How NASA scientists brought real time microbial profiling to the International Space Station
11 Apr 2023

For the past two decades, microbial monitoring on the International Space Station (ISS) has relied on culture-dependent methods that require a return to Earth for analysis. However, this can create a bias towards the detection of culturable organisms and the inherent delay between sample collection and ground-based analysis.

With the rise of easy-to-use molecular-based tools in recent years, NASA scientists, Sarah Stahl-Rommel and Dr. Sarah L. Castro-Wallace, identified a means to address this bias. Together, they began developing, validating, and implementing a simplified swab-to-sequencer method of real-time microbial monitoring that could be performed onboard the ISS.

In this SelectScience® webinar, we speak with spaceflight microbiologist Sarah Stahl-Rommel to hear more about NASA’s journey from initial development to implementation, how their method has been streamlined to be completed by a non-trained crew member in an extreme environment, and how they are using customized reagents to enable environmental and human health diagnostics in real-time as future missions take them beyond low-Earth orbit.

Key learning objectives

  • Explore routes to analyzing microbial samples from extreme low-biomass environments with limited resources and stringent controls
  • Discover the benefits of switching from culture-based detection methods to molecular-based methods
  • Gain insight into designing assays with high ease-of-use for non-trained end users
  • Learn the benefits of partnering with the right suppliers during method development

Who should attend?

  • Biotechnology companies, assay developers and designers, scientists looking to develop easy-to-use molecular-based tools for use in the field, and other scientists working within the microbial detection and identification space

Certificate of attendance
All webinar participants can request a certificate of attendance, including a learning outcomes summary, for continuing education purposes.

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