Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Biomedical Experiments in Space

“We encourage all biomedical researchers in the U.S. interested in molecular or cellular biology, biomaterials, or telemedicine to give serious thought to possible research projects that could be done on the International Space Station (ISS)”, said Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Director of NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), and the NIH liaison to NASA.

NIH and NASA are looking to partner with researchers and scientists to design biomedical experiments that astronauts could perform on ISS. NIH is prepared to fund biomedical experiments where the experiments done in a space environment will be able to produce breakthroughs to improve human health on earth.

The ISS provides a special microgravity and radiological environment that earth-based laboratories cannot replicate. Already biomedical experiments conducted in space have addressed how bone and muscle deteriorate, how humans fight infectious disease, and how cancers grow and spread.

The ground feasibility phase (UH2) would enable investigators to focus on ground-based preparatory work that could lead up to the ISS experimental phase. The UH3 phase would prepare the experiments for launch, conduct them on the ISS, and perform the subsequent data analyses on earth.

“The ISS is an extraordinarily capable laboratory in a unique environment that has not previously been available for widespread medical research. NASA supports the NIH leadership in this promising opportunity,” said Mark Uhran, NASA’s Assistant Associate Administrator for the ISS.

A number of NIH institutes and centers are participating in the program and awards for this program are contingent upon the availability of funds. The project was announced in March and operates under a cooperative agreement called “Biomedical Research on the International Space Station” (BioMed-ISS) (UH2/UH3) (PAR-09-120). The opening date to submit an application is August 30, 2009. Letters of Intent must be received by August 31, 2009, 2010, and 2011. The application is due September 30, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

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