Press Release

CASIS Awards Research Agreements in the Fields of Physical and Life Sciences

By SpaceRef Editor
November 12, 2015
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The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) today announced it has awarded three research agreements within the fields of physical and life sciences that will provide researchers access to the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory and its microgravity environment. As the manager of the ISS National Laboratory, CASIS seeks to make the orbiting facility available to researchers whose work would benefit from a microgravity setting and contribute to the improvement of life on Earth.

“These projects represent a diverse community of inquiry that will help researchers better understand healing within the human body, and also expand on the physical properties that make microgravity such a unique environment for experimentation,” said CASIS Deputy Chief Scientist Dr. Michael Roberts. “CASIS congratulates the most recent set of awarded investigators to the ISS National Laboratory research family.”

Below is a list of the three research projects that have received awards from CASIS:

Hiroshima University Graduate School of Biomedical & Health Sciences and Space Bio Laboratories Co. LTD, Dr. Louis Yuge
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School Department of Neurosurgery, Dr. Yang (Ted) Teng
Investigation: Cranial Bone Marrow Stem Cell Culture in Space

The investigators propose a flight experiment, Cranial Bone Marrow Stem Cell Culture in Space, to explore the beneficial effects of microgravity on the growth and differentiation of human cranial mesenchymal stem cells. Previous Earth-based studies done by Dr. Yuge in modeled microgravity using the Space Bio-Labs 3D-clinostat, “Gravite™,” demonstrated that stem cells cultured in a simulated microgravity environment were better able to effect neural repair in cell-based therapy using a rodent model. The flight experiment will leverage the unique microgravity environment of the ISS National Lab to culture stem cells that may lead to breakthroughs in our understanding of regenerative medical therapies. Such therapies use stem cells to repair neural system damage, including traumatic brain and or spinal cord injury. The spinal cord injury study will be conducted in Dr. Teng’s lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Houston Methodist Research Institute, Dr. Jason Sakamoto
Investigation: The Effect of Microgravity on Stem Cell Mediated Re-Cellularization

CASIS supports the establishment of the Center for Space Nanomedicine at Houston Methodist Research Institute, directed by Dr. Alessandro Grattoni. The Center encompasses multiple microgravity research investigations that leverage nanotechnology for biomedical applications on Earth. The Center includes a newly funded project by Dr. Jason Sakamoto, The Effect of Microgravity on Stem Cell Mediated Re-Cellularization. This project seeks to study the effects of microgravity and radiation on fundamental properties of human stem cells, including their ability to migrate, attach, proliferate, and produce immunosuppressive factors. This study promises to advance knowledge related to stem cell mediated regeneration and future efforts to engineer functional new organs.

NEMAK, Dr. Glenn Byczynski
Investigation: NEMAK Alloy Solidification Experiments

As one of the world’s leading aluminum casting companies, NEMAK seeks to better understand the critical parameters behind the formation of hot tearing by removing gravitational effects and identifying dominant forces. The identification of these dominant forces in a microgravity environment could assist in the development of more reliable and efficient products for NEMAK’s consumer base.

Each award is contingent upon the completion of an agreement between the recipient and CASIS on mutually acceptable terms and conditions.

For additional information about CASIS opportunities, including instructions on submitting a proposal, please visit: www.iss-casis.org/solicitations. To learn more about the ISS, including past research and available hardware and facilities, please visit: www.spacestationresearch.com.

SpaceRef staff editor.