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National Laboratory Pathfinder - Cells (NLP-Cells)
12.05.12

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Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

Experiment Overview

This content was provided by Neil C. Talbot, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Brief Summary

National Lab Pathfinder - Cells (NLP-Cells) comprises two experiments conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). One experiment will assesses the effects of space flight on cellular replication and differentiation in cattle cells. The other experiment examines the effects of space flight on the normal differentiation and function of liver cells and bile duct (opens into the small intestine from the liver) epithelium (lining).

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Neil C. Talbot, Ph.D., Agricultural Research Services, United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD, United States
  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)

  • John Wayne Kennedy, Zero Gravity Inc, Stevensville, MD, United States
  • Developer(s)

    United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD, United States
    University of Colorado at Boulder, BioServe Space Technologies, Boulder, CO, United States
    Zero Gravity Incorporated, Stevensville, MD, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization

    National Laboratory - U.S. Department of Agriculture (NL-USDA)

    ISS Expedition Duration

    October 2008 - April 2009



    Expeditions Assigned

    18

    Previous ISS Missions

    The NLP-Cells investigation has not been performed in microgravity previously.

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • National Lab Pathfinder - Cells (NLP-Cells) is an investigation sponsored by Zero Gravity Incorporated (ZGI), one of the two companies to have signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA under the ISS National Lab. ZGI is working in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to conduct this investigation aimed at understanding the effects of microgravity on living systems.


    • This investigation comprises two experiments, one which will examine the affects of space flight on bovine (cattle) zygotes (resulting from the union of a sperm and egg). The other experiment will determines the effects of microgravity on hepatocytes (liver cells) and bile duct (opens into the small intestine from the liver) epithelium (lining).

    Description

    National Lab Pathfinder - Cells (NLP-Cells) consists of two experiments conducted by Zero Gravity Incorporated in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The first experiment will assesses the effects of space flight on cattle (bovine) zygotes (resulting from the union of a sperm and egg). .The gene expression of the bovine zygotes is assayed following short-duration (less than 20-days) space flight. Morphological observations and cell culture methodologies are used postflight to test for the continuous culture of any bovine cells that form and grow as a result of exposure to space flight.

    The second experiment examines the effects of the space flight on the normal differentiation and function of hepatocytes (liver cells) and bile duct epithelium, the two main parenchymal cell types of the liver. Cell cultures of the ARS-PICM-19 (swine liver cells) are assayed for normal growth and differentiation following a short-duration space flight.

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    Applications

    Space Applications

    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.

    Earth Applications

    The long-term goal of this project is to enhance the ability to introduce new genetic information into cells and to examine the effects of space flight on the normal differentiation and function of hepatocytes and bile duct epithelium.

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    Operations

    Operational Requirements

    NLP-Cells 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.

    Operational Protocols

    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. A time course study will be conducted where different samples are grown for varying time frames. All samples will be fixed while in orbit and brought back to Earth for analysis.

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    Results/More Information

    Information Pending

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    Related Websites
  • BioServe Space Technologies
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    Imagery

    image This image shows the Group Activation Packs (GAPs) that housed the specimens for NLP-Cells-1 for their on-orbit operations. Image courtesy of BioServe Space Technologies, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.
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    image In this image shows the Group Activation Packs (GAPs) placed into the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) which provides environmental controls from cold stowage to incubation temperatures. Image courtesy of BioServe Space Technologies, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.
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    Information provided by the investigation team to the ISS Program Scientist's Office.
    If updates are needed to the summary please contact JSC-ISS-Program-Science-Group. For other general questions regarding space station research and technology, please feel free to call our help line at 281-244-6187 or e-mail at JSC-ISS-Payloads-Helpline.