The Latest at TRI

This month Dr Trefor Evans from TRI presented his work at an on-line version of the International Wool Research Conference.

COVID-19 and the associated lock-down has made things very difficult for conference organisers. However, many scientific associations have now started to embrace on-line events. These make international conferences much more accessible and affordable to scientists around the world and also help reduce carbon emissions. This year the International Wool Textile Organisation ( moved their International Wool Research Conference on-line. The event, hosted by AgResearch in New Zealand, ran over two sessions, on 26th and 27th August, and attracted a wide range of presenters and attendees from around the world. Dr Evans represented TRI and presented on ‘New insights into hair breakage from single fibre fatigue experiments’. For those who missed Dr Evans’ presentation, a copy will be made available in the TRI Library for TRI Member Companies ( ).

The International Wool Research Conference will hopefully return as a live event in 2021, but Virtu-Wool has shown what is possible in the new on-line world. Nothing will be quite the same again.

A $11,000 NYSCC grant was used this month to install and commission a high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) instrument.

The study of the lipids in hair and skin is of great interest to cosmetic and pharmaceutical scientists. This is for many different reasons. For example, the unique intercellular lipids in the stratum corneum are vital for skin barrier function, and are often impaired in diseased skin; the lipids in sebum, amongst many other functions, help create a unique micro-environment on our scalp, and are linked to problems such as dandruff; and the lipids in the hair fibre act as a flexible glue, holding the whole structure together. The loss of fibre lipids with daily washing and chemical treatments can increase hair breakage. TRI scientists have already started probing skin, scalp and hair lipids using advanced spectroscopic techniques. HPTLC will allow the team to explore the chemical composition of the lipids in even more depth.

The CAMAG HPTLC instrument was kindly donated by Johnson & Johnson, a TRI member company. The cost of installing and commissioning the equipment was provided by the NYSCC in a $11,000 education grant, awarded to TRI in December 2019 at the SCC Scientific Meeting and Technology Showcase in New York (Alison Robinson from TRI is pictured receiving our award). This generous support from Johnson & Johnson and NYSCC will help take TRI to a whole new level in lipid analysis and lipidomics. Please visit our website for more information, or if you are interested in working with us to explore this fascinating area.

A new website for TRI Princeton, including a new on-line library.

We are pleased to announce that, this month, TRI launches a new website and on-line library. Try it at

The new website features much more news about what is happening in TRI from week-to-week. News items will also be shared with subscribers on a new, monthly e-mail Newsletter. The website also features more information about the services TRI provides in hair testing, skin testing, research and education. Many thanks to Ivana at Nightsun Creative ( ) for developing the site with us. Thanks too to the TRI team for all the hard work involved with generating the new photos, videos and text for the site.

A key new component of the website is the TRI Library. This replaces the ‘members’ section on the old site. The TRI Library holds videos, slide presentations, reports and papers produced by TRI, in an easy to search platform (provided by Tizra, Anyone browsing the internet can access and search the library, but only TRI member companies and library members get access to the content. Member companies get full access to all the content, including Consortia Reports and Research Notes. Library members can access evening seminar and TRI Talks material. This is a very exciting development for TRI, giving everyone a much better window into the huge store of knowledge held at the Institute. Please contact us if you would like to join as a member company or library member.

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