Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Anthony Neil Tan Rose Hills

In-vivo Elicitation of QS-21 in Quillaja Saponaria

Quillaja Saponaria (under common name Soapbark Tree) is a Chilean tree known for producing QS-21, a triterpenoid saponin with pharmaceutical use as an adjuvant in COVID-19 and measles vaccines. However, little is known about the biochemical pathways in which QS-21 is produced. This project aims to elucidate abiotic contributors to saponin production by eliciting production of QS-21 via ultraviolet radiance and chemical means. Gene expression and metabolite production will be compared between control and experimental subjects to determine possible saponin production pathways. Understanding the biochemical process for saponin production can drastically boost the supply of QS-21 adjuvant for medicinal uses in the multibillion dollar vaccine industry, which is responsible for helping millions of people worldwide.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to fully pursue my own research this summer without having to worry about working a summer job. Experiences like this are very valuable for my career and is only possible through the generous stipend and support I receive from SURF Rose Hills. I look forward to contributing to vaccine ingredient knowledge and helping save lives through my research.
Major: Bioengineering
Mentor: Dr. Thomas Azwell
Sponsor: SURF Rose Hills
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