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3 payloads built by CU-Boulder set for launch on space shuttle Atlantis
Date:5/12/2010

for further study.

The GAPs will ride inside BioServe's Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus, an automated, suitcase-sized device developed at CU-Boulder that has been launched on more than a dozen NASA space shuttle missions, with two of the CGBA devices now on the International Space Station. BioServe is providing the hardware, integration and operations support for all Atlantis GAP experiments.

A second experiment using BioServe hardware, sponsored by Astrogenetix, Inc. headquartered in Austin, Tex., and designed by researchers at the Durham VA Medical Center in North Carolina will analyze changes in virulence of two particularly nasty strains of bacteria in the low gravity of space. One, Salmonella, can cause illness and death to humans by tainting food or water. The second, Staphylococcus, can cause a variety of infections, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA -- a growing problem in hospitals and health clinics -- because of its ability to resist antibiotics in the penicillin class of drugs.

"Water quality, food safety and disease are age-old problems on Earth," said Stodieck. Not only do these experiments have applications for keeping crew members safe by helping scientists better understand gene and protein changes in pathogens, they also could help researchers find new ways to prevent and control infectious disease."

A third experiment designed by the University of Florida will use BioServe hardware to study cell cultivation in a tropical plant known as Jatropha that produces energy-rich nuts, a popular new renewable crop for biofuels. The researchers will be looking for genes that help or hinder growth in tropical plant species to see if it could be commercially grown in "warm-temperate" areas like the southern United States.

After the launch of Atlantis, the shuttle program has two scheduled flights remaining -- Discovery September and Endeavour in November -- before the fleet
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Contact: Louis Stodieck
stodieck@colorado.edu
303-492-4010
University of Colorado at Boulder
Source:Eurekalert  

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