Segre, from the US, received the 2014 Award, while Nishimura, from Japan, is nominated as the 2015 Award recipient, as the French beauty firm looks to honour the accomplishments in the field of physiological or biological research of healthy skin and/or its reactions to environmental factors.
"Ever since we created the Chanel-CE.R.I.E.S. Research Award in 1996, our aim has been to support ground-breaking skin research projects, aiming to enrich our understanding of the skin with new findings made available to all," comments Christian Mahé, Senior Vice President, CHANEL Research & Technology.
"Our most recent laureates are proof of this aim and we are proud to support their trail-blazing work".
Delaying signs of skin ageing
This year’s recipient, Emi Nishimura, is Professor and Chair at the Department of Stem Cell Biology, Medical Research Institute at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Japan.
She was awarded for her work which aims to further elucidate the mechanisms of skin ageing and their application to skin regeneration and rejuvenation, and will now use the €40,000 grant to undertake this research, which she says is an ‘honour’ and ‘extremely encouraging.’
"The path leading to new scientific discoveries is not always an easy one. The Award encourages me to continue, striving towards new ways of further deepening our universal understanding of the skin,” she says.
Professor Barbara Gilchrest, President of the CE.R.I.E.S. Scientific Advisory Board which selects the annual awardees , says "Professor Nishimura's project will employ sophisticated genetic and imaging techniques to monitor the fate of so-called stem cells in skin and hair follicles and to determine their response to environmental stress and ageing.”
Applied to the field of cosmetic science, Professor Nishimura's project may lead to new preventative measures to delay the classic signs of ageing.
Healthy skin maintenance
Julia Segre, who holds the position of Senior Investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda in Maryland, received the 2014 award for her research focusing on understanding the skin's microbiome and the role of surface bacteria, fungi, and viruses in the maintenance of healthy skin.
She says that her work has demonstrated that individuality refines and selects the strains of bacteria that reside on the body and that the grant from the award will enable further exploration of this microbial individuality over time.
"Professor Segre's project will apply powerful DNA sequencing techniques to skin swabs obtained from healthy volunteers to characterize resident bacteria and other microbes at multiple dry, moist and sebum-rich body sites," explains Professor Gilchrest.
"By repeatedly sampling these volunteers for two years, she will also determine whether these species vary over time. Her work reflects the very recent appreciation that human beings exist in equilibrium with trillions of microbes on the skin and in the intestine that strongly influence body function."
Chanel says that Segre's project will pave the way for innovative cosmetic research targeting individual beauty and skin needs.