Our research on T-cells connects with our interest in the mechanisms of cell growth and how these mechanisms are altered in conditions of spaceflight. Our current project focuses on the effects of microgracity on early T-cell signaling pathways.
During Spaceflight, astronauts steadily lose bone mass, which could be a serious obstacle to long-duration missions, such as a voyage to Mars. The laboratory investigated osteoblast growth activation in microgravity in a series of experiments in the Biorack facilty onboard the International Space Station.
The Leukin experiment flew to the ISS on the Soyuz in 2007. This research investigated the effect of altered gravity environments on the intracellular signals that induce T-cell activation and monocyte differentiation. Results from these experiments indicate that microgravity impaired T-cell activation during spaceflight by inhibiting transactivation of key early genes.
Some unsaturated fats can promote growth of prostate and colorectal tumors. Our studies on fatty acids and tumor growth elucidated the role that upregulated prostaglandin synthase 2 (PGS2), also known as cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2), plays in prostate cancer.