Engineering the marine microalga Phaeodactylum tricornutum for production of diagnostic and therapeutic proteins

The current COVID-19 pandemic has burdened the healthcare system and disrupted economies worldwide. One method of combating this pandemic is through serological testing, which can determine who has been exposed to the virus and developed an immune response. This is particularly important for front-line healthcare workers as the test would identify individuals who are potentially immune to reinfection and can return to work. These tests can also identify individuals who are immune to the virus due to vaccination. The goal of this project is to produce the viral antigens needed to manufacture these tests using a microalga called Phaeodactylum tricornutum. A reliable, cheap, and accurate serological test will be critical in helping Suncor employees, and many other Canadians, return to work safely.

Faculty Supervisor:

David Edgell


Sam Slattery


Suncor Energy Inc


Biochemistry / Molecular biology




Western University


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