Unmanned Russian research spaceflights provide an opportunity to conduct biological and biomedical research on rodent models to determine the fundamental mechanisms of how life adapts to microgravity and then readapts to Earth-normal gravity. U.S. and Russian Principal Investigators (PIs) will have the opportunity to collaborate and participate in a Biospecimen Sharing Program (BSP).
Knowledge gained in the use of animals reveals the fundamental mechanisms of adaptation to spaceflight. Such knowledge provides insight for potential long duration human spaceflight risk mitigation strategies and potential new approaches for Earth bound biomedical problems.
|Project Manager||Nicole A. Rayl, NASA/ARC|
|Project Science Manager||Richard D. Boyle, NASA/ARC|
|Science & Program Support
|Program Support||Galina Tverskaya, Lockheed Martin, ARC|
|Contracting Officer||Justin Pane, NASA/ARC|
Bion-M1 rodent research, U.S. Principal Investigators
Jeffrey Alberts, Ph.D., Indiana University in Bloomington.
Studies of naturalistic behavior of rodents on ground and in space.
Eduardo Almeida, Ph.D., NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.
Tissue studied: Pelvis and femur (proximal ends).
Objective: Determine if a key regulatory cell-signaling pathway (p53) is responsible for space-induced arrest of normal cell proliferation.
Michael Delp Ph.D., University of Florida in Gainesville.
Tissue studied: Arteries and arterioles.
Objective: Determine whether microgravity alters arterial vascular structure and key signaling pathways in cerebral arteries, the thoracic and abdominal aorta, mesenteric arteries, femoral arteries, and soleus and gastrocnemius muscle feed arteries & plantaris and medial head of gastrocnemius muscles.
Alan R Hargens, PhD., University of California, San Diego.
Tissue studied: Spinal column.
Objective: Determine if intervertebral disc morphology, cell content, swelling pressure, and glycosaminoglycan and proteoglycan concentrations will significantly decrease following exposure to space flight.
Larry Hoffman Ph.D., Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Tissue studied: Inner ears (temporal bone).
Objective: Determine if exposure to microgravity induces synaptic plasticity in the utriculi and sacculi and determine if the readily releasable pool of vesicles at the active zone of utricular hair cell synapses are hemifused to the presynaptic membrane, and this pool of vesicles is labile to changes in the ambient gravitational environment.
David Fitzgerald Ph.D., Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.
Tissue studied: articulating knee joints and elbow joints.
Objective: Determine if the reduced biomechanical forces due to microgravity impair the ability of chondrocytes to maintain healthy articular cartilage, leading to increased cartilage breakdown.
Maija Mednicks, Ph.D., University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington.
Tissue studied: Salivary and parotid glands.
Objective: Determine if extended weightlessness alters salivary glands.
Joseph S. Tash, Ph.D., University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City.
Tissue studied: Reproductive organs (testes and epididymides).
Objective: Determine microgravity influences on sperm production, motility, and male reproductive health in mice.
Stavros Thomopoulos Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis.
Tissue studied: supraspinatus humerus-rotator cuff and Achilles tendon – bone unit.
Objective: Examine the effect of prolonged weightlessness on the biology of tendons and their insertions into bone.