Each year, the International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC), hosted by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), NASA, and the American Astronautical Society, awards individuals who have pushed the boundaries of space-based research.
Rasha Hammamieh, director of medical readiness systems biology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, was awarded a 2021 ISSRDC award for compelling results in biology and medicine
Through a series of rodent research investigations, Rasha Hammamieh of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is using microgravity conditions onboard the International Space Station (ISS) to advance the healing of wounds on Earth.
Hammamieh has conducted two rodent research investigations sponsored by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, with a third preparing for launch, examining the effects of microgravity on the healing of bone and skin wounds.
A ground validation study and subsequent spaceflight experiment showed that a bone healing agent applied to mice that underwent orthopedic surgery on Earth, in combination with a reduction in the weight-loading effects of gravity in the microgravity environment of the ISS, generated positive signs of bone growth. Results were published in the journal npj Microgravity in March 2021. A follow-up ISS experiment looking at the effects of microgravity on the healing of skin wounds is currently scheduled to launch next year.
Results from these projects could have implications for treating wounds both on Earth and during future long-term space exploration missions.