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For release: 05/23/03
Release #: 03-083

Teachers and students are New York's first to prepare biological samples headed to International Space Station

Students and teachers from Bethpage High School in Long Island, N.Y. will load biological samples headed to the International Space Station as part of a NASA-funded experiment led by the University of California, Irvine. News media are invited to attend the sample-loading workshop for this education program. Interviews will be available with scientists, teachers and students.


What: Students and teachers from Bethpage High School in Long Island, N.Y. will load biological samples headed to the International Space Station as part of a NASA-funded experiment led by the University of California, Irvine.

News media are invited to attend the sample-loading workshop for this education program. Interviews will be available with scientists, teachers and students. This will be the first time students from New York have prepared samples destined for the Space Station.

More than 700 students and teachers have sent samples to the Space Station as part of the Enhanced Gaseous Nitrogen Dewar — a facility that has flown structural biology experiments four times on the Space Station. In workshops, students and teachers prepare, freeze and seal biological solutions in small tubes. These remain frozen until the Space Shuttle is able to deliver the dewar, a thermos-like container, with the enclosed samples to the Space Station. As the samples thaw, crystals form. Later, the macromolecular crystals are returned to Earth, where scientists study their structures to learn about the biochemistry of animals and plants.

The New York students were introduced to the program by way of Texas. Their teacher, Christine Healy, participated in a workshop sponsored by the Texas Space Grant Consortium. Following that experience, Miss Healy's students grew crystals and researched how these types of crystals are used for medical and scientific research.

Then the students wrote essays describing their experience. The essays were judged along with essays from students throughout Texas, and the winning New York students — Joseph Beistrich, Kevin Canzonieri, Lisa Lucente, Anthony Mole, Rahul Shah, Jackie Travers, Laura Watson and Adam Waxman — were selected to load samples destined for the Space Station.

The Enhanced Gaseous Nitrogen Dewar experiment and the student program are sponsored by the Microgravity Science and Applications Department at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and the Office of Biological and Physical Research at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The workshops are being sponsored by the high school. The students' work supports the research of Dr. Alexander McPherson of the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department of the University of California, Irvine.

Who: Workshop led by Greg Jenkins, research scientist, University of California, Irvine

When: Thursday, May 29
Recommended time for interviews: 10-11 a.m., or 2:30 p.m. EDT

Where: Bethpage High School
Room Number 205
10 Cherry Ave.
Bethpage, N.Y. 11714

Directions to Bethpage High School:
Take the Long Island Expressway (I-495) to Exit 44,Seaford Oyster Bay Expressway (Route 135) south. On Route 135, take Exit 9, Broadway. Make a right off of the exit onto Broadway. Proceed a short distance and go right at the fork onto Cherry Avenue. Bethpage High School is on the left.

To attend: News media interested in covering the event should contact the Marshall Media Relations Department at 256/544-0034 no later than May 27, 2003, or Terry Gilberti of Syntax Communications at 631/589-4000, ext. 18, or tgilberti@syntaxcom.com
For information about the school or interviews, call Christine Healy at 516/642-5426.

For supporting materials for this news release - such as photographs, fact sheets, video and audio files and more - please visit the NASA Marshall Center Newsroom Web site at:

http://www.msfc.nasa.gov/news


or to learn more about this NASA educational program, visit:

http://spacecrystal.nasa.gov/

For more information:
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