NASA astronauts work hard on multiple life science studies aboard the International Space Station

NASA astronauts work hard on multiple life science studies aboard the International Space Station

Press release from: Center for the Advancement of Space Science (CASIS)
Posted: Wednesday, December 16, 2020

On December 7, the Dragon spacecraft full of thousands of pounds of emergency supplies and docked research was launched by the International Space Station (ISS), paving the way for a busy Expedition 64 dedicated to sending science. the action on the orbiting laboratory. The 21st SpaceX (CRS-21) commercial resale services mission brought to the ISS a combination of U.S. National Laboratory-supported life science studies that will be evaluated in the specific microgravity environment, intended to benefit patient care on Earth . Since Dragon’s arrival, the astronauts have been hard at work performing many of these studies.

Fine engineering and regenerative medicine are prominent areas of study within the ISS National Lab pipeline, as conducting such a study without gravity may help researchers gain a better understanding of disease and therapeutic development. Moreover, results from research within these areas could lead to developments that add value to our country and promote a strong, stable and scalable economy in Earth’s low orbit. In particular, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins She has worked on a number of life science investigations within these areas – including several payloads derived from research and programs that helped her execute while she stayed. on the ISS in 2016 as part of the Expedition 48 and 49 crew. Below are some of the research studies currently in progress with support from the ISS National Lab.

In 2016, a group of researchers from Stanford University launched a study examining the effect of microgravity on heart cell activity. Rubins was one of the astronauts involved there initial study. Based on results from that first test, the team from Stanford recently launched a chip payload to enhance their knowledge of heart cells in space to develop remedies and medicine to combat heart disease on Earth. This research is funded as part of the Fine chips in space an initiative by the National Center for Translational Sciences, one of the centers under the National Institutes of Health.

The Genes in space student research competition, established by Boeing and miniPCR with support from the ISS National Lab, invites students to propose advanced DNA amplification tests that use the ISS-like environment. Student researchers Finsam Samson and Yujie Wang were the winners of the 2019 Genes in Space competition, in which more than 750 entries were submitted by young researchers who wanted to conduct genetic experiments on the space station. The Samson and Wang experiment attempts to assess the cognitive changes reported by some astronauts during space by studying expressions of circadian genes, which regulate sleep and awakening, in space.

Team from a leading global biopharma company Bristol Myers Squibbhave has been monitoring the crystallization of monoclonal antibodies in microgravity. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-generated proteins designed to interact with specific targets, called antigens, and are used in the treatment of several diseases. The study of how such proteins crystallize in space contributes to the company ‘s ongoing research on protein stability that could guide future directions in drug development and manufacturing.

While many of the current research studies supported by the ISS National Lab represent life sciences, NASA astronaut Shannon Walker has been supporting vest testing which may be as important as NASA Artemis Program continues the efforts to launch the first and next woman to the moon. The AstroRad loyalty using selective shielding technology to protect the organs most sensitive to radiation exposure, with a focus on cell density within the organs. By selectively protecting gas, the vest reduces gas cell mutation from radiation exposure and enables regeneration of damaged tissues. Experience gained from this project could not only provide greater safety for astronauts in space, but also help develop defense technologies for use on Earth in patients undergoing radiation treatment and staff. in areas at risk from radiation.

To learn more about the ISS National Lab, and the opportunities to bring research and technology development to our single lab, visit

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About the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory: In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the ISS as the newest national laboratory in the country to make best use of it to improve the quality of life on Earth, promoting the cooperation of the among diverse practitioners, and advancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. This unique laboratory environment is available for use by non-NASA U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The ISS National Lab manages access to the permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful observation space in Earth’s lower orbit, and the real and different conditions of space. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space is the nonprofit responsible for the management of the ISS National Lab.

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