February 14th, 2024

Meet our Roundtable Experts - Ask your Genes in Space Question!

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Our Genes in Space Roundtable Experts

The Genes in Space team wants to hear from you! From now through March 1st, you can submit your questions to our panel of Genes in Space Experts. We'll provide an answer directly via email. The most common questions will be answered in video interviews with our panel and posted to the Genes in Space YouTube page.

Whether you are a student looking for guidance on your project, or a teacher wondering how to make Genes in Space fit into your existing curriculum, be sure to submit your question!

Some examples of questions to consider:

  • How do I get started identifying an open research question?
  • What advice would you give to a student who loves space bio and wants to study it in college?
  • How can I use Genes in Space as an end-of-unit project for my biology students?
  • How do I figure out exactly which genetic target relates to the topic I want to study?
  • What was it like seeing an idea you thought up become a real investigation in space?
  • How does BioBits® work, and how might I use it in my experimental plan?
  • What was the most creative idea you've seen students come up with?

Read more about our panelists below:

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Pristine Onuoha is the winner of the 2022 Genes in Space contest. Her experiment studying the mechanisms of telomere lengthening observed in astronauts launched in June of 2023. She is a 19-year old college student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and working toward a career in biomedical research. She enjoys the process of discovery and is particularly passionate about genetics research related to aging and cancer. Ask her about her experience as a Genes in Space winner! Read more about Pristine.


Pam Schmidt is a recently retired award-winning veteran educator, having taught 37 years in a middle school science classroom. Pam’s passion for orchestrating authentic and engaging learning experiences for her students contributed to her being named Colorado Teacher of the Year and winner of the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence and the Milken Educator Award. She continued to hone her teaching and leadership skills by earning National Board certification and by serving as a Differentiation and a Thinking Maps coach, as well as a STEM and a JASON Project trainer.

Pam and the 8th grade science team at her school used the Genes in Space contest as the framework for their genetics and astronomy units for the past six years, encouraging all 420 of their students to develop a proposal and enter the contest. Pam has also been assisting with virtual and in-person miniPCR and Genes in Space workshops for the past two years. Read Pam's Genes in Space Lesson Plan.


Dr. Matt Smith has been a part of the Genes in Space community in mentorship roles since 2018, mentoring four total teams across various stages in the Genes in Space process. This includes mentoring students on creating and fine tuning research proposals for GiS, adapting winning experiments for the International Space Station (ISS), and working with students on writing the resultant manuscript. Ask Matt your space bio questions! Read more about Matt.