Chemistry and the UK Society of Cosmetic Scientists called “Discovering Cosmetic Science”. Dr Paul Cornwell contributed to the chapter on hair care (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/ever-thought-about-working-in-cosmetic-science ). Paul was also invited to join a webinar about the book organised by the IFSCC in December (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/book-club-for-cosmetic-scientists ). We hope the book brings enthusiastic and talented young people into cosmetic science.
Looking to the future, 2021 will, we hope, see the launch of our next consortium project on Hair Movement, led by Dr Trefor Evans. A call for sponsors was made in a blog in November (https://www.triprinceton.org/post/join-the-movement-sponsors-urgently-required-for-hair-movement-project ). It is not too late to step forward and sponsor this work.
So, whilst the blogs do not, by any means, give a full picture of everything that has happened at TRI in 2020, they do give you a flavour of what has been achieved and how the institute continues to grow in strength and diversity, despite the unprecedented COVID pandemic. Thank you, our readers, for continuing to read our blogs and supporting TRI. Fingers-crossed 2021 is a better year than 2020.