NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-The Effects of Microgravity on Neural Development of C. elegans (NanoRacks-VCHS-C. elegans) - 09.27.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-The Effects of Microgravity on Neural Development of C. elegans (NanoRacks-VCHS-C. elegans) is a high school science investigation of how the microgravity environment of space influences nervous system development in the nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans). As a model organism used in many biological studies and space experiments, C. elegans is bioengineered with a special genetic marker that causes its neurons glow in UV light. NanoRacks-VCHS-C. elegans grows the worms in a self-contained environment while automated cameras capture images of the worms and for comparison with control subjects on Earth.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

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

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
Valley Christian High School , Valley Christian High School, San Jose, CA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Dan Saldana, Valley Christian High School, San Jose, CA, United States

Developer(s)
NanoRacks, LLC, Webster, TX, United States
Valley Christian High School , San Jose , CA, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory Education (NLE)

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
April 2017 - September 2017

Expeditions Assigned
51/52

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Research is required to get a detailed description about the NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-The Effects of Microgravity on Neural Development of C. elegans (NanoRacks-VCHS-C. elegans) experiment in order to understand Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) and their neural structure.
  • The growth of the motor neurons and how they grow are being tested. The growth of the neurons in space to the growth of neurons on the ground are compared.
  • The research is able to demonstrate the genetic change of the C. elegans neural structure in space, and it might be able to inspire further research about genetic transformation in space.
 
 

Description

For the NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-The Effects of Microgravity on Neural Development of C. elegans (NanoRacks-VCHS-C. elegans) investigation, Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) are grown in a plastic chamber with a breathable membrane on one side to promote gas exchange. The chamber is filled with C. elegans Maintenance Medium (CeMM), which acts both as a growth medium and a food source. CeMM is replenished from a bag connected to the chamber by a pump. There is a waiting period of six weeks on the ground. During this time, the worms alternate between living and dauer stages to keep them alive. Morphological changes are determined both by pictures taken on the space station and microscopy when the module returns to Earth. After the data is gathered on Earth, it is compared to a control group.
 
The chamber with breathable membrane contains the C. elegans. The CeMM reservoir bag stores the extra CeMM. The exhaust bag is used as the overflow bag. The check valves only allow the materials to flow one way. The magnifying lenses affixed to camera. It makes the C. elegans more visible by enlarging the image. The tubes allow CeMM to enter the chamber in a sealed container. The camera takes pictures of C. elegans. The ultraviolet (UV) lights are used to see the red fluorescent protein (RFP). The pump (Takasago RP-Q1) pushes CeMM through the tubes into the chamber.
 
 

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Applications

Space Applications

NanoRacks-VCHS-C. elegans advances understanding of how the space environment affects gene expression. A better understanding of the model organism C. elegans provides constraints on future efforts to address health risks during long-term space travel. The project also generates awareness of and excitement about U.S. and international space programs by involving high school student participation.

Earth Applications

NanoRacks-VCHS-C. elegans advances understanding of nervous system development in a model organism. The results inform future studies of nervous systems and gene expression. The project also contributes to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education goals by offering high school students a hands-on learning opportunity that involves space.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
NanoRacks Black Box 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 three days have the most data transmitted (about 16 VGA quality photographs along with environmental data (humidity and temperature). Thereafter, transmission is limited to one VGA photo and environmental data per day for the duration of the flight. The payload chamber needs to be returned to the researchers so its contents can be examined under an atomic force microscope.

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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