Rajani SAROJAM, Ph.D, Principal Investigator

Rajani Sarojam obtained her PhD degree from Institute of Molecular Agrobiology (IMA) Singapore in 2002 under the supervision of Prof Venkatesan Sundaresean whom she worked with on fruit dehiscence in Arabidopsis. She did her postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Prof John Bowman at University of California –Davis, mainly studying cell polarity establishment in plants. Thereafter, she joined the Agrobiotech research division of DuPont Company as a Principal investigator. In 2009, she joined the strategic research program of TLL as SRP manager and was promoted to Assistant Director in 2012.

You may wish to contact Dr Rajani SAROJAM at: Tel: (65) 6872 7000, 6872 7556 (DID) or 6872 7416 (lab) Email: rajanis@tll.org.sg

For information on PhD studies at TLL, click HERE

Research Interests

  • Development of glandular trichomes in plants
  • Regulation of secondary metabolism in aromatic plants
  • Establishment of transformation protocols for aromatic plants

Research Projects

Plants are capable of producing an overwhelming variety of specialized metabolites among which terpenoids are of great economic importance and are widely used for flavours, fragrances, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Most of these chemicals are produced and stored in specialized secretory structures called glandular trichomes present on plant aerial structures. The genes that are involved in the development of these structures are largely unknown. We are currently studying the aromatic plant Mentha to identify genes that are responsible for glandular trichome development.

Most of the commercially important chemicals made by plants are produced as part of their secondary metabolism. Majority of secondary metabolites are generally produced in low quantities in their host plants and their isolation suffers from low yield and high consumption of natural resources, which are driving some plants and forests to near extinction. Aromatic Mint plants of Mentha species are easy to cultivate and harvest and they are the source of the best known monoterpene chemical the - Menthol which is the principal component of peppermint essential oil that is widely used in confectionary goods, pharmaceuticals, oral care products, cosmetics, teas and tobacco products. We aim to investigate monoterpene metabolism and regulation in the aromatic model plant mint in details to metabolically engineer mint plants for terpene production.

Transformation protocols are essential for metabolic engineering; hence we are establishing transformation system and hairy root culture in a few commercially important aromatic plants.