Genes in Space National STEM Competition Finalists Compete to Launch Experiment to Space

Winning student experiment will be carried out on the International Space Station

NASA astronaut Nick Hague works with the miniPCR bio DNA replicator aboard the International Space Station in 2019 to perform the Genes in Space-6 experiment. The results of the Boeing-sponsored student research were published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. (Credit: NASA)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Genes in Space PR) — Five teams of high school students were named finalists in the Genes in Space annual science competition, which challenges students from grades 7 through 12 to propose DNA analysis experiments that address real-life space exploration challenges. Founded by Boeing and miniPCR bio, Genes in Space works with the winning team to have the experiment performed aboard the International Space Station (ISS). This year, 602 teams submitted proposals to the competition.

The five finalists will present their proposals to a panel of judges at the ISS Research & Development Conference in Washington, D.C. on July 27, 2022. The judges will select a winning team and announce the result at the conclusion of the conference, on July 28.

The winner will prepare their experiment to be carried out on the ISS and will watch their experiment launch to space. Scientists from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will mentor the finalist as they prepare their presentations, and will continue to work with the winning team as they ready their experiment for implementation on the ISS.

The 2022 Finalists:

Madhav Gulati (17) & Vineeth Sendilraj (15) from Lambert High School, Suwanee, GA
Topic: Detecting Alzheimer’s disease risk from long-term space exposure

Annika Marschner (17), Nikol Miojevic (16) & Benjamin Armstead (17) from Ithaca High School, Ithaca, NY
Topic: Effect of spaceflight on neuronal growth and development

Pristine Onuoha (17) from East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill, NC
Topic: Impact of stem cell development on astronaut telomere dynamics

Claire Tsai (15) from Leland High School, San Jose, CA
Topic: Rapid non-invasive test for oxidative stress in spacefarers

Xina Wang (17), Rohit Suresh (16) & Harsha Rajkumar (17) from Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton, CA
Topic: A CRISPR-based test to analyze plant root health in space

About Genes in Space

Genes in Space is a national STEM contest that challenges students in grades 7 through 12 to design DNA analysis experiments using the ISS National Lab, a platform for cutting-edge research that enables future space exploration. The contest is a collaboration between miniPCR bio™ and ISS prime contractor Boeing, with support from the ISS National Lab and New England Biolabs®.