May 2nd, 2022

Announcing the 2022 Junior Scientist and Constellation Awardees

For the past two weeks, our team has been hard at work reading and evaluating the 602 proposals that were contributed to our 2022 competition. Our applicants inspired and impressed us with their innovative ideas, thoughtfully considered experiments, and unexpected new uses of the Genes in Space toolkit. After much conversation and debate, we are ready to confer our first set of awards.

Today, we announce the 5 Junior Scientist Awards as well as 5 Constellation Awards. In a separate post today, we named 30 semifinalists who will compete to be named Finalists and Honorable Mentions. Our Finalists and Honorable Mentions will be announced on Monday, May 16th.

All awardees will receive a prize package that includes a P51 Fluorescence Biotechnology Toolkit for their educational institution, so they can put ISS biotechnology to use in their very own classrooms.

Junior Scientist Awards

This year, we received more than 250 applications from contestants in 7th and 8th grade. Choosing just five to honor as Junior Scientist Awardees was no easy task! We are proud to introduce these talented honorees below.

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Alice Li (13) from Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Topic: Investigating molecular mechanisms of cellular senescence under microgravity during spaceflight

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Ruby Meyers (14) & Simon Meyers (14) from the Pierrepont School, Westport, CT

Topic: Investigating the role of antioxidants in mitigating oxidative stress in space.

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Ksenia Podoltseva (13) from the Country School, Madison, CT

Topic: Eye contacts to solve astronauts' vision impairment during space travel

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Priyanka Talla (12) from Robert E. Bell Middle School, Chappaqua, NY

Topic: Determining if misexpression of the PINK1 gene leads to mitochondrial dysfunction in astronauts

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Isha Venkatesh (12) from the Newman School, Boston, MA

Topic: Impact of microgravity on proteins found in neurons

Constellation Awards

Awarded to the schools responsible for the most submissions in their regions, the Constellation Awards honor a school's collective enthusiasm for space biology. Constellation Awardees receive a biotechnology prize package that includes some of the same tools used aboard the International Space Station to carry out Genes in Space experiments.

The 2022 Constellation Awardees are:

Northeast: Stuyvesant High School in New York, NY

Southeast: Arlington High School in Arlington, TN

Midwest: miRcore in Ann Arbor, MI

Southwest: Baylor College of Medicine Academy at Ryan Middle School in Houston, TX

West: Thunder Ridge Middle School in Centennial, CO

From the entire Genes in Space team: CONGRATULATIONS to all awardees! And thank you for doing your part to advance space exploration.

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