Sitemap Contact Events New Home

Database of research projects FEDRA


Research actions



Research and applications > Projectendatabanken > Database of research projects FEDRA

OptimIzation and Validation of a unique ground-based in vitro model to study space health effects (INVEST)

Research project BL/52/SA7 (Research action BL)

Persons :

  • Mme  MOREELS Marjan - Belgian Nuclear Research Centre ()
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 15/12/2018-30/6/2021

Description :


Extreme conditions during spaceflight (e.g. cosmic radiation, microgravity and psychological stress) induce specific responses in the astronaut body that will ultimately affect several organ systems. The precise nature of these health effects is not well understood. Through this networking project we aim to optimize and validate a unique ground-based in vitro model with different simulated space stressors which can further increase understanding the impact of spaceflight on leukaemia and immune changes.

The project opens new collaborations on space priorities identified in the strategies of ESA as well as the South African Space Agency (SANSA). The partnering teams have a high scientific record and are well-experienced in running (inter)national innovative projects in (particle) radiation and/ or space sciences. Within INVEST a strong focus is placed on education & training of scientific through internships, theses and courses with focus on postgraduate students. An effective dissemination and communication strategy of the research topic will also be developed (e.g. online and offline tools, presentations during scientific meetings, publications in peer-reviewed Journals, organisation of a Workshop, …).

Specific R&D cooperation topics:
Space simulated models, radiobiology, dosimetry, biophysics, cosmic radiation, stress hormones, microgravity, protons, neutrons, helium ions, cell biology, DNA damage, carcinogenesis, immunology

Expected results:
The project will result in the optimization and implementation of a unique ground-based in vitro model in which different cell types can be exposed to simulated space stressors. These simulated stressors include particle radiation (protons, helium ions and neutrons), low or partial gravity conditions, and addition of stress hormones. After validation, this ground-based model will be further used to investigate the potential impact of space conditions on leukaemia and immune system changes.

The availability of such ground-based model is scarce. Establishing such a unique model, will provide new opportunities for researchers to perform experiments in a more complex way, and will attract space biologists worldwide. Moreover, improvement of ground-based models will facilitate the development of countermeasures in order to tackle the adverse health effects observed in astronauts. Finally, this proposal would help to advance human space exploration so that we can prepare for the complex and long-term space missions beyond low-Earth orbit, including to the Moon and Mars.
Importantly, space research can also provide a better understanding of certain aspects of human health, such as ageing, trauma and disease (e.g. immune weakening and carcinogenesis). This project is highly relevant as well to improve human health on earth and for the benefit of the society in general.

About this website

Cookies policy

Personal data

© 2020 Science Policy PPS