2017 SSEP National Conference – Student Team Oral Presentations

Last update of this page: June 17, 2017, 9:58 am ET
Information still to be determined (if any) is in RED TEXT below.

This page provides descriptions of all 26 oral presentations by student teams at the 2017 SSEP National Conference.

 

Oral Presentations for the 2017 SSEP National Conference

Mission 8

Oral 1: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
School and/or District: Bishop Carroll High School
Grade levels of Team: 11 and 12

Title: Investigation of the susceptibility of Escherichia coli to ampicillin in microgravity compared to Earth gravity conditions

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 8 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Sophie Gobeil, Lauren St.Clair
Collaborators: Arlene Hufalar, Jonathan Breidfjord, Leila Lok, Michael Rozek, Jasmine Gordon

Teacher Facilitator: Amy Webster

Abstract: We investigated whether the susceptibility of Escherichia coli bacteria to ampicillin antibiotic is influenced by differing gravity conditions. Parallel E. coli populations were kept dormant in saline on Earth and in Space until D-5. At this point, a clamp was released to allow the populations to grow in nutrient broth until D-2, when they were exposed to ampicillin. There was no significant difference in the amount of E. coli that survived ampicillin exposure in microgravity compared to Earth gravity.

 

Oral 2: Vista, California – Team 1
School and/or District: Vista Magnet Middle School
Grade levels of Team: 8

Title: Microgravity’s Effect on Raphanus sativus Seed Germination

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 8 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Victoria Arseneault, Lexie Kondo, Karsyn Lee

Teacher Facilitator: Christine Bartee

Abstract: This experiment was designed to test the Raphanus Sativus seed germination in microgravity compared to the ground truth. 8 seeds in rockwool soil were activated in willow water and raw honey on A=0 in microgravity. The experiment was terminated at U-2 by a formaldehyde solution. The analysis included quantifying the number of seeds germinated. We concluded that seed germination is possible in microgravity and the number of seeds germinated in microgravity were similar to the ground truth.

 

Oral 3: Boise, Idaho
School and/or District: Treasure Valley Mathematics and Science Center
Grade levels of Team: 7

Title: Effect of Matrix Metalloproteinase-1 on Collagen Integrity in Microgravity

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 8 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Brynne Coulam, Catherine Ji

Teacher Facilitator: Dr. David Whitacre

Abstract: The enzyme Matrix Metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) underlies astronauts’ health detriments by lysing collagen. Collagen fibrils are less damaged by proteolysis when strained by physical force acting on fibril networks; we hypothesize absence of gravitational force renders a given MMP-1 amount more destructive. Phosphate-buffered Gelfoam® samples with and without MMP-1 constituted microgravity experiments; this, quadruplicated, constituted ground experiments. Electrophoresis indicated no difference between environments in cleavage of collagen’s primary structure. The Gelfoam® model was inconclusive regarding the hypothesised effect on fibrillar structure.

 

Oral 4: Suffolk County, New York – South Huntington
School and/or District: Silas Wood Sixth Grade Center, South Huntington School District
Grade levels of Team: 6

Title: The Effect of Microgravity on How Detergent plus Polymer Beads Clean a Cotton Cloth

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 8 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Hussain Babar, Dylan Cellamare, Richard Kurjanski, Leo Musitano, Stephan Tsolis, Jacob Veeder

Teacher Facilitators: Carol Kelly, Mari Scardapane

Abstract: The experiment was designed to observe the impact of microgravity on the effectiveness of polymer beads when cleaning an oil-stained cloth. On Earth, polymer beads require a minimal amount of water to be activated, expanding to trap stains. Analysis included imaging with a microscope, color wheel, black light and measuring mass. Our conclusion showed, on three of the four measures, that microgravity had no impact on the effectiveness of polymer beads when compared with the ground truth.

 

Mission 9

Oral 5: East Lyme, Connecticut
School and/or District: East Lyme Middle School
Grade levels of Team: 7

Title: Staphylococcus epidermidis Biofilms in Microgravity

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 9 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Ritisha Ande, Maddie Fraser, Ethan Moore,
Ethan Novick

Teacher Facilitator: Deborah Galasso

Abstract: This experiment measured formation of a biofilm by the bacteria Staphylococcus epidermidis on a catheter in microgravity compared to the ground truth. On U-14 freeze dried bacteria was activated with a growth media. On U-5 the growth inhibitor was introduced. The biofilm that had formed in the FME and on the catheter was harvested. A spectrophotometer was used to determine the relative bacteria counts. Our results showed that there was less biofilm formation in microgravity compared to the ground truth.

 

Oral 6: Hillsborough County, Florida
School and/or District: Mabry Elementary School, Hillsborough County Public Schools
Grade levels of Team: 5

Title: Germination of Quinoa in Space

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 9 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Jessie Babb, Serena Bassart, Mya Metheny, Julianna Tran

Teacher Facilitator: Jessica Strauss

Abstract: This experiment was designed to investigate the effects of microgravity on the growth of Quinoa seeds. Organic seeds were placed in a growing mat in one half of the test tube while sterilized water was placed in the other. Analysis included number of seeds germinated, length of seedling roots, and dried biomass of seedlings. It was determined seedling root lengths were greater in microgravity but overall biomass was greater on Earth with equal ability to grow in either location.

 

Oral 7: Fitchburg, Massachusetts
School and/or District: Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School
Grade levels of Team: 11 and 12

Title: Streptococcus mutans Production of Lactic Acid in Microgravity

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 9 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Olivia Houle, Shelby Landress
Co-Investigators: Madison Clark, Zachary Houle

Teacher Facilitator: Paula deDiego

Abstract: This experiment was designed to monitor lactic acid production of Streptococcus mutans in microgravity compared to the ground truth. Freeze-dried bacteria was activated with growth media on D-5. D-2 clamp B was opened containing the growth inhibitor. Analysis included a Lactic Acid Assay, Mass Pellet Test, Optical Density Test and gram staining microscopy. Our conclusion did not show a significant change in growth rate. However, there was a significant increase in the production of lactic acid in microgravity compared to the ground truth.

 

Oral 8: Traverse City, Michigan
School and/or District: Traverse City West Senior High School
Grade levels of Team: 10

Title: Growth of Blue-Green Algae in Space

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 9 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Sam Church, Ryan Hayes, Hayden Holmes, Robert Lohr

Teacher Facilitator: Patrick Gillespie

Abstract: This presentation is about the effects of micro gravity on blue green algae. In this experiment we found many differences between the algae that went to space and the algae that stayed on earth. Our presentation will include our purpose, procedure, data, and conclusions.

 

Oral 9: Jersey City, New Jersey
School and/or District: Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School, Jersey City Public Schools
Grade levels of Team: 10

Title: The Effect of Microgravity on Muscle Tissue Regeneration

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 9 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Srija Patcha, Hafeya Khokhar, Harshal Agrawal, Calvin Weaver

Teacher Facilitator: Maria Emma Osoria

Abstract: The aim of this experiment is to determine the effect of microgravity on adolescent pig muscle tissue regeneration with Tissue Regeneration Factor at 150 mg (TRF-150). Glucose levels, Protein levels, Dissolved Oxygen levels, pH levels, and SEM images of the control/Earth and experimental/I.S.S. samples were analyzed to quantify muscle tissue regeneration and compared to determine the effect of microgravity. The results, while inconclusive, support our hypothesis that microgravity enhances the effectiveness of TRF-150 during tissue regeneration.

 

Oral 10: Springfield, New Jersey – Team 1
School and/or District: Florence M. Gaudineer Middle School
Grade levels of Team: 8

Title: The Effects of Microgravity on the Growth of Ryegrass Seeds

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 9 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: David Ares, Jeremy Dash, Daniel Munoz
Co-Investigators: Timothy Burns, Antonio Nacci

Teacher Facilitator: Alison Gillen

Abstract: This experiment was designed to monitor the growth of Ryegrass seeds in microgravity compared to the Earth ground truth. Ryegrass seed embedded in gauze growth chamber started the germination process by the release of water at U-14. A Salt-fixative stopped the growth five days before the seeds returned to Earth. Analysis showed that the seeds in microgravity had longer roots but the germination rate was much lower than grown on Earth.

 

Oral 11: Buffalo-Niagara, New York
School and/or District: PS 74 Hamlin Park Claude and Ouida Clapp Academy
Grade levels of Team: 7 and 8

Title: Tuber Growth in Microgravity

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 9 to ISS

Principal Investigator: Gabriella Melendez
Co-Investigators: Toriana Cornwell, Shaniylah Welch

Teacher Facilitator: Andrew Franz

Abstract: This experiment was designed to monitor the effect of Microgravity on an Upstate Abundance strand of Solanum tuberosum. 12 half inch diameter seed potatoes were sent to the ISS. Two control groups included one ground in a tube (11 potatoes) and 6 ground non-tube potatoes. Analysis included starch assay, photosynthesis test, height comparison, and chromosomal DNA comparison. Our conclusion found differences in growth were probably due to the experimental tube, not space travel. At the very least, the sample size was not enough to definitively conclude.

 

Oral 12: North Charleston, South Carolina
School and/or District: Palmetto Scholars Academy
Grade levels of Team: 12

Title: How Does Spaceflight Affect the Detachment of Zinc Whiskers on Raised Access Server Room Floor Tile?

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 9 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Kayla Capitan, Gabriel Voigt

Teacher Facilitator: Kellye Voigt

Abstract: Zinc whiskers are hair-like protrusions that may form on zinc-galvanized or zinc-electroplated surfaces. If whiskers become airborne, they can land on and bridge electronic components, causing catastrophic electronic failures. This study focused on the detachment rate of zinc whiskers on a floor tile sample through its SSEP flight. Through systematic photographic analysis of the sample and the double-sided carbon fiber tape that surrounded the sample in the Type 1 FME, a significant number of detached whiskers were observed and analyzed.

 

Mission 10

Oral 13: Clark County, Nevada
School and/or District: John C. Vanderburg Elementary School, Clark County School District
Grade levels of Team: 5

Title: Soybean Germination in Microgravity

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 10 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Shani Abeyakoon, Kendall Allgower, Avery Sanford

Teacher Facilitator: William Gilluly

Abstract: This experiment, currently aboard Mission 10 to the ISS, is designed to test the germination rates of Soybeans in microgravity. We hope to show the viability of Soybeans as a sustainable dietary addition for astronauts on extended space missions because of their nutritional importance in combating the loss of bone and muscle mass. Our analysis will include a microscopic examination of the seed Coats, Cotyledons, Embryos and the Statocyte cells used by the seeds to orient in gravity.

 

Oral 14: San Antonio, Texas – Team 1
School and/or District: Southside High School, Southside ISD
Grade levels of Team: 9 and 11

Title: Antibiotic Effectiveness in Microgravity: the Good, the Bad and the Astronaut

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 10 to ISS

Principal Investigator: Alexandria Coleman
Investigator: Christianna Cosgray
Collaborators: Jonathan A. Garcia, Eberardo Rodriguez

Teacher Facilitator: Sadie Emery

Abstract: Recent research has highlighted the importance of beneficial bacteria in the overall health of the individual. This study will examine antibiotic effects on beneficial bacteria (probiotic) in microgravity and aid our understanding of how to maintain optimal health of future space explorers. Our ground-truth studies have so far shown that antibiotic numbers are lower when Lactobacillus acidophilus is grown in the presence of penicillin compared to no antibiotic. We are awaiting similar samples from microgravity for further analyses.

 

Mission 11

Oral 15: iLEAD Consortium, California – Team 1
School and/or District: iLEAD Lancaster
Grade levels of Team: 7

Title: The Effects of Microgravity on Seed Germination

Type of Experiment: Finalist Proposal, Mission 11 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Aelan Cohen, Jeremiah Childress, Veronica Flores
Advisors: Marcelo Serpe (Boise State University), CSUB Botany & Biology Dept., UCLA Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

Teacher Facilitator: Rachel Johnstone

Abstract: This experiment was designed to observe the effects of microgravity on Citrullus lanatus’(Watermelon) germination process. The germination process would begin on day two when the purified water, enhanced with liquid kelp, mix with the soil contents in volume 2. Our team would like to see if the germination rate changes within microgravity. Conditions would be replicated on earth and measured for any differences after the ISS specimen is returned. This experiment will be beneficial for future astronauts and the ISS greenhouse.

 

Oral 16: iLEAD Consortium, California – Team 2
School and/or District: iLEAD Pacoima
Grade levels of Team: 6

Title: Microgravity and Yeast

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Auguste Bacchus, Daniel Herrera, Jack Sidman, Alexii Villamar
Advisors: Jacob Cohen, Ph.D., Craig L. Peterson, Ph.D.

Teacher Facilitator: Jacob Drori

Abstract: This experiment was designed to measure the reproduction rate of S. cerevisiae in microgravity compared to reproduction rate of S. cerevisiae on Earth. The S. cerevisiae will be grown for only two days, the smallest increment of time allowed within SSEP experiment parameters. Growth will then be halted using 10% neutral buffered formalin and growth will be compared principally with hemocytometers. Any difference greater than 10% will be considered significant in this experiment.

 

Oral 17: Vista, California – Team 2
School and/or District: Vista Magnet Middle School
Grade levels of Team: 6, 7 and 8

Title: The Regeneration of Dugesia japonica in Microgravity

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11 to ISS

Principal Investigator: Evie Currington
Co-Investigators: Charlotte Currington, Isabella Ansell, Sydney Wagner, Isabel Camacho

Teacher Facilitator: Christine Bartee

Abstract: This experiment was designed to test how Dugesia japonica regenerate in microgravity
compared to the Earth ground truth. In a Type 2 FME, 10 tails will be placed in Crystal Geyser spring water in volume 1 and formaldehyde will be in volume 2 to terminate the experiment at U-14. Analysis will include quantifying the number of eyes and auricle development. We predict
that in microgravity, all of the tails will not regenerate heads due to the lack of gravity.

 

Oral 18: University System of Maryland, Maryland
School and/or District: University of Maryland, College Park
Grade levels of Team: 14 and 15

Title: The Effect of Microgravity on Bacteriophage Replication and Infectivity

Type of Experiment: Finalist Proposal, Mission 11 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Rushi Challa, Natalie Ivanina
Advisor: Dr. Daniel Nelson

Teacher Facilitators: Dr. Kenneth Frauwirth, Dr. Daniel Serrano

Abstract: Bacteria are a growing threat to the sanitation of the ISS and the health of astronauts. Typical sterilization techniques, such as antibiotics or chemical agents are not ideal for spaceflight due to toxicity to humans or resistance development. Our experiment tests potential use of bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, as a good and effective alternative to conventional sterilization techniques in space. Observed results may lead to the creation of bacteriophages that could target identified bacterial species found on the ISS.

 

Oral 19: Galloway, New Jersey
School and/or District: Stockton University
Grade levels of Team: 14

Title: Spores in Space: The Effects of Microgravity on Endomycorrhizae

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Valkyrie Falciani, Danielle Ertz
Co-Investigators: Francisca Ekekwe, Ariel Petchel, Vashti Hill, Amanda Michael

Teacher Facilitator: Tara Harmer Luke

Abstract: Long term space travel poses interesting challenges, including growing a long-term food supply. Agriculture in microgravity can be improved by studying mycorrhizae: the mutualist relationship between plants and fungi, because this relationship increases the productivity of agriculturally important plant species on Earth. In a type 3 FME Mini Lab we combine Rhizophagus intraradices, a species of arbuscular mycorrhizae with flax (Linum usitatissimum), and explore the effect of microgravity on the relationship. Any outcome provides valuable information for future space travel.

 

Oral 20: Springfield, New Jersey – Team 2
School and/or District: Florence M. Gaudineer Middle School
Grade levels of Team: 7

Title: The Effects of Microgravity on the Germination Rate of Lettuce Seeds

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Ian McLeer, Max Levy, Elisha Acosta

Teacher Facilitator: Alison Gillen

Abstract: This experiment was designed to assess the germination rate of four types of lettuce seeds in microgravity compared to the Earth ground truth. The four types of lettuce seed embedded in gauze growth chamber will start the germination process by the release of water. A fixative will stop the growth five days before the seeds return to Earth. Analysis will include the amount of growth for each variety of seeds.

 

Oral 21: Waterford, New Jersey – Team 1
School and/or District: Waterford Township School District
Grade levels of Team: 6

Title: Perfect Crystals in Space

Type of Experiment: Finalist Proposal, Mission 11 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Ryan Long, Kevin Watson
Co-Investigators: Guy DeFabrites, Matthew DeStefano, Ayden Lucas

Teacher Facilitator: Debra A. Parker

Abstract: This experiment was designed to compare the purity of a crystal grown in a microgravity environment versus an Earth grown crystal. To conduct our experiment, we wanted to use Potassium Sulfate and water. We chose the Potassium Sulfate because it would not have to heated up aboard the ISS. We wanted to see if the crystals would grow at the same rate and if they would have the same basic shape when dealing with the two different environments.

 

Oral 22: Waterford, New Jersey – Team 2
School and/or District: Waterford Township School District
Grade levels of Team: 6

Title: Galaxy Eggplants

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Ava Brennan, Marley Brennan, Hailey Reese
Co-Investigators: Abigail Baines, Angelina Mott

Teacher Facilitator: Debra A. Parker

Abstract: This experiment is designed to compare the growth rate of eggplant seeds in a microgravity environment versus the growth rate here on Earth. Will a microgravity environment shorten or lengthen the germination time? We will be using four eggplant seeds, gibberellic acid solution to promote growth, and formalin to stop the growth. We believe that the germination will be impacted by a microgravity environment.

 

Oral 23: Concord, North Carolina – Team 1
School and/or District: J.N. Fries Magnet Middle School
Grade levels of Team: 6, 7 and 8

Title: The Effect of Penicillin on the Germination on a Raphanus Sativus Seed

Type of Experiment: Finalist Proposal, Mission 11 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Claire Sexton, Mary Swayze, Kripa Patel
Collaborator: Lauren Duncan

Teacher Facilitator: Margaret Gladin

Abstract: Our experiment was constructed to test if Penicillin could be used as a growth stimulant in seed germination. The sprout growth was measured on Earth over a five day period, and then we compared the average growth of the Raphanus Sativus seeds with and without Penicillin. In microgravity, the seed would grow for five days and then be conglomerated with Formalin. The results of the Earth experiment concluded that Penicillin did not speed up the average growth of the seeds.

 

Oral 24: Concord, North Carolina – Team 2
School and/or District: J.N. Fries Magnet Middle School
Grade levels of Team: 7

Title: Gravitropism of Radish Seeds (Raphanus sativus) in Microgravity

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Zayneb Shaikh, Paige Starnes, Sreenidhi Elayaperumal
Collaborators: Amy Bowman, Todd Erickson

Teacher Facilitators: Megan McNutt, Paul Fields

Abstract: The purpose of our experiment is to find the differences in gravitropism during the germination of radish seeds in gravity and microgravity. Gravitropism is a plant’s response to the stimuli of gravity. In microgravity, we hypothesize that our radish seeds will have longer shoots and shorter roots than those of from control group. This is because the there will be no gravity for the shoot to grow against, and no gravity to for the roots to grow along with.

 

Oral 25: Burleson, Texas
School and/or District: STEAM Middle School, Burleson ISD
Grade levels of Team: 6

Title: Concrete Compressive Strength in Microgravity

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Danyel Archuleta, Cole Rose, Christian Steele

Teacher Facilitator: Mindy Quisenberry

Abstract: This experiment was designed to examine the differences between concrete compression strength when mixed and set in microgravity and concrete compression strength when mixed and set on Earth. 5.54 g Quikrete cement mixture was hydrated with 1 mL Burleson tap water to form concrete in both the flight and ground truth experiments. We will compare voids in the concrete samples from each experiment, and will also test the compression strength of each sample.

 

Oral 26: San Antonio, Texas – Team 2
School and/or District: J.L. Matthey Middle School, Southside ISD
Grade levels of Team: 8

Title: Chytrid Frog Fungus Survival in Space

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 11 to ISS

Co-Principal Investigators: Lydia Araujo, Carlos Gonzalez, Neco Jimenez

Teacher Facilitator: Robert Bryson

Abstract: The chytrid frog fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is causing a global decline of amphibians. It was discovered in 1999 but there is no cure. We hypothesized that the life cycle of the chytrid frog fungus cannot be completed in microgravity. If true, then effects of microgravity may be important to help scientists find a cure for the fungus. We have preliminary data from our ground-truth experiments. We eagerly await conducting our experiment on board the ISS later this summer.

 

 


The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which are working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space MuseumCenter for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc., are U.S. National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. Magellan Aerospace is a Canadian National Partner on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which are working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.