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Victoria Steiner                                                                                         April 12, 2004    

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.              

Phone: 650/604-0176



NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: News media representatives are invited to see several of NASA's state-of-the-art technologies during the Livermore LifeScience Conference at the TriValley Technology Enterprise Center on Tuesday, April 13.  The conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PDT at Wente Vineyards, 5050 Arroyo Road, Livermore, Calif. Reporters will be able to interview NASA scientists about their research projects. Media representatives interested in attending should contact Michael LaLumiere at  925/371-8651.


Several of NASA's life science technologies designed to enhance space exploration and improve the quality of life on Earth will be featured this week during a conference in Livermore, Calif.

Among the exhibits will be a 'carbon nanotube Bucky paper scaffold' developed by Dr. David Loftus of NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., in collaboration with the Stanford University School of Medicine. Created using state-of-the-art nanotechnology, this scaffold is used to grow retinal and iris cells and transplant them into the retina as a potential treatment for macular degeneration - the number one cause of blindness in the elderly.

Loftus also will exhibit a 'nanotechnology vision chip', an implantable device for restoring vision in patients suffering from age-related blindness. "Nanotechnology that could restore vision is an exciting example of how NASA science and engineering, originally intended for outer space, can return enormous dividends for everyday life here on Earth," said Loftus.

The vision chip device consists of an array of electrically conductive carbon nanotube towers grown directly on the surface of a silicon chip. The carbon nanotube towers allow signals captured from a charge-coupled device to be transmitted directly to the neural elements of the retina, to potentially restore vision.

Another exhibit will feature PureSense, which utilizes NASA science to develop solutions to support real-time detection of intentional or unintentional contamination of water and air. Developed by Craig Buxton of NASA Ames, PureSense facilitates an accelerated response and solution to the problem. The PureSense system uses sensors, telemetry techniques, computing and communication processing, and data visualization applications to detect potential threats to drinking water, including a range of biological, chemical and radioactive contaminants.

The NASA exhibit also will showcase a 'virtual glovebox' developed by NASA Ames' Biological Visualization, Imaging and Simulation Technology Center. "The virtual glovebox has great potential for experimental and tool designs and to augment crew training," said Dr. Yvonne Cagle, an astronaut and physician who serves as NASA's liaison for life sciences research on the International Space Station (ISS).

This highly advanced technology simulates the life sciences glovebox facility, an enclosed, miniature laboratory that allows astronauts to safely perform biological research aboard the ISS.

For more information about the Livermore LifeScience Conference and NASA exhibits, visit:




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