Regenerative Medicine Foundation Awards ISS National Laboratory for Leadership in Stem Cell Research

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), January 25, 2019 (CASIS PR) – Last night, the Regenerative Medicine Foundation awarded the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory the foundation’s annual Leadership Award for enabling stem cell and regenerative medicine investigations onboard the orbiting laboratory. The award was presented at the 14th annual World Stem Cell Summit in Miami, Florida. Past recipients of this prestigious award include former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden and also Michael J. Fox (The Michael J. Fox Foundation has sent multiple projects to the ISS National Lab aimed at improving the understanding and treatment of Parkinson’s disease). ISS National Lab Board of Directors member Dr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

The ISS National Lab has advanced stem cell and regenerative medicine research through grants awarded from ISS National Lab requests for proposals such as the “Impact of Microgravity on Fundamental Stem Cell Properties” and “Microphysiological Systems for Organs-on-Chips Research” solicitations. Additionally, over the past two years, the ISS National Lab has collaborated with the National Institutes of Health to support tissue chip research focused on human physiology and disease.

The first flight project resulting from this collaboration, which launched on SpaceX’s 16th commercial resupply mission in December 2018, is using tissue chip technology to examine the relationship between immune aging and healing outcomes. Also in 2018, the National Science Foundation partnered with the ISS National Lab to issue new grants in the area of tissue engineering.

Moving into 2019, a variety of tissue chip investigations are slated to launch to the ISS National Lab that will explore new and innovative ways to study human cells in microgravity. Research into how living cells behave in microgravity advances our understanding of basic cell biology, which benefits the entire regenerative medicine community.

“The International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory is honored to receive the Leadership Award from the Regenerative Medicine Foundation,” said Dr. Randy Giles, chief scientist for the ISS National Lab. “The past few years have shown tremendous growth and promise relative to regenerative medicine and its impacts to human health through station research. We look forward to collaborating with entities like the World Stem Cell Summit to bring awareness to the excitement around research conducted onboard the space station to improve patient care on Earth.”

The closing plenary of the World Stem Cell Summit is titled “How Space Technology and Microgravity Will Lead to Profound Benefits to Human Health on Earth. The panel session, which will take place on Friday, January 25,1:30-3:15 p.m. EST, includes multiple ISS National Lab users who will discuss their experiences and opportunities associated with research onboard our nation’s orbiting laboratory. To learn more and register, please visit the World Stem Cell Summit website.

To learn more about stem cell and regenerative medicine research onboard the space station, view this video:

To learn more about the ISS National Lab, please visit

About the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory:

In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the ISS as the nation’s newest national laboratory to maximize its use for improving quality of life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, and advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. This unique laboratory environment is now available for use by non-NASA U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector, providing these customers access to a permanent microgravity setting, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied environments of space. The ISS National Lab is managed by the Center for the Advancement for Science in Space, under agreement with NASA.