University Research Centers - Microbial - 1 (URC-Microbial-1) - 07.29.14
ISS Science for Everyone
Science Objectives for Everyone
University Research Centers - Microbial-1 (URC-Microbial-1) evaluates morphological and molecular changes in Escheria coli and Bacillus subtilis in microgravity.
Science Results for Everyone
Texas Southern University, Center for Bio-nanotechnology and Environmental Research (CBER), Houston, TX, United States
University of Colorado at Boulder, BioServe Space Technologies, Boulder, CO, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)
ISS Expedition Duration
October 2009 - March 2010
Previous ISS Missions
This is the first mission for the URC-Microbial-1 investigation.
- University Research Centers - Microbial - 1 (URC-Microbial-1) investigation is a proof-of-concept model providing space flight experience to stimulate and excite University Research Center scientists and students at Texas Southern University.
- The experiment will involve the study of morphological and molecular changes of Escheria coli and Bacillus subtilis microbes brought about by the space flight environment.
- Each component of the experiment is designed to be reproduced easily in the classroom providing hands-on experience to students involved.
- Postflight repeat experiments will be conducted in schools across the nation and samples from this flight experiment will also be shared among Principal Investigators in other institutions. Texas Southern University will develop courses incorporating the data into the microbiology curriculum.
The University Research Centers - Microbial - 1 (URC-Microbial-1) investigation was designed by the Center for Bio-nanotechnology and Environmental Research (CBER) University Research Center (URC) at Texas Southern University to evaluate both morphological and molecular changes in Escheria coli and Bacillus subtilis in microgravity. This study may yield novel data comparing morphological and molecular changes in E. coli bacteria to B. subtilis bacteria cultured at both 37 degrees C and ambient temperature (22 degrees C -24 degrees C) in space.
Additionally, the significance of this experiment lies in its ability to involve underrepresented minority students in the design, optimization and execution of the flight experiment. This activity will provide a unique and meaningful educational experience for students at Texas Southern University and other educational institutions. As a result of URC-Microbial-1, courses will be developed enabling the URC Microbrial-1 experimental data to be worked into the curriculum as well as allowing Texas Southern University undergraduate laboratory classes (biology and microbiology) to evaluate slides of fixed specimens brought back from space. This course will create great interest in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) community-at-large and create excitement among students at Texas Southern University and other universities about space flight potentially steering them towards careers in a STEM field.
The URC-Microbial-1 experiment will also provide the K-12 community opportunities to utilize this flight experiment as part of their classroom experience. On Earth, URC-Microbial-1 is conducted in the laboratory in near real time and the data will be made available to teachers at any point during the school year after the space flight experiments are completed. Data from the Payload Operations and Control Center will be downloaded daily while the experiment is active. The downlinked data, once received, will be uplinked to the CBER website for access by participating classrooms. Participating teachers will be provided with a teacher’s guide featuring background information, lesson plans and student activities for conducting the project in their classrooms.
This investigation is a part of a series of investigations to be conducted on board the ISS to provide the foundation for use of the ISS as a National Laboratory following assembly complete.
URC-Microbial-1 identifies ways in which microorganisms impact human health and life and allow student from underrepresented minority university toexplore research careers in space and space science.
URC-Microbial-1 are monitored through the BioServe Payload Operations and Control Center at the University of Colorado - Boulder. The space flight samples are returned to Earth for analysis.
This research flies within a Fluid Processing Apparatus (FPA) and Group Activation Pack (GAP) hardware. Each experiment utilizes four of BioServe's GAPs each of which holds 8 FPAs. The GAPs will be located inside the CGBA which maintains the samples at 37 degrees C for the duration of the experiment. After the designated growth time periods the samples will be preserved for future morphological and molecular analysis. FPAs designated for morphological studies will be fixed using paraformaldehyde, while the FPAs for molecular analysis will be stabilized with RNAlater®.
Ground Based Results Publications
Rosenzweig J, Abogunde O, Thomas K, Lawal A, Nguyen Y, Sodipe AO, Jejelowo O. Spaceflight and modeled microgravity effects on microbial growth and virulence. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 2010; 85(4): 885-891.
Texas Southern University - Center for Bio-nanotechnology and Environmental Research
Students in the Center for Bio-nanotechnology and Environmental Research at Texas Southern University prepare samples for the URC-Microbial-1 investigation. Image courtesy of Texas Southern University.
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