CellBio will conduct on-orbit validation testing of the CCM-ISS incubator for cell culture experiments and biotechnology on ISS. Included in this test will be experiments that study the cell and molecular biology and function and response to the space flight environment.Principal Investigator(s)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)ISS Expedition Duration
September 2012 - March 2013
33/34Previous ISS Missions
NASA is developing a new cell biology and microbiology incubator, Bioculture System, which is based on a modification to the Cell Culture Incubator that was used to conduct experiments on over 20 Space Shuttle missions. The Bioculture System is used to conduct long duration life science experiments on ISS. Cell Bio Tech Demo is a technical test of some of the new capabilities of this incubator that supports the design of hardware subcomponents and operational capabilities. The technical demonstration is important because the new incubator is required to allow the International Space Station (ISS) Crew to aseptically access specimens and move solutions and cells between biospecimen chambers and medium feed bags without introducing contaminants that would ruin the experiment.
Cell Bio Tech Demo supports technical validation of the design of Bioculture subcomponents to support operational requirements for cell biology research in the ISS Cell Culture Module (CCM). The ISS Crew tests the operations and candidate specimen transfer subcomponents using four types of trays that have different configurations for conducting specimen transfer. Two of the Cell Bio Tech Demo Tray types are used to transfer cell medium between either a sample container and a bag or between bags to test aseptic medium transfer. One tray carries fluorescent beads in a liquid solution for transfer to an OptiCell to test moving "specimens" to an analytical container. The fourth tray type carries Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast) culture to test the candidate transfer hardware using a live specimen. The yeast are used for educational outreach, too. All but one tray uses a new type of fluid tubing (crimp tubing) that self-seals when it is cut, which are being tested for use. The use of this type of tubing allows permanent aseptic sealing of fluid lines and the establishment of one level of fluid and vapor containment.
Cell Bio Tech Demo tests the candidate fluid tubing, sample handling devices, and procedures for the development of the ISS Bioculture System. The Bioculture System will provide a unique cell and microbiology incubation system that allows short and long duration studies in the space flight environment. Thus, for the first time, scientists are able to conduct cell culture experiments using similar procedures that they use for ground research studies, such as media refeeds, cell subculture, initiation of cultures in the appropriate environment, and sampling and stowage of specimens at required time points. The key to implementing these capabilities is the ability to aseptically transfer specimens and fluids. The Bioculture System allows the Crew to access the biochambers, media bags, and sampling bags. Therefore, the abilities of the System to support good laboratory practices, similar to the ground requirements for sterility, allow for sample transfer and initiation of cultures on-orbit, and allow change out of subcomponents for replenishment of medium allows scientific experiment flexibility that has to date not been possible for space flight cell culture and microbiology experiments.Earth Applications
The Cell BioTech Demo does not have a specific Earth benefit because it is testing hardware functionality for the design of the Bioculture System. However, in the future, the Bioculture System will provide an excellent platform for both academic cell biology and microbiology research and biotechnology utilization on-orbit on ISS that will provide benefits back on Earth in areas such as neurobiology, wound healing, tissue regeneration, cancer biology, discovery biology, and drug discovery and validation.
All items flown are to be returned; temperature requirements are in the CS Form. Crew is requested to fill out the Cell Bio Tech Demo questionnaire to obtain their comments on handling of the trays and the procedures.Operational Protocols
The original CCM flew on 20 Space Shuttle sortie missions where many different aspects of cell biology was studied to understand the impact of the space flight environment on cell function and molecular biology. Past missions include, but are not limited to, NIH-C series, STL series, and commercial cell biotechnology.