Engage socially with people that you love, and that love you. We have a weekend commitment to spend time with our family which often is a simple family style meal, outside if possible. Other times we make a point to go to the beach or on a hike in the woods.
As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Brian Keller.
Brian Keller, Pharm.D., is the Chief Scientific Officer of Beverley Glen Laboratories, Inc. (Huntington Beach, CA, Tokyo, Japan). He is the inventor and patent holder of the company’s core technologies and directs their scientific progress and developments. Dr. Keller has worked for more than 40 years in the field of pharmaceutical science and investigative dermatology including development of a viable drug delivery platform, FDA sanctioned pharmaceutical manufacturing and has hundreds of dermatological formulations to his credit. He is the inventor of multiple technologies, holds over 20 patents and has authored peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters. Dr. Keller has been a clinical professor of Pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of the Pacific. He has appeared in interviews with Dr. Oz, Dr. Drew, Dr Marc Siegel (Fox News), and spoken at CNN studios Atlanta.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started my career in drug delivery working with a group of scientists from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who were working with liposomes. [Maybe it was a good omen for me, because this is where some of the first survivors of the titanic were taken. I have survived, so far].
Our team in Halifax was working on loading liposomes with drugs to make the drugs more effective by targeting their final site of action and by making them last longer in the body.
Liposomes are microscopic lipid spheres, like a tiny water balloon, that are 1/50th the diameter of a human hair and cannot be seen by the naked eye, so you need a high-powered microscope to see them. They are found naturally in human milk and can also be made in a lab using commercially available material. They can be loaded with almost anything and they will transport a payload anywhere in the body.
I returned to California and continued working with liposomes and focused on delivering drugs into the skin, scalp, and lungs.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Several months after my return to California, I was lucky to have met another liposome scientist, Dr. Danilo Lasic. Dan was a physicist and a mathematician and a real student of liposomes. He wrote the definitive textbook on liposomes called “Liposomes: From Physics to Applications” and was the most influential scientist in the field. Dan and I had many emails, phone calls and beers talking liposomes. It was around these conversations and teaching sessions with Dan that I honed my liposome skills.
The building blocks of liposomes are called phospholipids, a naturally occurring fat-like molecules which form the outer membrane of these tiny spheres and the membrane of most other biological cells. I started to tinker with the chemical structure of phospholipids to try and make what I called a ‘designer lipid’ or a ’bespoke lipid’. I literally played with Tinker Toys, looking for new structures. Eventually I assembled several candidates and then had the real thing custom-made by a specialty lipid manufacturer.
When I sent Dan a sample of the ‘new’ liposomes he immediately looked at them under his microscope. He saw tiny objects that he believed were liposomes but wanted to confirm with a stronger microscope. He sent the samples to a world-renowned liposome microscopist Dr Peter Fredrick at Maastricht University in Holland.
We waited for 2 long months, which seemed like two years, because Dr Frederick, like the rest of Europe, was on summer holiday. When Dan finally received the scanning electron microscope photos, he sent me an email with the photos attached, “A dream come true” he wrote, “these are beautiful liposomes. NO phospholipids. A first! FANTASTIC!”
These new liposomes formed quickly and spontaneously, unlike conventional so I coined the term ‘QuSome’, a contraction for quick liposome.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
One tipping point was looking at my wife’s vanity one day and seeing all the cosmetic products she had accumulated. I was intrigued by the ingredients and the number of ingredients on each label. There didn’t seem to be ingredients that really worked or if they did the formula didn’t allow for skin permeation and activity below the surface of the skin. Did they really have any efficacy?
What I was doing was looking at another industry, skincare cosmetics, and applying knowledge from pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical science to help make judgments about these products. It opened a whole new world and enabled me to begin my journey in cosmetic science and technology.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
After the discovery and patenting of QuSomes I was fortunate a second time to meet a person that has been pivotal in my life. I met entrepreneur extraordinaire, Akira Kodama. Akira is the founder and owner of Beverley Glen Laboratories, Inc. Akira and I hit it off immediately because of our mutual interest in healthcare and skincare and making the world a better place. We shared a mutually collaborative goal; to help people with skin problems using QuSomes based products.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?
B.glen believes that skin care in the near future is a combination of accurate, remote skin problem diagnosis and personalized products to remedy these problems. We think the key to personalization is recognizing that the skin changes during treatment, even in the first 30 days, or with changing seasons, or changes in personal physiology. And of course, there are innate skin differences. A bonafide treatment regimen must account for this and respond to accommodate these skin changes.
The major cosmetics marketers are notorious for developing a ‘wonder product’ and marketing this identical product to women around the world. At b.glen we believe this era will be over.
So, our approach will be to base our products and formulations on remote assessment, customer driven analysis and proprietary algorithms. The advancing technologies in cellphone photography and AI will allow us to make these analyses. Another technical hurdle we’re over-coming is ingredient efficacy. Conventional cosmetics vehicles (creams, lotions, gels, etc.) don’t promote skin penetration and therefore don’t reach any sites of activity. The purpose of QuSome technology is to promote skin penetration of ingredients to improve product performance and deliver results. We will continue to explore new uses of QuSomes and incorporate these new concepts into personalized regimens that treat skin problems.
One of the biggest challenges to implementing a personalized regimen program is getting the right product, to the right person, at the right time. It has to be executed like a symphony. An unintended consequence this that the wrong product could get to the wrong person.
Another unintended consequence would be personal information could get into the wrong hands. Again, meticulous management of personal data, pictures and information is key. There are no HIPAA laws governing the beauty cosmetic industry.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?
Remote skin assessment.
Stronger and more effective skin care products.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
1. Inaccuracy of beauty claims
Remedy: Claims need to be supported through testing and review
2. Glamour + Science = (this equation can equal good products, happy customers, good results); however, it has to be done with good science. And science can be glamours.
Remedy: Clinically testing finished products, and ingredients.
3. Consolidation. Consolidation often prevents innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit within company leaders. Most innovation in larger beauty companies comes from acquisition. I think electronic commerce is helping smaller companies survive and thrive.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?
1. Exercise daily. Physical movement that increases your respiratory rate and heart rate are essential to a beautiful life. Walking, running, cycling, weight resistance training, swimming, are all on my list. I maintain core strength which includes exercising my hips and hip flexors, lower back and posterior chain.
2. Optimize your hygiene and grooming by following a daily regimen. Try get dolled-up twice a month, then see number 5. My wife has a real knack for looking her best. We both try to make a habit of getting modestly dressed-up and go on an outing, usually on Sundays.
3. Begin a tried-and-true skincare regimen. Daily facial skincare has its cumulative effects. In addition, a few minutes in the sun can do wonders for skin health and the way you feel; but over exposure also has cumulative consequences. I use our products on a daily basis and apply an SPF 30 on the days I’ll be outside for 30 minutes or more.
4. Good dental care. This should include teeth whitening. A bright smile does wonders for you and others. My father was a small-town dentist, and always promoted good healthcare. Growing up we learned the basics of brushing and flossing early-on and it has carried through for me as a lifetime habit. As an added benefit we seldom had sugar-laden foods in the house which seemed like we were being deprived, never soda or candy, but we rarely missed it. My parents often shopped at a health food store back in the 60’s, when such resources weren’t as available as they are today.
5. Engage socially with people that you love, and that love you. We have a weekend commitment to spend time with our family which often is a simple family style meal, outside if possible. Other times we make a point to go to the beach or on a hike in the woods.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I am a religious person and I believe we all have been given special talents as a gift from God. I advocate using your talents to enhance the lives of other people. For example, talents like of giving, or comforting, or service, or hospitality, working with children, working with seniors, or administration can be used to help others. Find your gift, you probably already know what it is, or you may have more than one, and use them to better for a good purpose. If you are not certain of your gifts, your time is a precious commodity, and you can use it to volunteer somewhere that needs you like a soup kitchen or shelter perhaps or a neighbor in need.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Be intellectually fearless.
By intellectually fearless I mean that your paradigms and certainties have to be challenged from time-to-time. On some occasions you have to unseat them and re-learn what you thought you knew. There is bravery in acknowledging what you don’t know. Build your new thesis from the ground-up, start from square one and begin to fill-in the unknowns with the correct new knowledge.
I have frequently turned to “Books for Dummy’s” to learn about new subjects. They are written by knowledgeable authors who lay-out the subject basics and expand from there. It’s an excellent way to learn the vocabulary and principles of a discipline.
Meet people, be socially fearless. Be kind, polite and interested. Be humble.
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.