june, 2022

30jun10:00 AM5:00 PMNYSCC Natural Ingredients Symposium10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Event Details

NYSCC Natural Ingredients Symposium



10:00 – 10:10 a.m.
Opening Remarks

10:10 – 10:40 a.m.
Antioxidants, Stem Cells and the Thymoquinone Story – Bo Michniak-Kohn (Rutgers University)

10:40 – 11:10 a.m.
History of Natural Ingredients in Cosmetics – Roger L. McMullen (Fairleigh Dickinson University and Ashland LLC)

11:10 – 11:20 a.m.

11:20 – 11:50 a.m.

Beyond the Usual Suspects: What’s the ‘Next Big Thing’ of Bioactive Phytochemicals from Cannabis for Skin Protective Effects? – Hang Ma (University of Rhode Island)

11:50 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.
Why There is so Much Buzz about Retinol and Retinol-like Products? – Ratan K. Chaudhuri (Sytheon)

12:20 – 1:50 p.m.
Lunch and Poster Session

1:50 – 2:20 p.m.
What are the Main Challenges of Replacing Ingredients by Sustainable Alternatives in Cosmetics? – Joana Marques Marto (University of Lisbon)

2:20 – 2:50 p.m.
A Novel Unique Technology to Develop Cosmetic Ingredients Inspired by Plant-Associated Microbiome: Phytofermentology – Isabelle Imbert (Ashland LLC)

2:50 – 3:50 p.m.
Break in the Garden

3:50 – 4:20 p.m.
Marine Biotechnology at Nautilus Biosciences Croda – Russell Kerr (University of Prince Edward Island)

4:20 – 4:50 p.m.
Development of a Naturally-Derived Silicone Ionic Gel – Mana Tamami (Momentive)

4:50 – 5:00 p.m.
Closing Remarks

NYSCC Natural Ingredients Symposium Committee

  • Roger L. McMullen (Ashland LLC) – Chair
  • Raymond B. Clark (Ashland LLC) – Assistant Chair
  • Gopinathan Menon (California Academy of Sciences) – Scientific Advisor
  • Tao Zhang (Estée Lauder) – Scientific Advisor/Moderator
  • Neelam Muizzuddin (Skin Clinical Research Consultants) – Scientific Advisor/Moderator



Thank you to the NYSCC Scientific Committee for their efforts in putting this program together.

Bus Service to Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The NYSCC is offering complimentary bus service to Brooklyn Botanic Garden for this event. There will be two buses (Raritan Valley Bus Service) departing from New Jersey at 7:30 a.m. the day of the event. The two pickup locations are:

  • Edison, NJ. Parking lot behind Harold’s New York Deli: 3050 Woodbridge Avenue, Edison, NJ.
  • Paramus, NJ. Garden State Plaza: Between Chili’s and Hanna Krause’s Home Made Candies store. Corner near service road.

Buses will depart Brooklyn Botanic Garden at 5:00 p.m. and return to their respective locations in New Jersey.

Contact Bret Clark at rbclark@ashland.com to reserve your seat on the bus. Please indicate the location (Edison or Paramus) where you plan to board the bus.

Speaker abstracts and biographies

Antioxidants, Stem Cells and the Thymoquinone Story – Bo Michniak-Kohn

There are a large variety of natural ingredients for cosmetic applications known in the scientific literature. Commonly used ingredients comprise herbs, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, essential oils, enzymes, and hormones that have become increasingly more popular in cosmetic and personal care products. Plant stem cells are another natural source that is gaining enhanced popularity in the cosmetic field.1 Plant stem cells have been shown, for example, to possess outstanding anti-aging properties and can (among other activities) stimulate fibroblasts to regenerate skin. It has been found that one of the most active compounds in the extracts is kinetin (6-furfuryladenine), a cytokine and a strong antioxidant, which prevents oxidation and glycoxidation of nucleic acids and proteins in skin enabling cells to remove excess free radicals which offers protection from oxidative stress.2

Some of the work in the Michniak-Kohn research group3,4 involves the use of thymoquinone, a quinone-based phytochemical that is the main active in Nigella sativa (black cumin seeds). It has been shown to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-neoplastic properties. In a recent study, Haq et al. used polyvinylpyrrolidone matrix-type films to deliver thymoquinone to human skin samples and wounds in vitro in a human cell model and in vivo in mice.4 The group found that the novel thymoquinone films provided significant antibacterial properties and excellent wound closure activity as compared to Gentamycin Sulfate Cream USP.


  1. S. Trehan, B. Michniak-Kohn, and K. Beri, Plant stem cells in cosmetics: current trends and future directions, Future Sci. OA, 3(4): FSO226 (2017).
  2. M. Miastkowska and E. Sikora, Anti-aging properties of plant stem cell extracts, Cosmetics, 5, 55 (2018); DOI: 10.3390/cosmetics5040055.
  3. A. Haq and B. Michniak-Kohn, Effects of solvents and penetration enhancers on transdermal delivery of thymoquinone: permeability and skin deposition study, Drug Deliv., 25(1): 1943-1949 (2018).
  4. A. Haq, S. Kumar, Y. Mao, F. Berthiaume, and B. Michniak-Kohn, Thymoquinone loaded polymeric films and hydrogels for bacterial disinfection and wound healing, Biomedicines, 8, 386 (2020); DOI: 10.3390/biomedicines8100386.

Bozena B. Michniak-Kohn, Ph.D.

Dr. Bozena B. Michniak-Kohn is a tenured Professor of Pharmaceutics at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, and Founder/Director of the Center for Dermal Research CDR (NJCBM) at Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ. Her main focus is topical, transdermal, and buccal drug delivery. Dr. Michniak-Kohn has over 40 years of experience in the design and optimization of topically applied formulations and transdermal patches. She received her B.Sc. (honors) in Pharmacy and Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the U.K. Dr. Michniak-Kohn has directed over 60 Ph.D. and Masters students and the work resulted in over 170 peer-reviewed manuscripts, over 470 abstracts, 4 books, and 38 book chapters. She is a member of 10 journal editorial boards, several scientific advisory boards, member of Board of Trustees at TRI-Princeton, and is a reviewer for over 50 pharmaceutical and drug delivery journals. For this work she was awarded Fellow status of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) in 2008. Websites: www.centerfordermalresearch.org and www.michniaklab.org.

History of Natural Ingredients in Cosmetics – Roger L. McMullen

Natural ingredients have been used in cosmetic products since antiquity. The early Egyptians were renowned for their makeup preparations and other cosmetic ingredients used to cleanse and scent the body. The most common cosmetic potions consisted of eye paints, facial paints, oils, and solid fats (ointments).1 As an example, kohl is a paste/powder that was commonly used as eye shadow and is reported to have been made with galena ore, which contains lead sulfide. A paste made from malachite, a green ore of copper, was also used to color the eyes of Egyptians. Many of the skin preparations were applied to skin and hair to protect them from harsh radiation from the Sun. Hair and nail dyeing in ancient Egypt was achieved using henna, which was extracted from the plant, Lawsonia inermis. Henna was also popular in ancient India and China as a hair dyeing agent. In India, henna was also used to paint designs on the hands and feet in the art known as mehndi.2 The Egyptians were also very astute on the use of fragrances. They used many different types of herbs and oils, such as aloe, chamomile, lavender, myrrh, olive oil, peppermint, sesame oil, and thyme.3

Turmeric, a traditional Indian spice from the root of Curcuma longa, was commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine as a therapeutic agent. It contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. In recent years, turmeric has become an extremely popular cosmetic ingredient for skin care preparations. In traditional Chinese culture, skin was treated with oils and herbs. Panax ginseng is one of the most popular ingredients in ancient herbal therapy, and still widely used today. Rice powder was also popular and used to paint the face, serving as a form of makeup that provided a whitish appearance and had the benefit of removing excessive oils. The use of nail polish dates back to ancient China, using egg whites, flowers, and beeswax.4 Unfortunately, only royalty and the upper echelon of society were permitted to paint their nails.

In this presentation, we will provide an overview of the history of natural ingredients in cosmetics presenting a balanced approach to the contributions of various civilizations, both East and West, to the current state of our knowledge.


  1. A. Lucas, Cosmetics, perfumes, and incense in ancient Egypt, J. Egypt. Arch., 16(1/2): 41-53 (1930).
  2. M. Nayak and V. Ligade, History of cosmetics in Egypt, India, and China, J. Cosmet. Sci., 72: 432-441 (2021).
  3. S. Chaudhri and N. Jain, History of cosmetics, Asian J. Pharm., 3(3), 164-167 (2009).
  4. N. Madnani and K. Khan, Nail cosmetics, Indian J. Dermatol. Venereol. Leprol., 78: 309-317 (2012).

Roger L. McMullen, Ph.D.

Dr. Roger McMullen has over 20 years of experience in the personal care industry with specialties in optics, imaging, and spectroscopy of hair and skin. Currently, he is a Principal Scientist at Ashland, LLC and leads their Material Science team. Roger has over 30 publications in peer-reviewed journals and textbooks. He is also the author of Antioxidants and the Skin, 2nd edition and founded the online news magazine The Cosmetic Chemist (www.thecosmeticchemist.com). Roger received a B.S. in Chemistry from Saint Vincent College and completed his Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry at Seton Hall University.

Roger actively engages and participates in educational activities in the personal care industry. He frequently teaches continuing education courses for the SCC and TRI-Princeton. In addition, Roger is an Adjunct Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University and teaches Biochemistry to students pursuing M.S. degrees in Cosmetic Science and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Prior to pursuing a career in science, Roger served in the U.S. Navy for four years on board the USS YORKTOWN (CG 48). He is fluent in Spanish and Catalan and currently is learning to play the classical guitar.

Beyond the Usual Suspects: What’s the ‘Next Big Thing’ of Bioactive Phytochemicals from Cannabis for Skin Protective Effects? – Hang Ma

Bioactive cosmeceutical ingredients containing phytochemicals from cannabis have attracted immense research interest and consumer popularity. While the vast majority of published studies on the skin beneficial effects of cannabis have primarily focused on its major non-psychedelic phytocannabinoid, namely, cannabidiol (CBD), there is a paucity of data on the skin protective effects of other bioactive compounds in cannabis. Apart from CBD, cannabis contains a wide spectrum of bioactive phytochemicals including numerous minor cannabinoids (e.g., cannabigerol and cannabichromene) and non-cannabinoids compounds such as flavonoids and stilbenes. It is possible that these bioactives collectively contribute to the overall skin protective effects of cannabis.

Herein, our group has initiated a research program to systemically investigate the biological effects of phytochemicals including minor cannabinoids and non-cannabinoids from cannabis using a panel of in-house in vitro based bioassays. In particular, we use human immune cells (THP-1 monocytes) and skin cells (keratinocytes), respectively, to evaluate the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of cannabis compounds. Data from our current study revealed that several minor cannabinoids including cannabigerol (CBG), cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), and cannabidivarin (CBDV) showed promising anti-inflammatory effects by reducing levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines including interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha in THP-1 cells. In addition, minor cannabinoids and flavonoids from cannabis showed superior antioxidant activity in human keratinocyte HaCaT cells as compared to CBD. In addition, our laboratory evaluated the physicochemical properties (including solubility and skin permeability) of several active minor cannabinoids, which are critical for their future development as cosmeceutical ingredients for skincare products.

Hang Ma, Ph.D.

Dr. Hang Ma is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at College of Pharmacy of the University of Rhode Island (URI) and the Associate Director of Bioactive Botanical Research Laboratory at URI. Dr. Ma received his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2011 and 2014 from URI, respectively. He has over 15 years of research experience in the field of natural products chemistry. His research interests include phytochemical and biological investigations of natural products from medicinal plants and functional foods for their therapeutical, nutraceutical, and cosmeceutical applications. Dr. Ma has co-authored over 80 original peer-reviewed research articles, 1 review article, and 1 international patent. He is a member of the editorial board of several scientific journals including Cannabis and Cannabinoids Research and Journal of Cannabis Research.

Why There is so Much Buzz about Retinol and Retinol-like Products? – Ratan K. Chaudhuri

With so many doctors and ingredient suppliers on a hunt for the next big antiaging product, why does Retinol still have so much appeal? The answer, many dermatologists say, is simple: it works. Retinol is a defined molecule, not an extract, and has over 30 years of solid science behind it. Its effect is demonstrated on a molecular level and validated by multiple clinical studies. Retinol addresses all major skin care issues, reverses aging signs, protects skin from further damage, controls pigmentation, and improves skin problems, such as acne. If you do a Google search for “Retinol Products,” you obtain 49 million hits.

If it is so well studied and works so well, why isn’t everyone using Retinol? Well, nothing in this world is perfect. Retinol is nowhere close to being a perfect solution and has many inherent drawbacks. Chief among them include: lack of photostability; problems with chemical stability in formulated products; difficulties in formulation; and the fact that regular use causes skin irritancy, sensitivity, dryness, and scaling.

Can you imagine the potential of a product with all the major benefits of Retinol but none of its chief drawbacks? If you do a Google search for “Retinol-like Products,” you get 30 million hits. You can easily understand why ingredient suppliers are so eager to claim new products (extracts or blends) as Retinol-like, always taking very minor functional attributes of Retinol. Let us look at the criteria one should consider when making such a claim. Since Retinol has a wide range of activity, a comparative genomic/transcriptomic molecular signature profile of Retinol and Retinol-like compounds makes a good starting point. Modulation of key genes requires validation by rtPCR study along with cell-based studies, like ECM protein boosting, enzyme inhibitory activity, anti-inflammatory activity, hydration, and the list goes on.

Multiple studies now firmly establish that Bakuchiol (purity >99.5%) isolated from the seeds of Psoralea corylifolia can match or even exceed retinol for its preventative and restorative anti-aging benefits as well for its management of skin disorders such as acne and hyperpigmentation. Moreover, unlike Retinol, Bakuchiol is well tolerated on skin (less stinging, burning, and scaling) and is free of complications resulting from skin photosensitivity and from chemical instability in finished formulations. Finally, head-to-head comparison to retinol in clinical studies validated true skin benefits of Bakuchiol.

All these benefits have fueled worldwide appeal and excitement around Bakuchiol as a natural alternative to Retinol and has prompted the launch of numerous commercial products onto global markets. Although use of Bakuchiol in skin care will not entirely fulfill the quest for eternal youth, it may bring it just one step closer.

Ratan K. Chaudhuri, Ph.D.

Ratan K. Chaudhuri is the first employee, President, and CEO of Sytheon, which he founded in 2006. Sytheon is an innovative global specialty ingredient company growing over 50% annually (www.sytheonltd.com). Sytheon’s global headquarters is located in Parsippany, New Jersey, USA with its European affiliate in France and Asian affiliate in Singapore.

Ratan is a humble entrepreneur by heart and a strategic thinker with strong leadership skills. He has developed numerous best-in-class products for the personal care industry. Two of his most recent introductions are Sytenol A (INCI: Bakuchiol) and Synovea HR (INCI: Hexylresorcinol), which developed with an incredible team. Ratan holds over 100 U.S. and international patents, and is the author of over ninety publications and six book chapters.

Prior to starting Sytheon, Ratan held technical management positions at EMD Chemicals (Merck KGaA) and ISP Chemicals (Ashland LLC) in the USA.

What are the Main Challenges of Replacing Ingredients by Sustainable Alternatives in Cosmetics? – Joana Marques Marto

Sustainability, the ability of something to maintain itself, has been increasingly debated over the years especially concerning the limited availability of natural resources. Not a long time ago, people still thought that the world’s resources were infinite and easily accessible, and could be unlimitedly used for several purposes, including in the creation of businesses. Obviously, this also applies to the cosmetics industry, where there is a strong market trend to formulate more sustainable cosmetics, with the concomitant need to establish different criteria regarding the sourcing and selection of raw materials. Initially, there was a transition from synthetic to natural and organic formulations, but currently producers also consider the responsible and ethical sourcing of ingredients as well as fair-trade. However, the process of replacing ingredients by sustainable alternatives in cosmetics is challenging. With this in mind, this talk aims to clarify how to make such a replacement and still obtain appealing and high-quality products, and highlight how sustainable ingredients can contribute to a more eco-conscious cosmetic product.

Joana Marques Marto, Ph.D.

Joana Marques Marto received her M.Pharm. from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon (FFUL) in 2010. She started her professional career in the Portuguese pharmaceutical company, Laboratórios Atral. To further develop her career, she started her Ph.D. research work in January 2012 and obtained a doctoral degree in Pharmacy, specifically in the area of Pharmaceutical Technology, from the University of Lisbon in March 2016. She has been a qualified safety assessor of cosmetic products since 2012 with certification by Vrije Universiteit Brussels. From 2016 to 2019 she also worked as a researcher in Laboratório Edol – Produtos Farmacêuticos, S.A. Since 2017 she has been an integrated Ph.D. researcher in the Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa) and currently is also an Assistant Professor at FFUL.

Since the beginning of her career, Joana Marto’s main research interests have been the development of medicines and cosmetics for topical application and the development of new drug delivery systems under the perspective of Quality by Design (QbD). Further, she has always focused on transposing fundamental research to applications (in the market). While developing her career, she strengthened this by transferring the knowledge of Pharmaceutical Technology to the market and society, developing medicines available for hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry. She coordinates and is an active participant in projects mainly financed by the industry. Currently, Joana is the supervisor of one Ph.D. and several M.Sc. students, with several of these co-supervised by researchers from hospitals and from the pharmaceutical industry. Joana Marto published 71 scientific papers, 5 book chapters, two national patent applications, and has more than 100 communications at scientific meetings. She was awarded several national and international prizes, concerning her scientific research and community services. She can be reached by e-mail at: jmmarto@ff.ulisboa.pt.

A Novel Unique Technology to Develop Cosmetic Ingredients Inspired by Plant-Associated Microbiome: Phytofermentology – Isabelle Imbert

Like humans, plants possess their own microbiome playing a key role in plant health and reproductivity. The phytobiota is a “signature” of a plant linked to the plant species, the plant part, its geographical origin, and environmental pressures. The plant microbiome is important to consider in botanical sourcing and extract development as it influences phytocompound profiles and potential biological activities.

A new biotechnology process called phytofermentology has been recently developed using the plant and its own microbiome as a natural factory. This 100% natural process is an auto-fermentation using only the natural plant microbiome (called the phytobiome) and without the addition of external ferments. This new green technology was developed with the objective to keep alive the phytobiomass and to create powerful extracts by spontaneous fermentation processes. Our research has demonstrated the potential of this new technology to help deliver natural extracts with potent phytomolecules creating a unique signature composition.

Phytofermentology can be adapted to different type of plant parts including flowers. Recently, several extracts, including a Jasminum grandiflorum flower extract, were developed using this technology. Interestingly, analytical profiles obtained from plant extracts that were processed with preserved living microbiota, revealed enriched phytocompounds profiles versus classical extraction methods.

This new biotechnology process was developed to reach one step further in the search for natural ingredients, delivering unique and innovative skin benefits.

Isabelle Imbert, Ph.D.

Dr. Imbert joined Ashland LLC in 2007 through the company’s acquisition of Vincience in Sophia-Antipolis, France. She holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Montpellier (Institute of Human Genetics, CNRS, Montpellier, France). Dr. Imbert specialized in cancer research for her post-doctoral studies at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. In 2001, she joined the cosmetic industry. Her main research interest consisted in adapting the latest findings in the fields of Biology and Molecular Sciences to the cosmetic industry.

Since 2011, Dr. Imbert has held a global role in Ashland focusing on the development of innovative skin care technologies and concepts for biofunctionals. She is currently leading the R&D facilities for Biofunctionals and Naturals in Sophia-Antipolis, France. Part of her role consists in supporting Ashland’s biofunctional sustainability program by promoting local biodiversity and ethical sourcing.

She frequently publishes in scientific and cosmetic journals on innovative research related to the development of Ashland biofunctionals. Dr. Imbert is a member of the Society of Investigative Dermatology, Society of Cosmetic Chemists, and French Society of Cosmetology. She can be contacted by e-mail at: iimbert@ashland.com.

Marine Biotechnology at Nautilus Biosciences Croda – Russell Kerr

Marine natural products (MNPs) are proving to have enormous value in a diversity of industry sectors. Organisms from diverse phylogenetic groups including sponges, corals, and tunicates, as well as bacteria and fungi, have proven to be excellent sources of bioactive natural products. While MNPs have found application in the pharmaceutical sector for the last few decades, MNPs have more recently been applied to actives in nutraceutical and personal care products. Nautilus is engaged in a program of discovery of bioactive agents for a variety of applications using its in-house marine microbial library. The presentation will outline the strategy and process of bioactive natural product discovery at Nautilus Croda with a focus on personal care products.

Russell G. Kerr, Ph.D.

Russ Kerr received his B.Sc. in Chemistry and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Calgary, and subsequently worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University with Professor Carl Djerassi (the “Father of the Pill”). Kerr joined Florida Atlantic University in 1991 where he established a research group in the field of marine natural products. In 2003 he co-founded and became the Director of the Center of Excellence in Biomedical and Marine Biotechnology in Florida – a consortium of public and private universities, a not-for-profit research institute, the Smithsonian, and several biotechnology companies. He is a Professor, a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Marine Natural Products, and the Lévesque Chair in Marine Natural Products in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island with over 170 publications and 25 patents. He is the recipient of various national awards for research in the U.S. and Canada and has represented the State of Florida and the U.S. on various scientific and policy committees including the National Academy of Sciences, USA. He serves on the editorial boards of six journals and on the scientific advisory board of three biotech companies. In 2007 he co-founded Nautilus Biosciences Canada, a marine microbial biotech company focused on the discovery of novel natural products and other biomolecules. Nautilus was acquired by Croda Int. plc in 2018 and Kerr now is a Research Fellow with Croda. Kerr also serves as the Chairman of the Board of the PEI BioAlliance, a not-for-profit organization focused on the development of the bioscience industry.

Development of Naturally-Derived Silicone Ionic Gel – Mana Tamami

To address the increasing demand for natural ingredients in the personal care industry, we developed a naturally-derived silicone ionic gel as an alternative to traditional silicone elastomers. In our research, we designed a new blend of fatty acid modified silicone elastomer and plant-derived hemisqualane. One of the key attributes of the blend is its natural origin index of 0.63. This technology enables formulators to prepare naturalized products with remarkable sensorial properties. Ionic silicone gel is used in skin care formulations, offering excellent hydrophilic compatibility, pigment dispersion, and clear formulations as compared to traditional silicone elastomers. For example, the ionic silicone has the unique ability of forming a hydrogel with different water/polyol systems, which opens up new avenues for creating a variety of textures without an emulsifier. Our research demonstrates a new world of possibilities in naturalized beauty across skin care, sun care, color cosmetics, and hair care applications using this type of technology.

Mana Tamami, Ph.D.

Mana graduated with a Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry from Virginia Tech in 2012. She began her career as a synthetic polymer chemist in the personal care business at Lubrizol where she led the development of new skin care and sun care ingredients. Then, Mana moved into the applications space where she created formulations to highlight the key features and benefits of new Lubrizol ingredients across various categories. In 2019, Mana joined Momentive where she is currently a Formulation Technology Group Leader for the personal care business. In this role she leads the development of impactful prototypes, which exemplify top performance of new ingredients. She focuses on directing global launch activities for Momentive’s natural technologies including natural emollients, natural elastomers, and natural powders. Mana also enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with the new generation of cosmetic scientists by teaching a formulation course to Pharmaceutical Science students as an adjunct professor at Long Island University.


(Thursday) 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM


Brooklyn Botanical Garden