Interstellar Biology

Add Content


Pradeep Joshi

My research investigates the coordination between cell proliferation and differentiation using C. elegans germline stem cells (GSCs) as a paradigm. Research areas: Role of microRNAs in maintaining adult GSC homeostasis and buffering noise in the underlying gene regulatory network; Non-apoptotic roles of programmed cell death regulators during cellular growth, proliferation, and reprogramming.

Cricket Wood

I participate in and support several different research projects within the lab while managing the day to day running of the lab.

Molly Kirk

I am interested in the molecular mechanisms by which complex organisms, specifically the nervous system of complex organisms, survive extreme environmental challenges. To answer these questions, I use the extremely tolerant Tardigrade, a unique invertebrate clade renowned for its ability to survive, complete desiccation, hypoxia, the vacuum of space, and radiation 1000 times the dosage of other animals! I am currently pursuing three avenues of research in the lab.

Caroline Ackley

For my thesis, I am investigating C. elegans graviperception using genetic tools and behavioral analysis. C. elegans is a fascinating model organism in neuroscience research because it uses only 302 neurons to perform a number of complex tasks. I am interested in how these networks develop consistently across individuals and the mechanisms they use to convey information such as the direction of gravity.

Ghassan Akkad

I’m interested in studying the complex relationship between space and life; more specifically how spaceflight affects biological systems. I am currently working with Dr. Joshi on two main projects. The first project involves the systematic assaying of various compounds stimulating the different modalities – taste, smell, spectral response, pH, salt concentration – for either attraction or aversion in tardigrades. The second focuses on studying certain tardigrade-specific proteins (Dsup and similar orthologs) that are associated with increased resistance to DNA damage.

Research Collaborators

Physics Department; Director, Experimental Cosmology Laboratory, Space Research Laboratory, Interstellar Center