The International Space Station (ISS) is home to the National Lab, providing a unique test bed for groundbreaking research. A new video series will feature the station researchers’ work, beginning with a feature on salmonella pathogens that could lead to new treatments for the disease.
Dr. Cheryl Nickerson, professor of Life Sciences, Department of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, is featured for her research of salmonella pathogens aboard the space station. Nickerson’s team discovered that the salmonella pathogen increases in virulence, or becomes a more potent version of the disease, in the microgravity environment. Salmonella infections result in 15,000 hospitalizations and 400 deaths annually in the United States.
Nickerson’s team has learned new ways in which diseases react. The team identified the genetic pathway that was turning on in the bacteria, causing the increased virulence in microgravity. Nickerson hopes that this research is the key to discovering new treatment for the disease and is continuing her research by studying new infectious disease pathogens.
This month, U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration announced the extension of the ISS until at least 2024 . In a statement about the president’s decision, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and John P. Holden, assistant to the president for Science and Technology, said: "The Obama Administration’s decision to extend its life until at least 2024 will allow us to maximize its potential, deliver critical benefits to our Nation and the world, and maintain American leadership in space … ISS extension will extend the broader flow of societal benefits from research on the Station."