KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL. (October 23, 2014) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (the ISS National Lab) today announced a series of unsolicited investigations focused on life science studies. the ISS National Lab is the organization responsible for managing the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory.
These unsolicited investigations represent targeted areas of emphasis in the life and biological sciences as determined by the the ISS National Lab Science and Technology Advisory Panel as well as the the ISS National Lab business development team. the ISS National Lab accepts projects through either of two pathways: a traditional, targeted solicitation for grants focused on high priority areas of research and technology development, and a less traditional unsolicited proposal process, whereby any U.S. researcher, academic institution, or commercial organization can submit a white paper describing an experiment that uses the unique environment of the ISS National Lab for Earth benefit. In some instances, the ISS National Lab can provide funding for unsolicited proposals based on scientific merit and potential benefit to the American taxpayer.
Below provides an overview of the announced unsolicited investigations:
Dr. Clifford Dacso from Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX) will lead a multi-year matching funds grant agreement that includes the collaboration of the ISS National Lab and multiple Houston/Texas Medical Center groups to improve health on Earth by studying pathologic changes that occur in microgravity. The interdisciplinary collaboration includes Dr. Dacso’s team at Baylor College of Medicine and investigators in the College of Technology at the University of Houston and in the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Chemistry Departments at Rice University. The group will focus on approaches to unraveling the complexity of human illness by longitudinally evaluating health effects that arise from prolonged spaceflight but have direct application to Earth, including intracranial pressure and circadian rhythm disorders. In addition, the team will explore innovative applications of stem cell differentiation for therapeutic use as well as microfluidics and image enhancement technologies to improve analytical and diagnostic capabilities.
Dr. Alessandro Grattoni of the Houston Methodist Research Institute (Houston, TX) has developed a project in translational medicine to build upon another the ISS National Lab-sponsored project using the ISS to better understand fluid flow though very small channels (nanofluidics). This new project will utilize results from the nanofluidics project, experiments that cannot be performed under normal gravity, to aid in the development of a drug delivery implant that can be remotely controlled to release specific amounts of treatment—a form of individualized medicine.
Dr. Chia Soo from the UCLA School of Medicine (Los Angeles, CA) plans to evaluate novel approaches to treating osteoporosis through microgravity research. Since osteoporosis affects more than 200 million people worldwide, there is a need for new, innovative treatments—including drugs that promote bone formation. This project will test such a drug (based on a protein, NELL-1) in mice onboard the ISS, taking advantage of the accelerated bone loss that occurs in humans and animals during spaceflight.
“To date, the ISS National Lab has been impressed with the interest and opportunity that exists to conduct biomedical research onboard the ISS,” said the ISS National Lab Chief Operating Officer Duane Ratliff. “These opportunities continue to expand on the investigations the ISS National Lab has brokered to date within this discipline, and from it we are optimistic that there will be discoveries made that will enable profound advancement in the care and understanding of the human condition.”
For information about the ISS National Lab opportunities, including instructions on submitting research ideas, please visit www.issnationallab.org/solicitations
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About the ISS National Lab: The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (the ISS National Lab) was selected by NASA in July 2011 to maximize use of the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory through 2020. the ISS National Lab is dedicated to supporting and accelerating innovations and new discoveries that will enhance the health and wellbeing of people and our planet. For more information, visit www.issnationallab.org.
About the ISS National Laboratory: In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the International Space Station as the nation’s newest national laboratory to maximize its use for improving life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, and advancing STEM education. This unique laboratory environment is available for use by other U.S. government agencies and by academic and private institutions, providing access to the permanent microgravity setting, vantage point in low Earth orbit, and varied environments of space.
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