June 4th, 2020

High School Students Named Finalists in National Genes in Space Competition

Five students now in the running to send DNA experiment to the International
Space Station

June 4, 2020, Boston, Massachusetts –  Five high school students were named finalists in the Genes in Space annual science competition, which challenges students from grades 7 through 12 to propose DNA analysis experiments that address real-life space exploration challenges. The winning experiment will be performed aboard the International Space Station (ISS). This year, 556 student teams submitted proposals to the national STEM competition.

The five finalists will present their proposals to a panel of judges in the Finalist Launchpad event to take place August 4-6, 2020. The panel of judges will select a winner and announce the result on August 6. For the first time ever, the finalist presentations and winner announcement will be open to anyone in the world to attend, and will stream via YouTube.

Scientists from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will mentor the finalists as they prepare their presentations. The winner will continue to work with their mentor as they ready their experiment for implementation on the ISS, and will watch their experiment launch to space.

A summary of the finalist research proposals is presented below:

2020 finalist Deepti Aggarwal

Deepti Aggarwal (14) from Troy High School, Troy, MI

Biochemistry and genetics of blood clotting in microgravity

2020 finalist Tamara Gruslova

Tamara Gruslova (16) from BASIS San Antonio Shavano, San Antonio, TX

Neurovascular impacts on astronaut cognitive function

2020 finalist Ava Hanadel

Ava Hanadel (16) from the Institute for Collaborative Education, New York, NY

Neural development and function during long-term spaceflight

2020 finalists Kristoff Misquitta

Kristoff Misquitta (17) from Stuyvesant High School, New York, NY

Personalized medicine in microgravity: Metabolism of pharmaceutical drugs

2020 finalist Alexander Popescu

Alexander Popescu (15) from North Central High School, Spokane, WA

Impact of the gut microbiome on astronaut bone density loss

About Genes in Space

Genes in Space is a national STEM contest that challenges students in grades 7 through 12 to design DNA analysis experiments using the ISS National Lab, a platform for cutting-edge research and technology development that enables future space exploration. Genes in Space accepts applications between January and April each year. The contest is a collaboration between miniPCR bio™ and ISS prime contractor Boeing, with generous support from the ISS National Lab, Math for America, and New England Biolabs®.

For more information about the Genes in Space competition and the 2020 awardees, visit www.GenesInSpace.org.

Media contacts:

miniPCR bio: Katy Martin, genesinspace@minipcr.com, +1 781-990-8727

Boeing: Carrie Arnold, carrie.l.arnold@boeing.com, +1 281-244-4257

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