SEATTLE (WA), July 5, 2023 – A fireside chat with space station researcher Arun Sharma at the 12th annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC) will highlight cardiovascular research in low Earth orbit (LEO). Historically, spaceflight studies focused on the human heart at the organ level, showing that microgravity changes the heart’s overall shape, size, and function. However, research examining the effects of spaceflight on the heart at the cellular level, was more limited, and Arun Sharma, an assistant professor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, helped to change that.
While a graduate student at Stanford University, Sharma was part of a team of researchers that sent stem cell-derived cardiac muscle cells to the International Space Station (ISS) to study their growth and function. Results from the investigation, published in Stem Cell Reports, provided a better understanding of spaceflight-induced changes in the human heart and laid the foundation for more complex cardiovascular studies in LEO using engineered heart tissue.
In the fireside chat, Sharma will join Stefanie Countryman, director of BioServe Technologies, an ISS National Laboratory Implementation Partner, to discuss the innovative approach Sharma and his team used for their investigation.
Results from cardiovascular research in LEO could have valuable impacts on the prevention and treatment of heart disease, which claims the lives of nearly 18 million people worldwide each year. The LEO environment is beneficial for this area of research because microgravity causes changes in heart function similar to those seen in patients with cardiovascular disease on Earth, but at a quicker rate. This provides an accelerated model to study disease progression and test new drugs. Space-based studies using stem cell-derived heart cells also have important regenerative medicine applications and could lead to new therapies to replace damaged heart tissue with healthy engineered tissue.
The fireside chat, which will be held on Day 1 of ISSRDC, will be moderated by ISS National Lab Chief Scientific Officer Michael Roberts. ISSRDC brings together leaders from the commercial sector, U.S. government agencies, and academic communities to foster innovation and discovery onboard the International Space Station. ISSRDC 2023 will showcase how the space station continues to provide a valuable platform for research and technology development that benefits humanity and enables a robust and sustainable market in LEO.
The conference is hosted by the ISS National Laboratory, managed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS); NASA; and the American Astronautical Society (AAS). Additional announcements on keynote speakers and various sessions will be forthcoming.
ISSRDC will take place from July 31 to August 3, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency in Seattle. To learn more about ISSRDC, including how to register, exhibit, or become a conference sponsor, please visit the conference homepage.
Download a high resolution image for this release: NASA astronaut Kate Rubins
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About the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory: The International Space Station (ISS) is a one-of-a-kind laboratory that enables research and technology development not possible on Earth. As a public service enterprise, the ISS National Lab allows researchers to leverage this multiuser facility to improve life on Earth, mature space-based business models, advance science literacy in the future workforce, and expand a sustainable and scalable market in low Earth orbit. Through this orbiting national laboratory, research resources on the space station are available to support non-NASA science, technology and education initiatives from U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS) manages the ISS National Lab, under Cooperative Agreement with NASA, facilitating access to its permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. To learn more about the ISS National Lab, visit our website.
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