Education Program

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Texas Southern University
Sharin Raju performing an experiment in the lab Center for Bio-Nanotechnology and Environmental Research
Award Period: October 2008 – September 2013

The Center for Bionanotechnology and Environmental Research (CBER) was established at Texas Southern University to identify, understand and design countermeasures to mitigate the risks associated with environmental hazards that astronauts encounter while in space. CBER, a NASA University Research Center since 2008, specifically researches environmental hazards including radiation, microgravity and microorganisms, while investigating the additive, synergistic, antagonistic and confounding effects of microgravity and radiation on living organisms. While the research of CBER is closely aligned with the NASA Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate, it is relevant to all NASA mission Directorates.

CBER work is organized into four main Thrusts:
  • Radiation and Microgravity Research investigates the effects of microgravity changes and radiation at the genome, proteome, cell, tissue, organ, and organismal levels. Investigators seek to identify biomarkers of stress factors and develop countermeasures to these stress effects.
  • Space Microbiology Research analyzes the genome, proteome, growth kinetics and patterns of molecular evolution of microorganisms subjected to simulated space conditions. Changes in the morphology and virulence of organisms due to space travel are examined, and novel approaches for controlling microorganisms in confined environments are developed.
  • Biosensors, Bioinformatics, and Bio-nanotechnology Research is developing the next generation of bioassays and devices for microbe detection and monitoring, building upon current hardware being developed at various NASA Centers. Researchers are developing biosensors for pathogen and microbe detection, as well as chemo-sensors of environmental stress.
  • Workforce Development provides training opportunities for students (K-16), postdoctoral fellows, and faculty.

CBER is led by Texas Southern University and has established partnerships with Norfolk State University, Jackson State University, University of Houston, Texas A&M University, University of California Santa Cruz, Stanford University, University of Cincinnati, University of South Carolina and Loma Linda University.

The cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional program of CBER actively engages a team of faculty from the departments of biology, chemistry, mathematics; and colleges of business, education, law and public affairs to provide NASA scholars (undergraduate students) and NASA fellows (Graduate students) with training in the research thrust areas required by an increasingly competitive, computationally intensive and astrobiology focused workforce.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Adebayo Oyekan
Tel: (713) 313-4258, E-mail:

Center for Bio-Nanotechnology and Environmental Research
Texas Southern University
3100 Cleburne Avenue
Houston, TX 77004