out of this world
2 Houston research teams to receive support from local space health organization
A Houston-based organization has named five research projects to advance the understanding of space radiation using human tissue. Two of the five projects are based in Houston.
The Translational Research Institute for Space Health, or TRISH, is based at Baylor College of Medicine and funds health research and tech for astronauts during space missions. The astronauts who are headed to the moon or further will be exposed to high Galactic Cosmic Radiation levels, and TRISH wants to learn more about the effects of GCR.
"With this solicitation, TRISH was looking for novel human-based approaches to understand better Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR) hazards, in addition to safe and effective countermeasures," says Kristin Fabre, TRISH's chief scientist, in a news release. "More than that, we sought interdisciplinary teams of scientists to carry these ideas forward. These five projects embody TRISH's approach to cutting-edge science."
The five projects are:
- Michael Weil, PhD, of Colorado State University, Colorado — Effects of chronic high LET radiation on the human heart
- Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD of Columbia University, New York — Human multi-tissue platform to study effects of space radiation and countermeasures
- Sharon Gerecht, PhD of Johns Hopkins University, Maryland — Using human stem-cell derived vascular, neural and cardiac 3D tissues to determine countermeasures for radiation
- Sarah Blutt, PhD of Baylor College of Medicine, Texas — Use of Microbial Based Countermeasures to Mitigate Radiation Induced Intestinal Damage
- Mirjana Maletic-Savatic, PhD of Baylor College of Medicine, Texas — Counteracting space radiation by targeting neurogenesis in a human brain organoid model
The researchers are tasked with simulating radiation exposure to human tissues in order to study new ways to protect astronauts from the radiation once in deep space. According to the release, the tissue and organ models will be derived from blood donated by the astronaut in order to provide him or her with customized protection that will reduce the risk to their health.
TRISH is funded by a partnership between NASA and Baylor College of Medicine, which also includes consortium partners Caltech and MIT. The organization is also a partner to NASA's Human Research Program.