Genes in Space Student Experiment Headed to International Space Station

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL. (April 1, 2016) – Anna-Sophia Boguraev’s (17) winning Genes in Space student experiment is scheduled for launch to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 8th from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida aboard NASA’s Cargo Resupply Services flight (CRS-8). Her experiment will assess if changes in DNA can be detected aboard the ISS.

The goal of the experiment is to establish whether genetic changes to DNA and the weakened immune system observed in astronauts are linked. Finding the cause for the weakened immune systems of crews is an important step in safeguarding health for long duration missions, such as the three year mission to Mars. This will be one of the first experiments ever to use advanced DNA detection technologies in orbit.

By seeking to test gene regulation in orbit, Boguraev’s experiment may open the door to assessing astronaut health directly during space flight, including genetic changes that could lead to cancer, neurological disorders, and developmental abnormalities. Results of this experiment could aid in the detection of immune system alterations that lead to increased susceptibility to autoimmune disease, allergies and other diseases in space.

Boguraev’s investigation launches just weeks after NASA astronaut Scott Kelly’s historic return to Earth after 340 days in space. The ISS acts as a spring board for deep space exploration by conducting cutting edge research and technology development that enables deep space exploration, as well as advance scientific knowledge in Earth, physical and biological sciences. 

The Genes in Space contest is a national STEM competition that challenges students in grades seven through 12 to propose DNA experiments to solve a space exploration problem using the unique environment of the ISS. 

The annual competition is a partnership between Boeing, Math for America (MƒA), miniPCR, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), New England Biolabs®, Inc. (NEB®), and its sponsor FedEx.

The miniPCR DNA analysis technology used in this experiment, will remain onboard ISS as part of the Boeing Science Enrichment & Engagement Kit for future research projects. The machine’s portability, given its small mass and footprint, makes it ideally suited for space travel and for enabling DNA analysis aboard the ISS.

The U.S. competition is accepting student research projects for 2016. Submissions are open until April 20th. To learn more, visit


Boeing: Kenneth Ulmer,, 281-226-4872
CASIS: Patrick O’Neill,, 321-480-1054
Math for America: Sarah Rooney,, 646-437-0921
miniPCR: Mugdha Narasimhan,, 781-990-8727
New England Biolabs: Deana Martin, Ph. D.,, 978-380-7464


About New England Biolabs:
Established in the mid 1970's, New England Biolabs, Inc. (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. NEB continues to expand its product offerings into areas related to PCR, gene expression, sample preparation for next generation sequencing, synthetic biology, glycobiology, epigenetics and RNA analysis. Additionally, NEB is focused on strengthening alliances that enable new technologies to reach key market sectors, including molecular diagnostics development. New England Biolabs is a privately held company, headquartered in Ipswich, MA, and has extensive worldwide distribution through a network of exclusive distributors, agents and seven subsidiaries located in Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and the UK. For more information about New England Biolabs visit

NEB® and NEW ENGLAND BIOLABS® are registered trademarks of New England Biolabs, Inc.
MONARCH™ is a trademark of New England Biolabs, Inc.

Contact information:
Deana D. Martin, Ph.D.
Marketing Communications Manager
New England Biolabs
240 County Road Ipswich, MA 01938
Tel: 978-380-7464


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