NanoRacks-David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy-Antibiotic Effectiveness on Escherichia Coli in Microgravity (NanoRacks-DTSMA-Effectiveness of Antibiotics) - 11.22.16

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Some bacteria grow faster and more virulent in space, but crew members have weakened immune systems in microgravity, a combination that poses a challenge for infection control on future space missions. NanoRacks-David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy-Antibiotic Effectiveness on Escherichia Coli in Microgravity (NanoRacks-DTSMA-Effectiveness of Antibiotics) studies how an antibiotic affects the growth rate of a genetically modified strain of E. coli bacteria. Results from this investigation improve efforts to use common antibacterial compounds to control infections in space.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

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

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy , David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy, Lafayette, LA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Nicolette Darjean, David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy, Carencro, LA, United States

Developer(s)
Valley Christian High School , San Jose , CA, United States
NanoRacks LLC, Webster, TX, United States
David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy, Lafayette, LA, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory Education (NLE)

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery, Earth Benefits, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2016 - September 2016

Expeditions Assigned
47/48

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • NanoRacks-David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy-Antibiotic Effectiveness on Escherichia Coli in Microgravity (NanoRacks-DTSMA-Effectiveness of Antibiotics) determines how an antibiotic affects the growth rate of pGLO genetically modified Escherichia Coli and its useful properties in microgravity compared with those on earth.
  • NanoRacks-DTSMA-Effectiveness of Antibiotics also determines if Escherichia Coli bacteria found in microgravity could be genetically modified with pGLO to establish that a sulfa based drug like Bactrim could be used and be effective on the bacteria without refrigeration.
  • The benefits of this research include being able to detect and track the presence of infectious cells found on the International Space Station and on other remote environments of space that may come in contact with humans as in this new era of space travel.
  • Another benefit is the discovery of new forms of medicine and methods to protect or enhance the human lives here on earth.

Description

While in space, astronauts have weakened immune systems. The main bacteria that they are usually exposed to are what are carried with them, so the team decided to grow Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, which is a common bacteria found in the intestinal tract of healthy humans. However, some E. coli can cause illness and can be spread by hand to mouth contact with infected persons or animals. The hypothesis for NanoRacks-David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy-Antibiotic Effectiveness on Escherichia Coli in Microgravity (NanoRacks-DTSMA-Effectiveness of Antibiotics) is that the Bactrim works on the E. coli while in space which would show that this common bacterium could still be destroyed.
 
Four miniature peristaltic pumps (RP-Q1 from Takasago Electric Japan) are used to deliver lysogeny broth (LB) and Bactrim antibiotic to two observation chambers. The dimensions of each pump are approximately 1 cm by 1 cm by 3 cm. The observation chambers are medical grade vinyl bags that hold approximately 2 mL in volume and contain lyophilized E. coli. There are 2 reservoir chambers which are medical grade vinyl plastic bags one of which holds 2 mL of LB medium and the other holds 1 mL of diluted Bactrim antibiotic. Programming and electronic interface circuitry manages the pumps, timing duration, and photo frequency.
 
Temperature needs to be around 25°C with approximately 14.7 psi. Continuous power is needed for a minimum of 3 days. Thereafter power can be momentarily interrupted without significant disruption to the experiment. The experiment is designed to function for the duration of the flight onboard the International Space Station (ISS) but it can be shut down after 15 days if needed.

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Applications

Space Applications

Infection control is crucial for safeguarding crew health on current and future space missions. This investigation studies a common antibacterial compound, Bactrim, to determine whether it works on a strain of E. coli bacteria that has been genetically modified using engineered plasmid DNA. Results provide new information about the efficiency of manipulating genes in microgravity using the pGLO plasmid method, as well as the potential benefits of a common antibiotic.

Earth Applications
Students in grades 10 through 12 at David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy designed the investigation as part of the school’s goal to promote science, technology, engineering and math among high school students. Teachers and industry mentors in Louisiana guided students in designing and finalizing the experiment, providing training and experience for the next generation of aerospace workers.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

NanoRacks Module 18 is completely autonomous and only requires installation and removal. During actual operation, photographic data is sent to the investigators to track the progress of the experiment. The first, third, and fifteenth days of the mission have the most data transmitted (VGA quality photographs along with environmental data (temperature and humidity). There are VGA quality photographs being taken every 15 minutes for the entirety of the experiment. The payload chamber needs to be returned to the researchers so its contents can be examined in a spectrophotometer.
 
Crew interaction with Module 18 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

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David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy ISS Team (from left to right)- Nicolette Darjean (Engineering Coach), Stephanie Vidrine (Environmental Science Coach), Alex Rivera, Kevin Sininan, Ethan Leblanc, Dylan Kracher, Mason Romein, Serenity Broussard, Layla Parbhoo, Nicholas Meadows, Paul Pryor, Alex Landry, Shelly Barnaba, Austin Hall, Logan Guillory, Gavin Randolph, Daylon Piper, Stacy Thibodeaux (Biomedical Sciences Coach). Image courtesy of David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy.

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Austin Hall and Ethan Leblanc in The Baton Rouge Advocate newspaper feature article about NanoRacks-David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy-Antibiotic Effectiveness on Escherichia Coli in Microgravity (NanoRacks-DTSMA-Effectiveness of Antibiotics). Image courtesy of David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy.

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David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy ISS Team Display for NanoRacks-David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy-Antibiotic Effectiveness on Escherichia Coli in Microgravity (NanoRacks-DTSMA-Effectiveness of Antibiotics) at Barnes and Noble Maker Faire in Lafayette, LA, in November 9 2015. Image courtesy of David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy.

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Gavin Randolph presenting the NanoRacks-David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy-Antibiotic Effectiveness on Escherichia Coli in Microgravity (NanoRacks-DTSMA-Effectiveness of Antibiotics) at School of Choice Fall Frenzy Expo in Lafayette, LA, on November 9, 2015. Image courtesy of David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy.

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Full Interface Test 1 for NanoRacks-David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy-Antibiotic Effectiveness on Escherichia Coli in Microgravity (NanoRacks-DTSMA-Effectiveness of Antibiotics). Image courtesy of David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy.

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Paul Pryor working on electronics and software interface for NanoRacks-David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy-Antibiotic Effectiveness on Escherichia Coli in Microgravity (NanoRacks-DTSMA-Effectiveness of Antibiotics). Image courtesy of David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy.

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Experimental bacteria samples labeled in plastic plates for NanoRacks-David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy-Antibiotic Effectiveness on Escherichia Coli in Microgravity (NanoRacks-DTSMA-Effectiveness of Antibiotics). Image courtesy of Lesie Westbrook.

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Paul and Nick Pugh, Board Chair of the Pugh Family Foundation and DTSMA Mentor, work on the NanoRacks-David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy-Antibiotic Effectiveness on Escherichia Coli in Microgravity (NanoRacks-DTSMA-Effectiveness of Antibiotics) investigation. Image courtesy of David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy.

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Nicholas Meadows works on the camera setup for the NanoRacks-David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy-Antibiotic Effectiveness on Escherichia Coli in Microgravity (NanoRacks-DTSMA-Effectiveness of Antibiotics) investigation. Image courtesy of Lesie Westbrook.

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David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy ISS Team featuring The Fonz. Image courtesy of David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy.

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