NCATS, CASIS Announce Funding Opportunity for Tissue Chip Research in Space

NCATS and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) are collaborating to use tissue chip technology for translational research at the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory (ISS-NL). Through its Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program, NCATS announced a new funding opportunity on Oct. 5, 2016, to leverage recent tissue-on-chip advances to modify and deploy these devices at the ISS-NL.

The goal of the Tissue Chips in Space initiative is to further refine tissue- and organ-on-chip platforms for  in-flight experiments at the ISS-NL so that scientists can better understand the role of microgravity (diminished gravity relative to Earth, often called “zero gravity”), on human health and disease and translate those findings to affect human health on Earth.

Sunrise at the International Space Station

Sunrise for the International Space Station as captured by an STS-129 crew member in 2009. (NASA Photo)

“To be able to conduct biomedical research in space using tissue chip technology provides us with unprecedented opportunities to study the effects of microgravity and reduced-gravity environments at the ISS-NL on many of the human body’s systems,” said Danilo A. Tagle, Ph.D., M.S., NCATS associate director for special initiatives and head of the Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program. “For example, it is now widely known that accelerated aging takes place in space, due to muscle wasting, osteoporosis, reduced cardiopulmonary function and immune response, but that these conditions are reversible when astronauts return to Earth.”

NCATS and CASIS intend to commit an estimated total of $3 million to fund four to five awards in fiscal year 2017.

Learn more about RFA-TR-16-019 and other Tissue Chip funding opportunities.


Posted October 2016