Stem Cells in Space 1280x200


Scientists have been studying the impact of space travel, and the exposure to microgravity and space radiation, on cellular and systems physiology for decades. It has long been known that the lack of gravity has degenerative effects on multiple systems including the musculo-skeletal and hematopoietic systems as well as impacting the nervous system and cellular physiology in general. Thus, the recent study of stem cells in microgravity has “taken off” to help understand these effects, how they may be counteracted, what role stem cells play, and potential terrestrial applications of the results. These series of programs will take a closer look at the study of stem and progenitor cells in space across different systems to understand the latest research and its impact. This event will take place on 9, 17, 23 November and 1 December 2021.



Afshin Beheshti, PhD
KBR at NASA Ames Research Center, USA


Joseph Wu, MD, PhD
Stanford University, USA


9 November 2021
12:00 - 13:30 EDT (view your time zone)

Space flight exposes the body and its cells to increased radiation and microgravity, conditions that can lead to many systemic and cellular changes including pre-cancerous conditions. This program will feature scientists who are studying broad molecular changes broadly in cells and those in the blood and immune system to understand how these changes occur, connections to terrestrial cancers, and potential treatments. 

Catriona Jamieson
Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD
University of California San Diego, USA
Brock Sishc
Brock Sishc, PhD
NASA Johnson Space Center, USA
Chris Mason
Chris Mason, PhD
Weill Cornell Medicine, USA
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Central Nervous System
17 November 2021
12:00 - 13:30 EDT (view your time zone)
Innovation Showcase: Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regnerative Medicine Institute

To understand neurogenesis, neurodegeneration, and the role of the immune system, scientists are sending neural stem cells and their derivatives, like organoids, into space and back. These experiments are designed to assess the impact of spaceflight on these process, model physiological and pathophysiological cellular processes, and potentially identify treatments for conditions like Parkinson’s Disease and multiple sclerosis.


Mirjana Maletic-Savatic, MD, PhD
Baylor College of Medicine, USA
Arun Sharma, PhD
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, USA
Sharmila Bhattacharya
Sharmila Bhattacharya, PhD
NASA Headquarters, USA
Valentina Fossati, PhD
New York Stem Cell Foundation, USA

Cardiovascular System
23 November 2021
12:00 - 13:30 EDT (view your time zone)

Microgravity affects the heart's ability to pump blood and the vascular network that carries it throughout the body leading to atherosclerosis-like conditions, among other issues. Multidisciplinary scientists are designing experiments on earth and in space to understand the physiology underlying these changes and designing ways to prevent them. 

Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, PhD
Columbia University, USA
Dilip Thomas, PhD
Stanford University, USA
Dorit Donoviel, PhD
Baylor College of Medicine, USA
Sharon Gerecht, PhD
Johns Hopkins University, USA

Muscle, Bone, and Bioengineering
1 December 2021
12:00 - 13:30 EDT (view your time zone)

It is well known that spaceflight and microgravity lead to changes in bone and muscle density and strength. Scientists are exploring multiple ways to model, understand and combat these changes including stem cells and microphysiological systems. 

Joseph Borg, PhD
University of Malta, Republic of Malta
Lucie Low, PhD
NCATS, National Institutes of Health, USA
Elizabeth A. Blaber, PhD
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA



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