This Friday (18), NASA released the list of 18 space biology research grants, which will provide the space agency with new knowledge about how animals, plants and microorganisms respond and adapt to the space environment. The data will be important for the realization of future human space explorations.
The proposals sent by the researchers cover three areas of study: microbiology, plant biology and animal biology. Microbiology studies will yield new insights into how these organisms and communities behave in space flight environments, on the Moon or Mars. Research on plant biology will seek answers to fundamental questions about how plants adapt to flight or respond to gravitational changes. Finally, research related to animal biology will study how these organisms understand and adapt to the space environment.
These research projects show well the diversity of science conducted by the Space Biology Program, and many of them will apply analysis techniques that will provide data to identify mechanisms associated with biological processes in space. Then, the data generated by the studies will be sent to GeneLab.
The research will be conducted by 18 researchers from different institutions and states. Check out the research projects covered by the scholarships below:
- Wayne Nicholson, Ph.D., University of Florida: Changing the DNA architecture of Bacillus subtilis in space: global effects on DNA supercoiling, methylation and transcriptome
- Kelly Rice, Ph.D., University of Florida: Understanding the impact of Agr Quorum Sensing on the physiology of Staphylococcus aureus in the space flight environment
- Sergio Santa Maria, Ph.D., Ames Research Center: Acquisition of beneficial mutations through adaptive evolution under simulated microgravity
- Andrew Settles, Ph.D., University of Florida: Understanding the burden of genome mutations in the culture of cyanobacteria in space flights
- Camilla Urbaniak, Ph.D., Zin Technologies: Analog microgravity as a possibility for space flights to validate biofilm formation and gene exchange between organisms
- Zheng Wang, Ph.D., Naval Research Lab: Harnessing black extremophilic yeasts to understand eukaryotic adaptive strategies in conditions similar to those on Mars
Scholarships for plant biology studies
- Simon Gilroy, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin: Effects of flights on interactions between plants and microbes
- Robert Jinkerson, Ph.D., University of California: Development of small vegetables for agriculture in confined environments (SPACE) tomatoes for space flight applications
- Scot Wolverton, Ph.D. Ohio Wesleyan University: RNA sequence-guided mutant analysis to discover new components of gravitational signaling in plants
Scholarships for animal biology studies
- Xiaohong Lu, Ph.D., Louisiana State University System: Development of a single cell biodosimetry for brain genomic instability and neurodegeneration to predict clinical health outcomes in space flight crews
- Meghan McGee-Lawrence, Ph.D., Augusta University Research Institute: Osteocyte disruptions of the plasma membrane in skeleton adaptations for loading and unloading
- Anand Ramasubramanian, Ph.D., San Jose State University Research Foundation: Thrombosis in microgravity
- Donato Romagnolo, Ph.D., University of Arizona: Spatial environment and endocrine regulation of epigenetics of DNA repair and cell cycle in mammary epithelial cells
- Jeffrey Willey, Ph.D., Wake Forest University: Technology to measure gait, output and locomotor performance in disturbed environmental conditions after simulated space flight
- Abba Zubair, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic: The role of mesenchymal cells in microgravity-induced bone loss
- Eliah Overbey (PI: Christopher Mason, Ph.D.), Weill Medical College of Cornell University: High resolution mapping of the murine spatial transcriptome
- Megan Rosa-Caldwell (PI: Seward Rutkove, Ph.D.), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: Influence of sex hormones on the nervous system and musculoskeletal health on micro and fractional Martian gravity in analogous rats
- Maria Sekyi (PI: Tammy Chang, Ph.D.), University of California: Fluid density and partial gravitational effects on organogenesis