Monday, August 14, 2017

2017 Tissue Chips in Space Mission Patch Contest


Help design the mission patch for an exciting new research program on the International Space Station!


Contest Website



To design a meaningful patch, you'll need to understand the mission. Learn about tissue chips and why they're being sent to space!

Contestants are encouraged to be as creative as possible in incorporating the Tissue Chips in Space concept into their patch designs. The only limitation is that the design be submitted in JPG, PNG, or GIF file format. Get inspiration from this video showing how Marvel Comics worked with CASIS to design their mission patch!

August 9 - September 8: Submit your mission patch design (you can enter more than once!)
September 9 - 16: Vote for your favorite designs in the Gallery
September 18: Winners for each age group will be announced

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

CASIS and NCATS Announce Five Projects Selected from International Space Station Funding Opportunity Focused on Human Physiology Research

These initial grants are part of a four-year partnership to fund research onboard the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory


Kennedy Space Center, FL (June 20, 2017) — The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced five grants have been awarded in response to a funding opportunity focused on human physiology and disease onboard the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory. Data from this research — which will feature “tissue chips” (or “organs-on-chips”) — will help scientists develop and advance novel technologies to improve human health here on Earth. These initial five projects are part of a four-year collaboration through which NCATS will provide two-years of initial funding of approximately $6 million, to use tissue chip technology for translational research onboard the ISS National Laboratory. Awardees will be eligible for a subsequent two years of funding, pending availability of funds, based upon performance and achieving milestones for each project.

“The opportunity to partner with CASIS to perform tissue chip science on the International Space Station is a remarkable opportunity to understand disease and improve human health,” said NCATS Director Christopher P. Austin, M.D. “Physiological functions in the microgravity of the International Space Station will provide insights that will increase translational effectiveness on earth, including identifying novel targets for drug discovery and development.”

The NCATS grants will support the following research projects:


Lung Host Defense in Microgravity
G. Scott Worthen, M.D., Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Dan Huh, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, (PA)
Implementation Partners: Space Technology and Advanced Research Systems (STaARS) and SpacePharma Inc

There is a link between infections and the health of our immune system. Infections are commonly reported onboard spacecraft where exposure to microgravity negatively affects immune system function, but the mechanisms responsible are not well understood. The goals of this project are to test engineered microphysiological systems that model the airway and bone marrow; and to combine the models to emulate and understand the integrated immune responses of the human respiratory system in microgravity.


Organs-on-Chips as a Platform for Studying Effects of Microgravity on Human Physiology: Blood-Brain Barrier-Chip in Health and Disease
Christopher Hinojosa, M.S. and Katia Karalis, D.S., M.D, Emulate, Boston (MA)
Implementation Partner: SpaceTango

The objective of this project is to validate, optimize and further develop Emulate’s proprietary Organs-On-Chips technology platform for experimentation with human cells in space. The intent is to develop an automated platform and software to accelerate experimentation in space that will become available to the broader scientific community for studies in human physiology and disease in space. The scientific findings will provide new advancements for Earth studies in human disease and drug discovery. The Brain-Chip to be studied in microgravity is a prototype for an organ system centrally positioned in homeostasis and thus, involved in the pathogenesis of multiple types of disease including neurodegeneration, traumatic injury, and cancer.


Cartilage-Bone-Synovium Microphysiological System: Musculoskeletal Disease Biology in Space
Alan Grodzinsky, Sc.D., M.S and Murat Cirit, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (MA)
Implementation Partner: Techshot

This research focuses on a cartilage-bone-synovium joint tissue chip model to study the effects of space flight on musculoskeletal disease biology, motivated by post-traumatic osteoarthritis and bone loss. The effects of pharmacological agents to ameliorate bone and cartilage degeneration will be tested on earth and in the International Space Station, using a quantitative and high-content experimental and computational approach.



Microgravity as Model for Immunological Senescence and its Impact on Tissue Stem Cells and Regeneration
Sonja Schrepfer, M.D., Ph.D., Tobias Deuse, M.D., and Heath J. Mills, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco (CA)
Implementation Partner: Space Technology Advanced Research Systems (STaARS)

Many space-related physiological changes resemble those observed during cellular aging, including defects in bone healing, loss of cardiovascular and neurological capacity, and altered immune function. This project aims to investigate the relationship between an individual’s immune aging and healing outcomes, and to investigate the biology of aging from two directions—not only during its development in microgravity conditions but also during recovery after return to earth’s environment.



Effects of Microgravity on the Structure and Function of Proximal and Distal Tubule Microphysiological System
Jonathan Himmelfarb, M.D., and Ed Kelly, M.S, Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle (WA)
Implementation Partner: BioServe Space Technologies

When healthy, your two kidneys work together filter about 110 to 140 liters of blood to produce about 1 to 2 liters of urine every day. Dehydration or diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure impair kidney function and result in serious medical conditions including protein in the urine and kidney stones. Like osteoporosis, these conditions are even more common and follow an accelerated time-course in people living in microgravity. This project will send a kidney model to the International Space Station in order to understand how microgravity and other factors affect kidney function, and to use these discoveries to design better treatments for proteinuria, osteoporosis, and kidney stones on earth.



“Our partnership with NCATS builds upon dramatic results fostered by public and private investment in organ-on-chip research and enables these pioneering researchers the opportunity to leverage the ISS National Laboratory to further advance an integral and burgeoning area of medical discovery to improve human health on Earth,” said CASIS Deputy Chief Scientist Dr. Michael Roberts. “Additionally, through these creative and collaborative partnerships with established granting agencies like the NCATS, the ISS National Lab demonstrates that research in microgravity is a viable setting to push beyond the terrestrial limits of scientific discovery and opportunity.”

All grants and subsequent flight opportunities are contingent on final contract agreements between the award recipients, NCATS and CASIS.

For more information on the NCATS Tissue Chip for Drug Screening Program, including Tissue Chips in Space, please visit https://ncats.nih.gov/tissuechip.

To learn more about the on-orbit capabilities of the ISS National Lab, including past research initiatives and available facilities, visit www.spacestationresearch.com.


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About CASIS:  The Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is the non-profit organization selected to manage the ISS National Laboratory with a focus on enabling a new era of space research to improve life on Earth. In this innovative role, CASIS promotes and brokers a diverse range of research in life sciences, physical sciences, remote sensing, technology development, and education.

Since 2011, the ISS National Lab portfolio has included hundreds of novel research projects spanning multiple scientific disciplines, all with the intention of benefitting life on Earth. Working together with NASA, CASIS aims to advance the nation’s leadership in commercial space, pursue groundbreaking science not possible on Earth, and leverage the space station to inspire the next generation.


About the ISS National Laboratory: In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the International Space Station as the nation's newest national laboratory to maximize its use for improving life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, and advancing STEM education. This unique laboratory environment is available for use by other U.S. government agencies and by academic and private institutions, providing access to the permanent microgravity setting, vantage point in low Earth orbit, and varied environments of space.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


NIH-CASIS Coordinated Microphysiological Systems Program for Translational Research in Space (UG3/UH3)


Participating Organization(s): National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations: National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number: RFA-TR-16-019 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The purpose of this FOA is to promote the development of in vitro microphysiological systems in modeling human diseases and conditions that mimic the pathology in major organs and tissues in the human body, when exposed to the extreme environments of space, and the use of these models at the International Space Station-U.S. National Laboratory  (ISS-NL) to facilitate the assessment of biomarkers, bioavailability, efficacy, and toxicity of therapeutic agents prior to entry into clinical trials. 

Funds from the NIH will be made available through the UG3/UH3 cooperative agreement mechanism.  During the initial two-year UG3 phase, support will be provided to develop robust models that recapitulate the progression and pathology of human diseases and conditions exposed to prolonged microgravity environment.  Following administrative review, the two-year UH3 phase will build upon successful UG3 models to demonstrate the functional utility of the models for more defined experiments at the ISS-NL. It is anticipated that these studies will lead to identification of novel treatment mechanisms through better understanding of disease biology, drug screening, assessment of candidate therapies for efficacy and safety assessments, and establishing the pre-clinical foundation that will inform clinical trial design on Earth.

Application Due Date(s): December 15, 2016, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on this date.

Earliest Start Date: July 2017



Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Event Information: NIH-CASIS Coordinated Program in Tissue Chip Systems Translational Research in Space Informational Webinar


The following information is reproduced from here.


Registration is required to join this event. If you have not registered, please do so now here.

Date and time: Tuesday, September 6, 2016 1:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00) 

Description: The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) have partnered to promote a new program for research on the International Space Station United States National Laboratory (ISS-NL). This program will seek to leverage recent advances in tissue engineering and microfabrication to create microphysiological systems and organ-on-chip technology platforms that recapitulate human physiology to understand the molecular basis of human disease and/or the effectiveness of diagnostic markers and therapeutic intervention for disease treatment. 

A Notice of Intent to Publish was announced with further details on this initiative - http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-TR-16-018.html

This informational webinar will provide interested investigators an opportunity to learn more about the initiative, and meet and interact with personnel that have specific expertise in developing spaceflight experiments for the ISS-NL. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for the NIH-CASIS Coordinated Program in Tissue Chip Systems Translational Research in Space(UH2/UH3)

Notice Number: NOT-TR-16-018
Key Dates
Release Date:  July 11, 2016
Estimated Publication Date of Announcement:  August 2016 
First Estimated Application Due Date:  December 2016   
Earliest Estimated Award Date:  July 2017  
Earliest Estimated Start Date:  August 2017

Related Announcements
None    
Issued by
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

Purpose
The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) intends to promote a new initiative by publishing a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit applications for research on the International Space Station United States National Laboratory (ISS-NL). This opportunity seeks to leverage recent advances in tissue engineering and microfabrication to create microphysiological systems and organ-on-chip technology platforms that recapitulate human physiology to understand the molecular basis of human disease and/or the effectiveness of diagnostic markers and therapeutic intervention for disease treatment. NCATS and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) share a common interest in translating models of living human tissues on microchips and related novel technologies for the microfabrication of human cell-based systems to the ISS-NL to understand the molecular and cellular basis of human disease in microgravity. CASIS is the nonprofit organization responsible for managing and promoting research onboard the ISS-NL.  To that extent, NCATS and CASIS have established a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in order to promote communication and interaction among the NIH, CASIS and other research communities, specifically in relation to the NIH NCATS Tissue Chip Program, to facilitate space-related research. Translation of this research to the ISS-NL promises to accelerate the discovery of molecular mechanisms that underlie a range of common human disorders and advance understanding of therapeutic targets and treatments in a reduced fluid shear, microgravity environment that recapitulates cellular and tissue matrices of Earth.
This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects.  

This FOA will utilize the UH2/UH3 activity code. Details of the planned FOA are provided below.
An informational webinar will be hosted September 6, 2016 from 1pm to 4pm EST.  The webinar will provide interested investigators an opportunity to meet and interact with (implementation partners) personnel that have specific expertise in developing spaceflight experiments for the ISS-NL.  Additionally a website has been created, http://www.casistissuechip.blogspot.com, to facilitate discussions and distribute information relevant to this initiative.

Research Initiative Details
This Notice encourages investigators with expertise and insights into human microphysiological systems and related technologies that recapitulate human physiology and that can be used to better understand human health and disease to begin to consider applying for this new FOA.

In addition, collaborative investigations combining expertise in materials science, microfabrication, microfluidics, universal media, stem cell technology, tissue engineering, disease modeling, and  developing spaceflight experiments for the ISS-NL will be encouraged; these investigators should also begin considering applying for this application. 

Among the areas of research encouraged in this initiative are translational research examining the mechanisms that underlie the effects of diseases or conditions associated with bone and cartilage, skeletal muscle, brain, gastrointestinal tract, lung, liver, microvasculature, skin, or other tissues due to prolonged exposure to a microgravity environment, as well as research designed to improve the translation of existing knowledge of strategies for the prevention and treatment of such diseases or conditions.

It is anticipated that the UH2 phase will involve studies on ground development using tissue chip technology under a microgravity environment, flight integration, conducting experiments at the ISS-NL, and post flight analysis. Successful UH2 projects will transition into the UH3 phase for re-flight and additional experiments and analysis.

APPLICATIONS ARE NOT BEING SOLICITED AT THIS TIME.
Inquiries
Please direct all inquiries to:

Danilo A. Tagle, Ph.D.
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Telephone: 301-594-8064

Monday, April 11, 2016

Notice of Informational Seminar for NIH-CASIS Coordinated Program in Tissue Chip Systems Translational Research in Space

https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-TR-16-011.html

Notice Number: NOT-TR-16-011
Key Dates
Release Date:   April 11, 2016
Related Announcements
None    
Issued by
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS
Purpose
The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) intends to promote a new program for research on the International Space Station United States National Laboratory (ISS-NL). This program will seek to leverage recent advances in tissue engineering and microfabrication to create microphysiological systems and organ-on-chip technology platforms that recapitulate human physiology to understand the molecular basis of human disease and/or the effectiveness of diagnostic markers and therapeutic intervention for disease treatment. NCATS, NASA, and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) share a common interest in translating models of living human tissues on microchips and related novel technologies for the microfabrication of human cell-based systems to the ISS-NL to understand the molecular and cellular basis of human disease in microgravity. To that extent, NCATS and CASIS have established an MOU in order to promote communication and interaction among the NIH, CASIS and other research communities, specifically in relation to the NIH NCATS Tissue Chip Program to facilitate space-related research. Translation of this research to the ISS-NL promises to accelerate the discovery of molecular mechanisms that underlie a range of common human disorders and advance understanding of therapeutic targets and treatments in a reduced fluid shear, microgravity environment that recapitulates cellular and tissue matrices of Earth.
An informational webinar will be hosted April 28th, 2016 from 1pm to 4pm EST. The webinar will provide interested investigators an opportunity to meet and interact with personnel that have specific expertise in developing spaceflight experiments for the ISS-NL.
You must register to attend the webinar.  When you click onto the link https://nih.webex.com/nih/onstage/g.php?d=624768327&t=a, you will be asked to give your name, email, affiliation and brief description of your expertise.  You will need to complete this portion in order to join.
Inquiries
Please direct all inquiries to:
Danilo A. Tagle, Ph.D.
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Telephone: 301-594-8064
Email: danilo.tagle@nih.gov