Genes in Space Experimental Design Competition Launches

Cambridge, MA, January 13th, 2020: Genes in Space, a competition that seeks to inspire the next generation of innovators and scientists, opened a call for entries today. Genes in Space invites students in grades 7-12 to pioneer research on the International Space Station (ISS) by designing DNA experiments. The winning experiment is conducted by astronauts aboard the ISS. The contest is a collaboration between miniPCR bio and Boeing with additional support from the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, MfA, and New England Biolabs, Inc.

"Genes in Space inspires students to get involved in science and engineering by opening a door to the impossible,” said miniPCR bio’s Sebastian Kraves, co-founder of the contest. “We are proud to once more extend this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to students across the U.S.”

Genes in Space challenges students to design original DNA experiments that address real-life challenges and opportunities of space exploration. Proposals are submitted by teams of one to four students and must use the ISS as a testbed for space exploration. The contest is free to enter, and does not require equipment. The application will close April 17th, 2020.

25 awardees win prize packages including a miniPCR DNA Discovery System for their educational institutions. Five Finalist teams additionally receive mentoring from Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists and attend the 2020 ISS R&D Conference, where they present their ideas to a panel of judges. The winning team attends Space Biology Camp and watches their experiment launch into space.

“This competition has led to scientific accomplishments in low-Earth orbit that help decipher fundamental elements of health in space,” said Boeing's Scott Copeland, co-founder of Genes in Space. “Each year, students propose outstanding experiments that inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists, and contribute to a future of sustainable deep space exploration”.

Since the founding of the contest in 2015, Genes in Space has launched six student experiments to the ISS. Winning students have been responsible for significant advancements in the technical repertoire available onboard the ISS; their experiments have led to the first polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and first use of CRISPR geneediting technology in space. Students Finsam Samson and Yujie Wang of Troy, Michigan, who won Genes in Space 2019, are currently preparing their experiment on neural gene expression for a 2020 launch.

Learn more:


Media contacts:
miniPCR bio: Katy Martin,, 781-990-8727
Boeing: Carrie Arnold,, 281-226-4872


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