KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), July 29, 2019 – At the 2019 International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC), July 29–August 1 in Atlanta, Georgia, a panel of International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory investigators will highlight important scientific progress in the field of life sciences that would not have been possible without the orbiting laboratory. Microgravity has profound effects on living organisms, including humans, plants, animals, cells, and even bacteria. Life sciences research conducted on the space station provides valuable insights that have the potential to significantly improve life on Earth.
This “Science Talks” session, taking place at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 30, is presented by Scientific American and will be moderated by Scientific American Director of Integrated Media Matt Bondlow. Other panelists include:
- Elaine Horn-Ranney, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Tympanogen
- Anna-Lisa Paul, Research Professor, Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida
- Cathy Yeung, Pharm.D., MPH, Assistant Professor, School of Pharmacy, University of Washington
Tympanogen is using the space station to improve the process of antibiotic release from a novel patch that can treat wounds and reduce the occurrence and severity of sepsis, or systemic inflammation. This novel patch contains a hydrogel with inherent antimicrobial properties that can promote healing of a wound while acting as a scaffold for regenerating tissue. Reduced fluid motion in microgravity allows for more precise studies of this hydrogel behavior and its controlled release from the patch.
Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul and her team have conducted multiple investigations on the orbiting laboratory to explore plant development processes in an environment free of the masking effects of gravity. Spaceflight experiments provide valuable information on plant structure and behavior that allows scientists to better understand how these processes work on Earth and how plants respond to novel environments.
Dr. Cathy Yeung and her team are leveraging the space station to study tissue chip systems that model the human kidney. Kidney dysfunction can precipitate serious medical conditions such as proteinuria (a condition in which a person’s urine contains an abnormal level of protein), osteoporosis, and the formation of kidney stones. These conditions progress faster in microgravity, and studies of kidney tissue chip models in space could aid in the development of improved treatment options for patients on Earth. This project was awarded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Tissue Chips in Space initiative, a multiyear collaboration with the ISS National Laboratory to support tissue chip research onboard the space station.
For those unable to attend ISSRDC in person, this panel, along with all main sessions for ISSRDC, will be livestreamed. To learn more about the conference, including how to follow the livestream, please visit: www.issconference.org.
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About the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory: In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the ISS as the nation’s newest national laboratory to optimize its use for improving quality of life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, 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 Laboratory manages access to the permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space.
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