Genes in Space Competition Launches

Students Invited to Design DNA Experiment to be Performed aboard the ISS

Cambridge, MA  – Genes in Space, a competition that fosters creativity, collaboration and critical thinking among young innovators, opened a call for entries today.

The competition challenges U.S. students in grades seven through twelve to design DNA analysis experiments that address a challenge or opportunity of space travel. Student proposals use the International Space Station (ISS) as a testbed for deep space exploration. The competition is sponsored by miniPCR, Math for America (MƒA), Boeing, The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and New England Biolabs®, Inc. (NEB®).

The winning experiment will be conducted on the ISS. Students can submit their proposals as individuals or in groups of up to four via The deadline for submissions is April 21, 2017. 

Five finalist teams will receive mentoring from world-class scientists to help refine their experiment ideas and make them feasible for space. Members of the finalist teams will gather in Washington, DC, in July 2017 to present their proposals at the ISS Research and Development Conference to a panel of scientists, educators, and technologists who will judge the entries and select a winner.

Finalists will receive a donation of a miniPCR DNA Discovery System for their educational institutions. These donations will enable the same hands-on biotech experimentation available at high-end research laboratories.

The winners will attend Space Biology Camp at New England Biolabs to prepare their experiment for space flight and witness their experiment launch.

“The Genes in Space competition gives STEM teachers a unique opportunity to help their students engage in cutting edge science,” said John Ewing, MƒA President,  “We hope all math and science teachers will participate in this breakthrough competition, encouraging their students to become science pioneers."

"We're proud to again sponsor the Genes In Space Contest and to work closely with the winner(s) to prepare their experiments for the ISS," stated Nicole Nichols, Group Leader, Amplification Product Development at NEB and 2016 Genes in Space judge. "Being involved in helping the next-generation of young scientists reach for the stars is an immensely fun and rewarding endeavor.”

“We are proud to launch the third national Genes in Space challenge to promote STEM education and offer authentic research opportunities in schools," added Dr. Ezequiel Alvarez Saavedra, miniPCR co-founder.

Anna-Sophia Boguraev from Bedford, New York won the first Genes in Space competition. Her experiment, launched in April 2016, tested effects of microgravity and cosmic radiation on the immune system and was the first PCR experiment conducted in space. Julian Rubinfien, winner of the 2016 competition, is scheduled to fly his experiment to investigate the genetic basis of accelerated aging in space in March of 2017.  

About the Sponsoring Organizations:

A unit of The Boeing Company, Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Defense, Space & Security is a $31 billion business with 53,000 employees worldwide. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.

Math for America
Math for America is a nonprofit organization that aims to make teaching a viable, rewarding, and respected career choice for the best minds in science and mathematics. The MƒA Master Teacher Fellowship achieves this goal by bringing together outstanding, experienced teachers to share knowledge, advance teaching skills, and define excellence itself. This remarkable community of teachers is changing the very landscape of science and mathematics education. MƒA offers fellowships and advocates for this model around the country, so that all students can have great math and science teachers—teachers who are true masters of the subject matter and deeply committed to the craft of teaching.

miniPCR reinvents lab technology to make science simple, accessible, and exciting, enabling everyone to experiment at the cutting edge of biology.

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)
CASIS was selected by NASA in July 2011 to maximize use of the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory through 2020. CASIS is dedicated to supporting and accelerating innovations and new discoveries that will enhance the health and wellbeing of people and our planet.

New England Biolabs, Inc. (NEB)
NEB is the industry leader in the discovery and production of enzymes for molecular biology applications and now offers the largest selection of recombinant and native enzymes for genomic research. For over 40 years, NEB has been committed to the advancement of science and science education. For more information on our products and corporate initiatives, please visit

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miniPCR: Emily Gleason,, 781-990-8727
Math for America: Sarah Rooney,, 646-437-0921
Boeing: Kelly Kaplan,, 281-226-4367
CASIS: Patrick O’Neill,, 321-480-1054
New England Biolabs: Deana Martin, Ph. D.,, 978-380-7464


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