NanoRacks-Fremont Christian School-Microgravity Crystallization and Protein Coagulation Research Comparison (NanoRacks-FCC-Coagulation Crystallization) - 11.22.16

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
On Earth, protein crystallization and coagulation are involved in a variety of important biological processes, from blood clotting to the protein plaques involved in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson‘s diseases. Crystallization and protein coagulation processes are different in microgravity, and students from Fremont Christian School are performing experiments in space and on Earth to compare these differences. NanoRacks-Fremont Christian School-Microgravity Crystallization and Protein Coagulation Research Comparison (NanoRacks-FCC-Coagulation Crystallization) studies coagulation of powdered milk in vinegar and crystallization of meat tenderizer in water.
 
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Matthew Miller, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: NanoRacks Module-22 S/N 1002

Principal Investigator(s)
Fremont Christian High School , Fremont Christian High School, Fremont, CA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Matthew Miller, Fremont Christian High School, Fremont, CA, United States

Developer(s)
Fremont Christian High School, Fremont, CA, United States
NanoRacks LLC, Webster, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory Education (NLE)

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2014 - September 2014

Expeditions Assigned
39/40

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Fremont Christian School is conducting NanoRacks-Fremont Christian School-Microgravity Crystallization and Protein Coagulation Research Comparison (NanoRacks-FCC-Coagulation Crystallization), a dual experiment to compare crystallization and protein coagulation in microgravity with that on Earth. 
  • For the protein coagulation experiment, NanoRacks-FCC-Coagulation Crystallization uses powdered milk as the coagulant.  The crystallization experiment uses meat tenderizer.
  • NanoRacks-FCC-Coagulation Crystallization aims to help make initial steps for studies on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases which depend somewhat on protein formation.
     

Description
Protein coagulation is the change in proteins from a liquid to a semi-solid or solid state.  In NanoRacks-Fremont Christian School-Microgravity Crystallization and Protein Coagulation Research Comparison (NanoRacks-FCC-Coagulation Crystallization), powdered milk serves as the coagulant, both because of the ease in acquiring powdered milk and for experimental reproducibility by future investigators.

Two peristaltic pumps (RP-Q1 pumps from Takasago Electric Japan) are used to deliver a vinegar and deionized water solution to observation bags (2-layer) that are approximately 38 mm by 38 mm by 4 mm in dimension, when filled.  Coagulation tests on Earth were conducted at a range of 25 °C to 35 °C, all at 1 atm pressure, all with similar results. 

Meat tenderizer in a supersaturated solution is used for the crystallization experiment because attempts to form supersaturated rennin and protease solutions proved to require more solute than was on-hand and cost too much to be effective.  Future experiments may involve first filtering the bromelain from the salt, so as to discover how much of the crystal structure in salt and how much is bromelain (protease).

Software programming (PBasic) and electrical circuitry control the two experiments contained within the module.  Continuous power is requested for a minimum of twelve (12) hours upon turning on bus power to make sure all solutions are mixed properly.

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Applications

Space Applications
NanoRacks-FCC-Coagulation Crystallization compares protein clumping and crystallization on Earth with similar processes in space. Understanding physical differences between protein functions in gravity and microgravity has implications for medicine use in space, especially for long-duration missions.
 

Earth Applications
The investigation provides initial steps for understanding the behaviors of protein clusters, including aggregates called amyloids, which are involved in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Amyloid plaques form in the brain when certain proteins, which are normally soluble, clump together and form solid fibers. This process is involved in Alzheimer's disease. Understanding the physical processes involved in this protein clumping provides insight into degenerative brain diseases, benefiting patients on Earth.
 

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
NanoRacks Module-22 is completely autonomous and only requires installation and removal.  During actual operation, photographs and operational data are sent to investigators to track the progress of the experiments.  The project MicroLab within NanoRacks Module-22 transmits approximately 24 VGA photos with environmental data (ambient temperature and humidity) each day.  The Microlab needs to be returned to investigators, so that its contents may be examined under a microscope for structural differences between space and Earth.
Crew interaction with NanoRacks Module-22 is limited to transferring the NanoRacks locker insert from the launch vehicle to the ISS, installation and activation of the NanoRacks Frames into the EXPRESS Rack Locker, cleaning of the air inlet filter (as necessary), and data retrieval (as needed) during the mission.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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Imagery

image Offset view of Student-Designed and Wired Printed Circuit Board (PCB) for NanoRacks-Fremont Christian School-Microgravity Crystallization and Protein Coagulation Research Comparison (NanoRacks-FCC-Coagulation Crystallization).  Image courtesy of Fremont Christian School.
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image Side view of Takasago RP-Q1 micro-pump and silicone tubing in the NanoRacks-Fremont Christian School-Microgravity Crystallization and Protein Coagulation Research Comparison (NanoRacks-FCC-Coagulation Crystallization) experiment.  Image courtesy of Fremont Christian School.
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image The NanoRacks-Fremont Christian School-Microgravity Crystallization and Protein Coagulation Research Comparison (NanoRacks-FCC-Coagulation Crystallization) investigation team.  Image courtesy of Fremont Christian High School.
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