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SELECTBIO Conferences Flow Chemistry Summit 2021

Flow Chemistry Summit 2021 Agenda

Human Multi-Tissue Platform to Study Effects of Space Radiation and Countermeasures

Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, University Professor, Columbia University

Cosmic radiation is the most serious risk encountered during long missions to the Moon and Mars. There is a compelling need to understand the exact effects of cosmic radiation, safety thresholds, and mechanisms of various types of tissue damage, in order to develop measures for radiation protection during extended space travel. As animal models fail to recapitulate the exact mutational changes expected for astronauts, engineered human tissues and “organs-on-a-chip” are valuable tools for studying effects of radiation in vitro. We have developed bioengineered tissue platforms in which we can study radiation damage in a patient-specific setting. All tissues are derived from induced pluripotent stem cells cultured for a period of 4-6 weeks and matured to match some aspects of human physiology. We describe here the studies of radiation effects on bone marrow (a site of acute radiation damage) and cardiac muscle (a site of chronic radiation damage). To this end, we investigated the effects of simulated high-LET cosmic ray exposures, both acute and protracted, on human tissues connected by vascular perfusion. We propose that the engineered human tissue systems can provide test beds for radioprotective therapeutics to mitigate radiation damage during space exploration.