To identify and prioritize research questions and science requirements for a sustainable, sponsored research program onboard the International Space Station U.S. National Lab focused on the microbiome and the immunome in space and their effect on human health on Earth. Microbial communities, including bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses, are primary players in nutrient cycling, pollution degradation, and ecosystem health in all plant, animal, human and environmental systems. In space, the absence of gravity on the ISS National Lab acutely affects both macro- and microbiological living systems, resulting in dynamic changes to the ecological stability of organisms and environments and conditions that mimic perturbation and/or disease. For example, living in space accelerates symptoms of the aging process in humans and model organisms as evidenced by microgravity research on musculoskeletal effects (e.g., osteoporosis and sarcopenia) and immune dysfunction.
Recent advances in systems biology and community-based omics analytics have enabled realization of ecosystem function where individual variation in microbial community composition and function can be used to inform interventions for ecosystem stability, disease prevention, and recovery from perturbation and/or disease. “Advanced sequencing technologies have illuminated vast networks of microorganisms that drive essential functions in every environment on Earth. The study of these communities of microorganisms, or microbiomes, is nascent, and the potential of microbiome research has only begun to be tapped. Primary to achieving this potential is a functional understanding of microbiomes, which would be greatly advanced by addressing fundamental questions common to all fields of microbiome research; developing platform technologies useful to all fields; and identifying gaps in training or fields of research that should be addressed.”
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is currently engaged in an effort to unify and focus microbiome research across research and development sectors. Stakeholders—academic and industry researchers, private companies, and not-for-profit foundations—are important to inform an understanding of current and future needs. the ISS National Lab seeks to support this effort by enabling access to and utilization of the ISS National Lab as a platform for research focused on the microbiome and the immunome.
The ISS National Lab intends to define focus areas for the exploration of inner space in outer space. This includes microbiome/immunome research in model organisms, humans, and ecosystems on the ISS National Lab. This workshop will define resources (flight/ground) and equipment required to support research in microgravity with consideration for STEM education and collaborative funding opportunities. Ultimately, this workshop will lead to an ISS National Laboratory initiative for microbiome/immunome research in microgravity that provides a platform for accelerating research for academic, commercial, and government institutions seeking to improve life on Earth.
- Define current challenges in R&D to assess the interaction of microbiota, immune function, ecosystem health, and human disease
- Define focus areas for research in microgravity to address current challenges in microbiome/immunome research
- Define research topics for inter-government agency collaboration and public-private industry partnerships on the ISS National Lab
Breakfast provided by the ISS National Lab
Debbie Wells, the ISS National Lab
WORKSHOP OBJECTIVES FOR THE ISS NATIONAL LAB
Michael Roberts, Ph.D., the ISS National Lab
LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL "OMICS" OF ISS
Kasthuri Venkateswaran, Ph. D., NASA-JPL
MICROBIOLOGY AND HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT APPLICATIONS
Mark Ott, Ph. D., NASA-JSC
INTERDISCIPLINARY MICROBIOME RESEARCH - THE NATIONAL MICROBIOME INITIATIVE AND AGRICULTURE RESEARCH ON THE ISS
Elizabeth Stulberg, Ph. D., USD
HARNESSING MICROBES FOR GOOD HEALTH
Susan Erdman, DVM
NASA'S JOURNEY TO MARS AND ISS SCIENCE
Julie Robinson, Ph.D., NASA-JSC
Lunch provided by the ISS National Lab
CONCURRENT BREAK-OUT SESSIONS
Break-Out Teams of approximately 5-10 subject matter experts with a lead and the ISS National Lab scribe
- What are the current challenges/focus areas that sponsored research programs on the ISSNL will benefit?
- Each break-out group presents primary R&D topics and requirement concepts
SESSION 1 – The National Microbiome Initiative and interagency research on ISSNL.
Session Lead: Elizabeth Stulberg
SESSION 2 – Microbiology of the built environment: Earth and Space.
Session Lead: Julie Robinson
SESSION 3 – Microbiology of the human environment.
Session Lead: Mark Ott
SESSION 4 – What's Next for Microbiome Research in Space?
Session Lead: Michael Roberts
CONSOLIDATION OF REQUIREMENTS AND GROUP CONCURRENCE
Session Leads Present Summary
NEXT STEPS AND CLOSING