June 22nd, 2022

GiS Spotlight: Junior Scientist awardee Alice Li

Each year, we honor 5 outstanding submissions from 7th and 8th graders with Junior Scientist Awards. Of the 602 submissions we received this year, more than 250 were contributed by middle schoolers, so the competition was stiff!

Today, we shine the GiS Spotlight on one JSA winner: Alice Li (13) from the Boston Latin School in Boston, MA, who wants to find out more about the impact of microgravity on the human aging process.

Alice Li cropped.jpg

What was the focus of your experiment? My topic is about the impact of microgravity on the human aging process during spaceflight, and specifically I proposed to employ cell culture approaches to study cellular senescence (a scientific term for aging) in space.

Why did you choose to participate in Genes in Space? We were learning about the Earth and space in our science class this year at school, and I became very curious about the space world. Genes in Space was the best opportunity for me to get started.

How did you choose your topic? Through reading literature, I have known that there are potential harmful consequences after one travels in space for a long time. I particularly wanted to learn more about the impact of space traveling on the aging process of humans.

What did you gain by participating in Genes in Space? I gained a more detailed understanding of the various challenges that astronauts have been encountering while exploring space. This also helped me experience the process to prepare a scientific proposal.

Do you have any advice for future Genes in Space contestants? My advice would be to pick a topic that sparks interest to you so that you will continue to enjoy reading and writing about the topic, which will eventually make the process of writing more interesting and much easier.