Our research on T-cells connects with our interest in the mechanisms of cell growth and how these mechanisms are altered in conditions of spaceflight. Our current project focuses on the effects of microgravity on early T-cell signaling pathways. Earlier work by this lab demonstrated that microgravity significantly altered gene expression and identified several early activation genes that are inhibited in activated T-cells during space flight. Current work aims to identify and compare the gene expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) during T-cell activation under normal gravity and in microgravity, and compare those patterns to changes seen in aging populations. This project will be conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in the upcoming year on two separate flights.
Notably, this research is done in collaboration with a team that span international borders – our work is supported by teams at ESA, NASA, SpaceX. Additionally, this project will be the first NIH funded experiment flown on SpaceX.