The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) today opened a joint solicitation seeking projects that utilize the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory to advance tissue engineering and mechanobiology research. Through this solicitation, NSF will provide up to $1.6M in funding for multiple projects to launch to the space station under the sponsorship of the ISS National Lab.
Microgravity affects organisms—from bacteria to humans, inducing changes such as altered gene expression and DNA regulation, changes in cellular function and physiology, and 3D aggregation of cells. Research leveraging these effects can drive advances in modeling normal and pathological tissues and organs, disease diagnosis and treatment, regenerative medicine, and many other areas within the engineering and the biomedical sciences.
This joint solicitation, the sixth between CASIS and NSF focused on tissue engineering, is aimed at furthering drug discovery and therapeutic development through space-based research. Knowledge gained from such studies could have profound impacts on future research and technology development that brings value to our nation and the scientific community.
Fundamental science is a strategic focus area for the ISS National Lab, and CASIS has established powerful multiyear partnerships with government agencies such as NSF to fund research on the orbiting laboratory. NSF supports transformative research to help drive the U.S. economy, enhance national security, and maintain America’s position as a global leader in innovation.
A project awarded through a CASIS/NSF joint solicitation in 2019 was recently launched on Northrup Grumman’s 18th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the ISS. The investigation, from the University of Michigan, is examining a group of proteins and their effects on bone-forming cells, or osteoblasts, in microgravity. Such research may help improve understanding of how reduced bone loading (such as in patients on prolonged bed rest) causes bone loss. Findings from this project could help lead to new osteoporosis treatments for patients on Earth.
This solicitation follows a two-step submission process. All interested investigators must first submit an ISS National Lab Feasibility Review Form for evaluation of the concept’s operational feasibility. The deadline to submit a Feasibility Review Form is January 9, 2023. Only investigators whose concept passes the Feasibility Review Form step will be invited to submit a full proposal.
About the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory:
The International Space Station (ISS) is a one-of-a-kind laboratory that enables research and technology development not possible on Earth. As a public service enterprise, the ISS National Lab allows researchers to leverage this multiuser facility to improve life on Earth, mature space-based business models, advance science literacy in the future workforce, and expand a sustainable and scalable market in low Earth orbit. Through this orbiting national laboratory, research resources on the ISS are available to support non-NASA science, technology and education initiatives from U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS) manages the ISS National Lab, under Cooperative Agreement with NASA, facilitating access to its permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. For more information, visit www.ISSNationalLab.org.
About the U.S. National Science Foundation:
The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science, to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare, and to secure the national defense. NSF supports fundamental science and engineering research to create knowledge that transforms the future. With a 2022 fiscal year budget of $8.8B, NSF provides support for approximately 25% of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. NSF also invests in equipment and infrastructure that is needed by scientists and engineers. Examples of such major research equipment include giant optical and radio telescopes, Antarctic research sites, high-end computer facilities, ships for ocean research, sensitive detectors of subtle physical phenomena and gravitational wave observatories.