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MS MSI - Adverse Effects of High Energy Radiation on Astronauts’ Vestibular Balance and Immune Function during Long Term Space Missions Tougaloo College, University of Mississippi Medical Center and Johnson Space Center

The primary goal of the project is to engage Tougaloo College faculty and student in research and build research capabilities and/or research experience in Mississippi EPSCoR jurisdiction. This project addresses the adverse effects of high energy radiation on astronauts’ vestibular/balance and immune functions during long term space missions. It involves collaboration between Tougaloo College (TC), a Historically Black college located in Tougaloo, Mississippi, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC). The research activity has two specific aims. One is to investigate radiation effects on vestibular nerve fiber responses to angular and linear accelerations in rats. The other one is to investigate effects of synthetic Benzofuran-2-carboxylic acid derivatives as countermeasures for neuroprotection and immune modulation. NASA EPSCoR /MSI award made a great impact not only on faculty development and HBCU undergraduate student research training, but also helped us to develop a new course, Advanced Immunology, offered by Biology Department at Tougaloo College. This course is designed to challenge students and expose them to inquirybased immunology research related to NASA within a research laboratory setting. The course emphasizes the fundamental concepts in immunology within the context of a discussion-based lecture which was also complemented by a novel lab section that would require students to utilize the techniques learned in the areas of Microbiology and Molecular Biology to develop their own NASA related research project, such as Investigation of the effect of modulated microgravity on innate immunity. Introducing this course increased the diversity of topics covered in the biology curriculum and exposed a larger number of students to NASA research.

Students not only plan and execute their projects with the course faculty, but also participate in such activities as developing presentation skills by presenting scientific journal articles in a journal club setting, writing a research ‘paper’ based on individual research. The course is organized around preparation for graduate school in the biological sciences using current techniques developed in the EPSCoR/MSI established research laboratory along with the equipment purchased from this award. There were 17 students enrolled in this class.

In 1998 the buildings of the old Tougaloo College campus were added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Dr. Jinghe Mao, Science PI, Professor of Biology, Tougaloo College



NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014 -15

Theresa Martinez, PMP, NASA Technical Monitor, Kennedy Space Center

EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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