Space Commerce

CASIS Reviews NASA Experiments for Commercialization Potential

By Marc Boucher
Press Release
March 30, 2012
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CASIS Reviews NASA Experiments for Commercialization Potential
International Space Station

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the nonprofit organization managing research on the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, has organized a group of world-class scientists to review experiments flown in space by NASA over the last 10 years. The goal is to identify findings or areas of further study that could lead to breakthrough technologies and products for people on earth.
The panel, led by Timothy Yeatman, a veteran surgeon, scientist and pioneer in the fields of genomics and personalized medicine, is the first of its kind. The effort marks the first high-level international scientific review of NASA experiments with the aim of maximizing use of the station and unlocking the value of America’s investment in the $100 billion orbiting platform.

“The International Space Station is one of humanity’s greatest achievements,” said CASIS Interim Executive Director Jim Royston. “But to exploit its full potential we must identify the most promising avenues of research that can incite the imaginations of scientists and entrepreneurs alike.”

All the individuals selected for the panel share strong backgrounds in demonstrated bio-commercial successes as well as in pure research. Since being established by CASIS in early January 2012, the group has focused on experiments that NASA conducted in biology, reviewing more than 135 projects and papers. The experts are now in the process of prioritizing their findings, and initial indications are, according to Yeatman, very promising for attracting commercial interest in several areas.

The bio-focused panel will present its findings and recommendations on the next steps for commercialization to NASA management early next month. These recommendations will also be posted on the CASIS website at Other panels to review both material sciences and plant physiology experiments flown by NASA are being established and their findings and prioritizations will be available in the coming months.

“One of the main goals of CASIS is to make sure – as soon as possible – that the outcomes of the next round of research on the station have the potential to fight disease and benefit our daily lives,” said Royston. “Bringing these experts together to review the research findings was the first step.”

The CASIS Biological Sciences Review Panel:

Timothy Yeatman, M.D.
-Professor of Surgery/Senior Member of Oncological Sciences at Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL
-Professor Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of South Florida College of Medicine
-Former President and Founding Chief Scientific Officer, M2Gen, a personalized medicine company
-Former Principal Investigator of the Total Cancer Care initiative in personalized medicine
-Recipient of numerous National Cancer Institute Director Challenge Awards and other Federal research funding, including the “Director’s Challenge” grant

Leroy Hood, M.D., Ph.D.
-President/Co-Founder, Institute for Systems Biology
-Member, National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine and National Inventors Hall of Fame (Also invented the DNA sequencer/synthesizer)
-Founder of 14 companies including Amgen, Applied Biosystems and Integrated Diagnostics

Walter Chazin, Ph.D.
-Professor, Biochemistry/Physics Vanderbilt University
-Director, Center for Structural Biology and Ingram Professor of Cancer Research
-Instrumental in the development of structural biology and molecular biophysics (involves complementary application of different structural approaches including spectroscopy, scattering, crystallography and microscopy)
-Research focused on multiprotein complexes, 3-D structures and characterization of binding interfaces/interactions

Arnold Levine, Ph.D.
-Professor, Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton University
-Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
-Former President/CEO of Rockefeller University
-Recipient of American Cancer Society Medal of Honor
-Co-discoverer of p53 tumor suppressor gene

Torben Orntoft, Ph.D.
-Head, Department of Molecular Medicine, Aarhus University, Denmark.
-CEO, AROS Applied Biochemistry
-Member, European Academy of Cancer Sciences
-Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Novo Nordisk
-Researched identification of molecular biomarkers for use in disease classification and prediction

Jeffrey Trent, Ph.D.
-President, Translational Genomics Research Institute
-Founding Scientific Director, Intramural Research for the Human Genome Research Institute, NIH
-Chair, Science Advisory Board, Systems Medicine Inc.
-Member, multiple commercial company scientific advisory boards

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About CASIS: The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) was selected by NASA in July 2011 to maximize use of the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory through 2020. CASIS is dedicated to supporting and accelerating innovations and new discoveries that will enhance the health and wellbeing of people and our planet. The CASIS goal is to bring the magic of space down to earth. For more information, visit

About the ISS National Laboratory: In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the International Space Station as the nation’s newest national laboratory to maximize its use for improving life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users and advancing STEM education. This unique laboratory environment is available for use by other U.S. government agencies and by academic and private institutions, providing access to the permanent microgravity setting, vantage point in low earth orbit and varied environments of space. The ISS National Laboratory Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center currently facilitates research initiatives on board the station’s National Lab, but management of America’s only in-orbit laboratory is transitioning to CASIS.

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