Bacteria in Space

December 16, 2019
Kevin Hattori

Researchers at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and partners in Italy will soon launch two experiments into space, in order to examine the effect of zero gravity on different phenomena.

The experiments will be launched from French Guinea on a European Space Agency launch. As part of a collaboration between the Israeli Space Agency at the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Italian Space Agency, they will include four experiments conducted by Space Pharma, a company that leverages miniaturized microgravity lab technology in space to enable the development of new drugs.

Each of the experiments included one Israeli and one Italian researcher.

Professor Boaz Pokroy (Credit: Technion Spokesperson)

The first experiment, named SpaceLysis, will examine the behavior of anti-microbial molecules and their effect on bacteria. It was designed by Prof. Boaz Pokroy of the Technion’s Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering, and his partner Prof. Giuseppe Falini of the University of Bologna.

The second experiment, which will examine the speed of binding of blood proteins to chemical materials, was designed by researchers from the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion and Tre University in Rome.

“On Earth, the interaction between bacteria and these substances depends on diffusion and convection, whereas in space, there will be zero convection, and so the interaction is expected to change significantly,” explained Prof. Pokroy, The researchers have already conducted the experiment on Earth, and now seek to study how zero gravity affects these interactions.

For more than a century, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology has pioneered in science and technology education and delivered world-changing impact. Proudly a global university, the Technion has long leveraged boundary-crossing collaborations to advance breakthrough research and technologies. Now with a presence in three countries, the Technion will prepare the next generation of global innovators. Technion people, ideas, and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world, innovating in fields from cancer research and sustainable energy to quantum computing and computer science to do good around the world.

The American Technion Society supports visionary education and world-changing impact through the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Based in New York City, we represent thousands of US donors, alumni, and stakeholders who invest in the Technion’s growth and innovation to advance critical research and technologies that serve the State of Israel and the global good. Over more than 75 years, our nationwide supporter network has funded new Technion scholarships, research, labs, and facilities that have helped deliver world-changing contributions and extend Technion education to campuses in three countries.