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Genes in Space Student Experiment Launches to International Space Station

Press Releases | April 17, 2017

Julian Rubinfien (16), winner of the Genes in Space competition and a junior at Stuyvesant High School, NY, will launch his DNA experiments to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 18th from Kennedy Space Center, Fla, on cargo resupply mission OA-7. The experiments will be carried out aboard the ISS using miniPCR™ technology. 

Julian’s experiments investigate the genetic underpinnings of accelerated aging in space. The first experiment will test if telomeric DNA can be copied in space. Telomeres are protective caps on the ends of chromosomes and are known to shorten in response to stress and aging. Recently, the NASA one-year mission twin study found that Astronaut Scott Kelly’s telomeres lengthened during his year in space. Julian’s experiment will examine how measuring telomeres in space could enable health monitoring of astronauts during long-term missions. 

The second experiment will test whether or not “on-the-spot” DNA-based diagnostic tests can be conducted on the ISS and will be the first of its kind in space. The work will make use of a new colorimetric LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) method from New England Biolabs®  to copy and detect specific DNA sequences. Detection of these sequences results in a change in the color of the experimental mixture.

Both experiments will use portable miniPCR™ DNA analysis technology. The ISS National Lab is a platform for cutting edge research and technology development that enables future deep space exploration. Julian was a student of MƒA Master Teacher Jessica Quenzer, who served as his mentor throughout the Genes in Space application process (pictured above).

About Genes in Space

Genes in Space is a national STEM contest that challenges students in grades seven through 12 to design DNA analysis experiments using the ISS National Lab (managed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, or CASIS.) The competition is a partnership between miniPCR, Math for America, CASIS, New England Biolabs®, Inc, Boeing and is sponsored by FedEx.

The U.S. competition is accepting student research projects for 2017. Submissions are due April 25th. Learn more at www.GenesInSpace.org.  

About the Sponsoring Organizations

Boeing

A unit of The Boeing Company, Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Defense, Space & Security is a $31 billion business with 53,000 employees worldwide. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.

Math for America

Math for America is a nonprofit organization that aims to make teaching a viable, rewarding, and respected career choice for the best minds in science and mathematics. The MƒA Master Teacher Fellowship achieves this goal by bringing together outstanding, experienced teachers to share knowledge, advance teaching skills, and define excellence itself. This remarkable community of teachers is changing the very landscape of science and mathematics education. MƒA offers fellowships and advocates for this model around the country, so that all students can have great math and science teachers—teachers who are true masters of the subject matter and deeply committed to the craft of teaching. www.MathForAmerica.org

miniPCR

miniPCR reinvents lab technology to make science simple, accessible, and exciting, enabling everyone to experiment at the cutting edge of biology. www.minipcr.com

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)

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. www.iss-casis.org

New England Biolabs, Inc. (NEB)

NEB is the industry leader in the discovery and production of enzymes for molecular biology applications and now offers the largest selection of recombinant and native enzymes for genomic research. For over 40 years, NEB has been committed to the advancement of science and science education. For more information on our products and corporate initiatives, please visit www.neb.com

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