Upper School student Enoch Wu Han T. (;22), the 2021 iGEM project head, recently presented the results of his 2019-2020 Honors Research in Chemistry project at the 2021 Aesthetic Medicine World Congress (AMWC) and Taiwan Dermatology Aesthetic Conference (TDAC). Enoch partnered with a research lab in the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital to complete and test his results from TAS on adult human skin cells.
Enoch’s project is titled, "The Effects of Phenolic Compounds Isolated from Chinese Herbal Medicine Rhodiola Rosea on Preventing Photoaging of the Skin."
Among the many health benefits Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) presents, anti-aging is of special interest. Reported to possess anti-aging effects, the CHM Rhodiola rosea, known colloquially as the “golden root”, has been widely incorporated in various drinks, daily supplements, and even cosmetics. This study investigates the effects of commercial Rhodiola extracts and natural Rhodiola roots on preventing UV-induced photoaging of the skin, and correlates such effects with the composition of active ingredients in the extracts. To simulate the photoaging process, drug-treated HaCaT cells were exposed to UVA and UVB radiation. The pharmacological anti-aging effects of Rhodiola extracts were evaluated qualitatively and quantitatively through confocal immunofluorescence images with phospho-Histone H2A.X marker and telomerase activity assay (Telo TAGGG Telomerase PCR-ELISA). Preparatory thin layer chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography was performed to isolate and quantify active ingredients. The findings in this study reaffirm Rhodiola's efficacy as an anti-aging remedy and provide a basis for CHM's integration into the mainstream of global healthcare.