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Genomics Research at P&G Beauty

Ten years ago, you could find P&G Beauty researcher Jay Tiesman in the genomics lab, analyzing data gene by gene by gene.  Today, advances in genomics technology now allow Tiesman to analyze millions of genes in the same amount of time he needed to analyze five genes a decade ago.  P&G Beauty's rich history in genomics research has provided their scientists access to the leading technologies and capabilities in the field to advance the study of beauty science.  One of the most exciting technologies is the gene chip.  The gene chip is a flexible tool - allowing scientists to efficiently analyze gene expression in different types of people, animals, microbes and even plants. 

As one of the first consumer products companies to use the gene chip, P&G Beauty immediately put the capability to work by conducting product ingredient and formulation safety testing.  P&G Beauty's commitment to product safety and alternatives to animal testing led the company to incorporate the gene chip into its ongoing efforts to replace animal testing with in vitro [or cell-based] testing. 

More recently, P&G Beauty scientists have utilized genomics research to take future product research to a whole new level.  P&G scientists recently sequenced the M. globosa genome - the fungus that causes dandruff in humans.  With that discovery, the range of potential targets for treatment increased from less than a handful to more than 4,000.  Additionally, P&G Beauty researchers recently presented the results of a study in which the gene expression of young skin, intrinsically aged skin and extrinsically aged [or photodamaged] skin were compared in order to better understand how specific genes are modulated by the aging process.  P&G Beauty scientists hope that the results of that study may one day help to develop targeted treatments that address the cellular processes responsible for skin aging.

"By understanding the genomics and the genomic processes behind beauty, I think we can have an impact on the cosmetic industry that didn't exist previously," Tiesman said.  "This in-house expertise gives us a wealth of information that can serve as a starting point for new research directions and ideas for future product formulations."

P&G Beauty's early start in genomics research has allowed the company to remain a leader in the field.  Tiesman is actively working toward the incorporation of "next generation sequencing" technologies that will provide even more biological insights - with greater speed, higher accuracy and reduced costs compared to current technologies.  "As we learn more about the sequences of the genes associated with skin aging and how they differ between people, we will be able to move into entirely new fields of skin research and perhaps come up with the next generation of skin care ingredients focused on an individual's specific skincare needs," said Tiesman.

P&G Beauty Genomics by the Numbers

  • P&G Beauty has run more than 10,000 gene chips over the past ten years.
  • One gene chip holds approximately 54,000 genes and 1.3 million data probes, providing scientists access to over 13 billion data points.
  • If a person counted each data point on a gene chip, it would take over 412 years to get to the end!
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