WetLab-2 performs quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) aboard the micro-gravity environment of the International Space Station in order to research how the stress of micro-gravity affects an organism’s RNA production and gene expression. This on-station qPCR allows researchers to gather information earlier and thereby allow them to modify experiments in a matter of hours rather than wait until the next flight opportunity. After a successful validation flight on SpaceX-8 and follow-up investigation on SpaceX-9, system components must now be adjusted for a new type of biological sample. Specifically, the WetLab-2 facility includes a commercial qPCR instrument (RNA SmartCycler), a sample transfer tool, and a set of fluidic modules. The fluidic modules include a sample prep module (SPM), a pipette loader, and pre-loaded PCR reaction tubes. In order to prepare the SPMs for flight, preparation and kitting of the hardware must be performed in the Clean Room. In May 2019, SpaceX-18 will bring all the WetLab-2 flight hardware to the International Space Station where the experiment will be carried out by the astronauts.


Biomedical Devices and Instrumentation | Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Molecular, Cellular, and Tissue Engineering | Other Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering


Mark Mallinson

Lab site

NASA Ames Research Center (ARC)

Funding Acknowledgement

The 2018 STEM Teacher and Researcher Program and this project have been made possible through support from Chevron (www.chevron.com), the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (www.marinesanctuary.org), the National Science Foundation through the Robert Noyce Program under Grant #1836335 and 1340110, the California State University Office of the Chancellor, and California Polytechnic State University in partnership with NASA Ames. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders.



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/star/540


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