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Crown Laboratories scientists receive adjunct faculty status at ETSU

JOHNSON CITY — Crown Laboratories Chief Science Officer Dr. Thomas Hitchcock and Director of Biological Science Dr. Mun Su Rhee have been appointed as adjunct faculty members in the East Tennessee State University Department of Biomedical Sciences. The skin care company scientists join the university as part of a collaboration to foster research activity.
The appointments into the department will provide opportunities for collaboration, internships and more between Crown and ETSU, particularly in skin and microbiome science. Additionally, this will provide a potential pipeline of ETSU graduate recruiting to more technical roles within the skin care company.
“The Quillen College of Medicine and our Department of Biomedical Sciences are excited to partner with Crown Laboratories on these exciting developments,” said Dr. Bill Block, ETSU vice president for Clinical Affairs and Dean of the Quillen College of Medicine. “To work with scientists like Dr. Thomas Hitchcock and Dr. Mun Su Rhee is a great opportunity and demonstrates the true nature of private and academic partnerships. As a community based medical school, these efforts align perfectly with our mission.”
In addition to Crown’s state of the art microbiome research and manufacturing facility in its Johnson City plant, the ETSU Innovation Lab is home to another of Crown’s microbiome wet labs. Hitchcock and Rhee have conducted research out the Innovation Lab since March of 2021.
“Having Drs. Hitchcock and Rhee overseeing the cutting-edge research, marrying synthetic biology, cell therapy and probiotics in their skin-care products, both here at the ETSU Innovation Lab and at their state-of-the-art facility in Johnson City, is exactly the kind of innovative collaboration that will put our region on the map as an epicenter for rural entrepreneurship,” said Dr. Audrey Depelteau, Innovation Lab director. “I look forward to the evolution of faculty, student, and Crown partnerships and student internship opportunities.”
Previously, Rhee occupied a wet lab space at the ETSU-Eastman Valleybrook campus from summer of 2019 to spring 2020 prior to the opening of the Crown Microbiology Lab and Micro-Facility.
“I think that Crown’s microbiome research expertise and ETSU’s academic capabilities will create a wonderfully synergistic effect,” Rhee said. “Through the biological capabilities within ETSU and Crown, we will further elucidate the relationship between bacteria and human skin. This understanding of novel information will contribute not only to basic science but also to advances in skin microbiome product development.”
Hitchcock and Rhee will also be leading a new educational research program this fall, which will further Crown’s research capabilities and train student interns for future full-time positions with the company.
“Much of the scientific innovation that we see in the world comes out of academic research. It is where both Dr. Rhee and I were molded as scientists,” said Hitchcock. “It makes perfect sense for Crown to tap into the academic ecosystem that we have right here in our hometown. We are looking forward to working with both ETSU’s faculty and student body as well as the Innovation Lab to elevate our research program, especially in the area of the skin microbiome. To be able to partner with ETSU’s medical school and Department of Biomedical Sciences is very exciting both for us at Crown and for the Appalachian Highlands community.”
About Crown Laboratories
Crown, a privately held, fully integrated global skin care company, is committed to developing and providing a diverse portfolio of aesthetic, premium beauty, and therapeutic skin care products that improve the quality of life for its customers. An innovative company focused on skin science for life, Crown’s unyielding pursuit of delivering therapeutic excellence and enhanced patient outcomes is why it has become a leader in Dermatology and Aesthetics. Crown has been listed on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies List for eight years and has expanded its distribution to over 38 countries. For more information about Crown or its products, visit www.crownlaboratories.com.
About ETSU Innovation Lab
The ETSU Innovation Lab is a high-tech business incubator that assists aspiring entrepreneurs develop emerging technologies from concept through commercialization. With a focus on identifying and generating solutions to global problems, the Innovation Lab is committed to championing entrepreneurs and building a cooperative entrepreneurial hub and network that is a catalyst for sustainable economic growth. The worldwide scope and International Soft Landings Designation allow them to serve as a nexus between entrepreneurs, educational institutions, economic development councils and the international business community by offering physical and virtual business support to growing companies. For more information, visit www.etsu.edu/ilab or contact Innovation Lab Director Dr. Audrey Depelteau at depelteau@etsu.edu.