New CSA Health Studies to Benefit Astronauts, Life on Earth

LONGUEUIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is funding eight new scientific investigations to help mitigate health risks for future space travellers and help improve the wellbeing of people on Earth.

As a complement to Canadian science already underway on the International Space Station, each study uses one of three ground-based research approaches:

Using Databases or Existing Samples from Previous Space Studies

Researcher and InstitutionStudy Topic
Dr. Frédéric Pitre, Université de MontréalAnalyzing Mars500 crew microbiomes using improved metagenomics
Dr. Richard Hughson, University of WaterlooMining data from previous CSA cardiovascular studies BP Reg and Vascular to test new hypotheses about astronauts’ cardiovascular systems

Using Non-human Organisms Such as Animals or Cells as Models for Human Biology

Researcher and InstitutionStudy Topic
Dr. Tamara Franz-Odendaal, Mount Saint Vincent UniversityUnderstanding bone loss with zebrafish larvae in a simulated microgravity environment
Dr. Odette Laneuville, University of OttawaUnderstanding shoulder overuse and preventing injuries in microgravity with mudskipper fish
Dr. Svetlana V. Komarova, McGill UniversityStudying bone loss associated with skeletal muscle changes and fluid shift in astronauts
Dr. Yeni Yucel, Unity Health TorontoUsing a research model to study space-related vision changes experienced by some astronauts

Using Space-like Conditions to Test Human Subjects

Researcher and InstitutionStudy Topic
Dr. Laurence Harris, York UniversitySelf-motion under gravity: Changes to perception systems in human subjects on Earth subjected to varying levels of gravity
Dr. Andrew Philip Blaber, Simon Fraser UniversityTesting the use of artificial gravity as a countermeasure against common space-related disturbances of cardiovascular and cerebral responses

The investigations, which include the participation of researchers from Canadian institutions, were selected from proposals submitted to Announcements of Opportunity published by the  CSA in 2019. As with all research supported by the CSA, these studies will lead to a better understanding of human spaceflight risks while also contributing to health benefits here on Earth.