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NASA Selects 12 Space Biology Research Studies

Understanding how spaceflight-stressors, including radiation, impact model organisms.

NASA announces the award of 12 grants or cooperative agreements for exciting new space biology research that will advance NASA’s understanding of how vertebrate and invertebrate model organisms respond, acclimate, and adapt to the space environment in support of human space exploration. Proposals for these projects were submitted in response to ROSES-2021 Program Element E.11 “Space Biology: Animal Studies” (NNH21ZDA001N-SBAS).

As human exploration prepares to go beyond Low Earth Orbit, NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences Division (BPS) is shifting its research priorities towards work that will enable organisms to Thrive In DEep Space (TIDES). These efforts will focus on determining the effects of multiple deep-space stressors, including deep space radiation and reduced gravity on multiple animal models.

Selected studies involve, but are not limited to, efforts to 1) characterize the ability of dietary countermeasures to mitigate the negative effects of radiation exposure in mammals, 2) determine how exposure to various types of space-relevant radiation affects cognitive and neurological function, and 3) how exposure to simulated levels of fractional and hyper-gravity impact animal physiology.

The selection of these awards was made possible through a collaboration between BPS and the Space Radiation Element of the NASA Human Research Program, which will provide access to the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory at Brookhaven National Laboratory for many of the awarded studies.

Twelve investigators from eight institutions in seven states will conduct these space biology investigations. Six of these awards are to investigators new to the Space Biology Program within BPS. When fully implemented, about $3.55 million will be awarded in fiscal years 2023-2026.

Craig Willis, Ph.D. Ohio University,
The Effect of Different Genetic Mutations and Pharmacologic Interventions on Transcriptional Responses to Spaceflight in C. elegans

Marie Mortreux, Ph.D. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Inc.,
Circadian Rhythm Disruption and Gravitational Disturbance in a Lunar Mission Analog: Consequences for Muscle Function During and After the Mission

Seward Rutkove, Ph.D. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Inc.,
Acute and Long-Term Effects of Combined Radiation and Partial Unloading on Neurological and Musculoskeletal Systems in Male and Female Rats

Ashley Blackwell, Ph.D. Eastern Virginia Medical School,
Feasibility study: Use of Neural Networks to Predict Adaptability and Multiday Performance Saving in Dual Motor-Cognitive Tasks After Exposure to Space Flight Stressors

Heather Allaway, Ph.D. Louisiana State University and A&M College,
Insights Into the Impacts of Continuous, Low Dose-Rate Neutron Radiation Exposure on Maternal and Fetal Skeletal Physiology

Anand Narayanan, Ph.D. Florida State University,
Partial Gravity and Sex-Difference Effects on the Venous Circulation

Janani Iyer, Ph.D. NASA Ames Research Center,
Sex-Specific Physiological and Transcriptomic CNS Responses to Combined Effects of Spaceflight Stressors in Drosophila Melanogaster

Elizabeth Blaber, Ph.D. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
Unraveling the Role of Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Senescence on Inhibition of Tissue Regeneration During Spaceflight and Amelioration by a Novel Countermeasure, PQQ

Sylvain Costes, Ph.D. NASA Ames Research Center,
Characterization of Female Reproductive Health Risks for Long-Duration Spaceflight Using Federated Machine Learning

Joshua Alwood, Ph.D. NASA Ames Research Center,
Integrated CNS Assessment in Rodent Models of Altered Gravity and Irradiation

Caralina Marin de Evsikova, Ph.D. Bay Pines Foundation, Inc.,
Stressors to Spaceflight: Identification of Transposon-Driven Changes to Gene Networks in GeneLab Data

Cassandra Juran, Ph.D. NASA Ames Research Center,
Sustained Effects of Spaceflight on Anemia and Severity of Effects Dependency on Age