Rachel Kui SURF SMART
The Multiscale Impact of Spaceflight on the Human Intervertebral Disc
As NASA prepares to send astronauts on long-duration space flight missions, it is critical that protocols are developed to mitigate the damaging effects of spaceflight on the human body. One area in need of development is spine health, as astronauts are three- to four-times more likely to experience a herniated disc than the general population. Using spaceflight and ground-based mice from the Rodent Research-10 spaceflight mission, this research project will investigate the multiscale effects of spaceflight on the intervertebral disc. Over the course of the project, skills will be practiced to characterize the material properties of the discs, examine bone microstructure, and complete an RNA sequencing analysis of the caudal discs through microCT analysis of rodent bone microstructure and mechanical testing of mouse intervertebral discs. Thus, the effects of space flight will be studied in the spinal discs of rodents to better understand the connection between spine health and space.