Sunday, April 26, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Researcher, cheerleader to team with public on space project

By
From page A7 | December 07, 2012 |

Jonathan Eisen is a professor at the UC Davis Genome Center. Karin Higgins, UC Davis/Courtesy photo

A UC Davis microbiologist and a professional cheerleader are teaming up with “citizen scientists” to send microbes to the International Space Station and study their growth.

The project is one of eight announced Nov. 29 as winners of the International Space Station Research Competition sponsored by Space Florida and Nanoracks Inc.

The team is led by professor Jonathan Eisen at the UC Davis Genome Center and Science Cheerleader Wendy Brown, a graduate student in biomedical engineering who has cheered for the Sacramento Mountain Lions, Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Falcons. Brown will work with the Science Cheerleader organization and SciStarter.com to recruit school kids and volunteers to take part.

Participants will collect microbial samples from a wide range of environments on Earth, including sports venues, schools and homes.

Eisen’s lab will use DNA sequencing methods to identify the microbes in the samples. In addition, microbes from some of the samples will be grown in Eisen’s laboratory, packaged and flown to the International Space Station on a commercial SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, set for launch in December 2013. The crew will measure how well the microorganisms grow in orbit.

In a second arm of the project, astronauts will swab different areas of the space station itself, and the swabs will be sent to Eisen’s lab for DNA analysis.

A major goal of the project is to involve the public in science, especially people who are not normally engaged by science, Brown said. Participants will get feedback on how well their samples are doing. For example, there will be a “playoff” competition between samples from different stadiums.

“Will your sample grow faster than someone else’s?” Brown said.

For Eisen, it’s an opportunity to study the microscopic life of a unique building — the International Space Station, where astronauts live and work. With funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, his laboratory has been working on outreach and educational activities relating to DNA-based studies of “microbial ecology of the built environment.”

“If we want to engage the public in the microbial ecology of buildings, we need to find interesting buildings to work on,” he said.

The International Space Station makes an interesting comparison with buildings on Earth for several reasons, Eisen said. For example, radiation levels are higher than on the ground, and the only way new microbes can enter is through the people and equipment that get delivered via space vehicle.

The Science Cheerleaders are a group of current and former professional sports cheerleaders pursuing careers in science. They aim to overturn stereotypes, promote broad engagement in science, and encourage young women to take up careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

The other members of the project team are Russell Neches, graduate student at the Genome Center; NASA engineers and Science Cheerleader volunteers Summer Williams and Mark Severance; and Darlene Cavalier, founder of Science Cheerleaders and SciStarter.com.

Online: http://www.sciencecheerleader.com/, http://microBE.net

— UC Davis News Service

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Davis team wins world robotics championship

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
     
    Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Suspect in UCD assault arrested

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

    Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Watch them in action

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

    Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    We did it (together)!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

     
    $2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Those texts still linger

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

     
    New ways of giving locally and beyond

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

     
    Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Water, water everywhere?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

    By Our View | From Page: A12

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

    Poker proceeds help youths

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Invest in water of the future

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Anaheim, where The Force is with you

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery

    .

    Sports

    Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

     
    Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

     
    DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

    Davis Roots hires new general manager

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Comcast announces speed upgrade

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8