ATCC Products to be Used in Microgravity Experiments on the International Space Station

MSA-2003-ISS, developed in collaboration with the University of Vermont, becomes the first ATCC product in space.

Manassas, VA, United States — ATCC, the world’s premier biological materials management and standards organization, today announced that ATCC catalog item MSA-2003-ISS was sent to the International Space Station (ISS National Lab) on November 9th aboard the SpaceX CRS-29 Cargo Dragon Resupply Craft mission. In collaboration with Dr. Scott Tighe, technical director at the University of Vermont’s advanced genomics lab, ATCC Federal Solutions customized catalog item MSA-2003 into a specialized format for use in zero gravity in the ISS National Lab. The ATCC team created MSA-2003-ISS, a lyophilized whole-cell mix of 10 bacterial species contained in special tubes fitted with Space compatible Qosina septa valves for standard pipet injections by the Astronaut crew without the potential for exposure. This microbial standard was chosen for the uTitan ISS mission because of its genetic and phenotypic diversity.

“This is the first time that our products will be used in space to study microbial cells in microgravity,” said ATCC chairman and CEO Raymond H. Cypess, DVM, PhD. “Our participation in this type of pioneering research is just one more example of how we continue to raise the bar in the development and application of biomaterials, bioinformation, and reference standards used in biological research.”

The ISS National Lab orbits 248 miles above the Earth. It is a functioning research laboratory with the tools and facilities needed to translate traditional ground-based experiments into flight-ready payloads. Onboard, studies into the effects of spaceflight on living organisms enable life science research to advance pharmaceutical development and to augment Earth-based studies in fundamental biology, medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology.

MSA-2003-ISS will be used in the uTitan DNA extraction payload studies to demonstrate extraction efficiency in zero gravity. It will ultimately be sequenced using NGS technologies on Earth using the Singular G4 and Oxford Nanopore NGS systems.

“To be able to use this microbial product in space, we needed to work closely with the ATCC to fabricate the product in such a way that the ISS crew could handle it without safety concerns. Handling lyophilized material in zero gravity is a safety concern, and two levels of full containment are needed to prevent aerosolization,” said Tighe.

“Through our collaboration with the University of Vermont and the ISS National Lab, we continue to support federal agencies focused on life science research,” said Joseph Leonelli, PhD, senior vice president and general manager of ATCC Federal Solutions. “This time, we are taking our credible biological standards to incredible new heights.”

About ATCC

ATCC is a premier global biological materials and information resource and standards organization and the leading developer and supplier of authenticated cell lines, microorganisms, and associated data for academia, industry, and government. With a history of scientific contributions spanning nearly a century, ATCC offers an unmatched combination of being the world’s largest and most diverse collection of biological reference materials and data, and is a mission-driven, trusted partner that supports and encourages scientific collaboration. ATCC products, services, partnerships, and people provide the global scientific community with credible, advanced, model systems to support complex research and innovations in basic science, drug discovery, translational medicine, and public health. ATCC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with headquarters in Manassas, Virginia, and a research and technology center of excellence in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

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