Well… sort of!
SciCheer Dr. Wendy was recently awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to study cartilage tissue engineering on the International Space Station!
While she herself will not be going to the International Space Station (ISS), she will be sending several experiments to study cartilage cell differentiation, cartilage formation, and how cartilage processes mechanical stress. She speculates that these process will work better on the ISS, because microgravity creates a similar environment to what cartilage cells and tissues experience during human development. By learning the aspects of these processes that work better in microgravity and why, she will develop new cartilage tissue engineering strategies for Earth-based systems to try to mimic the effects of microgravity.
Did you know, this is not the first time Dr. Wendy has had science experiments performed on the ISS? She was a Co-Principal Investigator of Project MERCCURI! Project MERCCURI was a citizen science-fueled project done in partnership with the Science Cheerleaders and researchers at UC Davis to study how microbes grow in microgravity compared to Earth. In this experiment, microbes were collected from all over the country by citizen scientists. A Pop Warner cheerleading team even discovered a new species of microbe! Project MERCCURI launched in 2014 and resulted in several scientific papers, which help the science community understand how microbes may be affected on long-duration space missions.
Help us congratulate Dr. Wendy for an out-of-this-world opportunity!