Welcome to the inaugural post of the Gilroy Lab blog. In the coming weeks, we will be chronicling the trials and tribulations involved in putting a plant biology experiment on the space station. I’m Sarah and I’ll be the main contributor, with help from my boss Simon. The lead scientist working on the project is Won-Gyu, a post-doc in the Gilroy Lab. Please check the “People” link above for more information about us.
We were thrilled that our grant proposal was funded by NASA earlier this year! We’ll be studying how plants grow in microgravity and observing the impact that the space environment has on plant gene expression. Currently, our experiment is scheduled to fly in December up to the International Space Station (ISS) on the SpaceX Dragon/F9 spacecraft. Our experiment is called: Test Of Arabidopsis Space Transcriptome, aka TOAST.
The hardware that will contain our plants was developed by NASA engineers and has been flown numerous times with great success. This hardware is called Biological Research In Canister, or BRIC for short. Hence, we will be putting TOAST in a BRIC. I will go into more detail about our idea and how we are testing it in upcoming blog posts. However, if you want information right away about our experiment and the hardware flown, then please check the “Experiment” link above.
I am looking forward to sharing our experience with you. If you have any questions, please post a comment and I will reply as soon as I can. I hope to post here at least once a week, so check back often if you are curious as to how things are going.