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This image shows projections of neurons (yellow) and astrocytes (blue) from human brain organoids, with cell nuclei marked in red.
fluorescence microscopy image of astrocyte

Space Biosciences Research Branch

The principal mission of the Space Biosciences Research Branch is to advance space exploration by achieving new scientific discoveries and technological developments in the biological sciences. Relevant research and development objectives of the branch include radiation detection and biology, fundamental space biology, and the development of countermeasures to preserve human health in space.  Teams of researchers are organized around scientific disciplines critical to NASA’s bioscience missions.

Meet the Research Team about Space Biosciences Research Branch

Branch Chief

Christina Johnson, PhD

Deputy Branch Chief

Ahleah Rohr Daniel, PhD, MPH, CIH

Laboratories and Projects

Bone and Signaling Lab at Ames

Bone and Signaling Lab

The Bone and Signaling Laboratory is a multi-investigator collaborative facility that investigates the physiological responses of bone to the spaceflight environment. The current laboratory principal investigators focus their work on diverse research goals and synergize to share ideas, equipment and resources. 

Biospecimens in NBISC


The Space Biology Biospecimen Sharing Program (BSP) collects biospecimens to maximize the scientific return from biological studies and to encourage and broaden participation in space biology research. The NASA Biological Institutional Scientific Collection (NBISC) is a biorepository of non-human samples collected from NASA-funded studies.


NASA Open Science Data Repositories expands scientists' access to space-related experiments that explore the biological response of terrestrial biology to spaceflight environments. Our mission is to maximize the utilization of the valuable biological research resources and enable new discoveries.

Illustration of the BioSentinel spacecraft, flying past the Moon with the CubeSat's solar arrays fully deployed, facing the Sun.

Deep Space Biology

While ground facilities to perform space-like radiation experiments are currently available, the dynamic and unique composition of the deep space radiation environment is practically impossible to fully simulate on Earth. As we prepare to send humans on extended missions beyond low Earth orbit, it is critical to understand how persistent exposure to space radiation affects living organisms.

Countermeasures Lab

The Laboratory of Countermeasures Development is addressing key challenges associated with use of medications in spaceflight missions. We also provide assessment of long-term spaceflight on drug metabolism due to changes in the human body that are caused by exposure to space. 

GERMS simulated space microbial experiment


Research in the Gravitational Effects and Radiobiology of Microbes in Space (GERMS) group uses laboratory and computational experimentation to study the responses of microbial individuals, populations, and communities to the physical environment of spaceflight.

AI/machine learning graphic

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Computational analysis of biological data spans a variety of approaches including statistical methods, bioinformatics approaches, mathematical modeling, and artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) methods.

Planetary Protection

The search for life on other planetary bodies requires that we be sure not to bring life from Earth with us.

Radiation Biophysics Lab

Radiation Biophysics Lab

The Radiation Biophysics Lab uses computational and experimental methods to understand how ionizing radiation impacts health at the level ranging from single molecules to whole organisms.