Each year, the International Space Station (ISS) Research and Development (R&D) Conference, held in coordination with the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, NASA, and the American Astronautical Society, highlights individuals who have pushed the boundaries of space-based research through the presentation of research awards. This week, we are spotlighting awardees in the category of “innovation,” honoring individuals who have leveraged the ISS to pioneer a new frontier in space-based science. Today’s spotlight is on Dr. Nicole L. Wagner of LambdaVision, for innovation in the field of biology and medicine.
LambdaVision is leveraging microgravity conditions on the ISS National Laboratory to improve the manufacturing process for its protein-based retinal implant capable of restoring vision in patients with retinal degeneration, which affects millions of people on Earth. Currently, there is no cure for patients with the two most common types of retinal degeneration—age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa—and limited treatments are available. LambdaVision’s retinal implant consists of multiple layers of a light-activated protein. However, when produced on Earth, gravity interferes with the uniformity of the layers. By taking manufacturing process to the ISS, LambdaVision hopes to increase efficiency and achieve a higher-quality retinal implant by improving the overall uniformity and stability of the multilayer system. LambdaVision’s investigation is supported by a “Technology in Space Prize”—an award sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory and The Boeing Company that supports innovative startup companies associated with the MassChallenge program, one of the leading startup accelerators.
Learn more in these related resources:
- Setting Sights on Vision: Taking Flight to Improve Treatment for Retinal Degeneration
- Attracting Entrepreneurs to Space: MassChallenge Grantees Move Early-Stage Innovations Forward
- Leveraging the ISS for Valuable Commercial Technology and Materials Research
You can also learn more about the groundbreaking research taking place on our nation's only orbiting laboratory in Upward, the official magazine of the ISS National Laboratory! Visit Upward.ISSNationalLab.org to view the latest issue.