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.