NASA scientists are available for interviews during the American Chemical Society’s national meeting, March 13-17, 2005, in San Diego, Calif. The scientists will discuss the development of new tools to study genetic changes in microorganisms traveling in space.

Featured presenter is Dr. Antonio Ricco of the Astrobionics Program at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. Ricco is the director of the National Center for Space Biological Technologies (NCSBT) at Stanford University.

The NCSBT develops wearable human physiologic monitoring systems and advanced autonomous instrumentation for space biology research. It focuses on expanding NASA’s knowledge of the effects of microgravity, radiation, and other space-related factors on living systems. To maintain astronauts’ safety and well-being during prolonged space missions, NASA scientists and physicians need to understand the debilitating effects of the space environment, such as bone density loss, muscle atrophy, and immune system stress.

On Earth, recent advances in therapeutic treatment have resulted from a detailed understanding of biomolecular mechanisms. Conducting space studies of microorganisms with similar biology to humans may help researchers better understand how a space environment affects people’s bodies.

To arrange an interview with Ricco or other NASA researchers, contact Victoria Steiner at: 650/604-0176 or via email:

For information about the Ames Astrobionics Program on the Web, visit:

For information about the NCSBT on the Web, visit: