Click here to learn about Academy events, publications and initiatives around COVID-19.

We are experiencing intermittent technical difficulties. At this time, you may not be able to log in, register for an event, or make a donation via the website. We appreciate your patience, and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Our site is under planned maintenance. At this time, you will not be able to log in, register for an event, or make a donation via the website. We appreciate your patience, and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Support The World's Smartest Network
×

Help the New York Academy of Sciences bring late-breaking scientific information about the COVID-19 pandemic to global audiences. Please make a tax-deductible gift today.

DONATE
This site uses cookies.
Learn more.

×

This website uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the website to operate while others offer you a better browsing experience. You give us your permission to use cookies, by continuing to use our website after you have received the cookie notification. To find out more about cookies on this website and how to change your cookie settings, see our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

We encourage you to learn more about cookies on our site in our Privacy policy and Terms of Use.

DNA surrounding planet Earth

WEBINAR

Only

Bioengineering for Space

Thursday, December 10, 2020, 11:15 AM - 4:40 PM EST

Online

Presented By

The New York Academy of Sciences

 

To successfully travel to Mars, and beyond, bioengineering in the form of gene editing and synthetic biology may be required to overcome our very human limitations. Yet these advancements in science and space exploration cannot be disentangled from several important questions. How might they disrupt our definition of what it means to be human? Who is included in conversations about what advances are necessary for space travel? What are the genetic rights of the lands we seek to inhabit? Join this meeting to hear the latest findings in space biology, intertwined with discussions that contextualize their ethical impact.

Registration

Member
$30
Nonmember Academia, Faculty, etc.
$65
Nonmember Corporate, Other
$85
Nonmember Not for Profit
$65
Nonmember Student, Undergrad, Grad, Fellow
$45
Member Student, Post-Doc, Fellow
$15

Scientific Organizing Committee

Jef Boeke, PhD
Jef Boeke, PhD

NYU Langone Health

Lisa Carnell, PhD
Lisa Carnell, PhD

NASA

R. Alta Charo, JD
R. Alta Charo, JD

University of Wisconsin Law School

Dorit Donoviel, PhD
Dorit Donoviel, PhD

Baylor College of Medicine

Christopher Mason, PhD
Christopher Mason, PhD

Weill Cornell Medicine

Nicole Rayl
Nicole Rayl

NASA

Sonya Dougal, PhD
Sonya Dougal, PhD

New York Academy of Sciences

Kari Fischer, PhD
Kari Fischer, PhD

New York Academy of Sciences

Keynote Speaker

Anousheh Ansari
Anousheh Ansari

XPRIZE Foundation

Speakers, Moderators & Panelists

R. Alta Charo, JD
R. Alta Charo, JD

University of Wisconsin Law School

Jack Gilbert
Jack Gilbert, PhD

University of California San Diego

Gioia Massa, PhD
Gioia Massa, PhD

NASA

Christopher Mason, PhD
Christopher Mason, PhD

Weill Cornell Medicine

Martine Rothblatt, PhD, JD, MBA
Martine Rothblatt, PhD, JD, MBA

United Therapeutics

John Rummel
John Rummel, PhD

Friday Harbor Partners, LLC

Eliza Strickland
Eliza Strickland

IEEE Spectrum

Harris Wang
Harris Wang, PhD

Columbia University Medical Center

Mark Weyland, MS
Mark Weyland, MS

NASA

Event Sponsors

Thursday

December 10, 2020

11:15 AM

Welcome Remarks

Speaker

Kari Fischer, PhD
New York Academy of Sciences
11:30 AM

Keynote Lecture

Speaker

Anousheh Ansari, MS
XPRIZE Foundation

Session 1: Bioengineering Ourselves

12:00 PM

Resurrecting Essential Metabolisms for Biological Self-Sufficiency

Speaker

Harris Wang, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center

Biosynthesis of amino acids account for up to 20% of all energy spent to maintain cellular function. However, the ability to produce all 20 amino acids (AA) has not been conserved during evolution as many higher eukaryotes such as humans have lost the genes/pathways needed to produce up to 9 amino acids. Instead for higher eukaryotes, these essential amino acids (EAA) must be consumed through their diet, which is ultimately derived through the food web from other bacteria, fungi and plants that can synthesize these EAAs. Beyond amino acids, a variety of other essential metabolites (i.e. vitamins, fatty acids) also need to be supplemented through diet due to missing biosynthetic functions. As such auxotrophic eukaryotes such as humans require a balanced and healthy diet. Here, I discuss our synthetic biology efforts to re-introduce missing essential biosynthetic pathways into a mammalian genome to rescue these metabolic auxotrophies. This work may have long-term food security implications in the context of climate change, and important self-sufficiency considerations for interplanetary space voyages.

12:25 PM

Space Omics

Speaker

Christopher Mason, PhD
Weill Cornell Medicine
12:50 PM

Break

1:00 PM

Pioneering Work in Organ Manufacturing and Engineering

Speaker

Martine Rothblatt, PhD, JD, MBA
United Therapeutics

Pioneering work in organ manufacturing and engineering relies upon genetic engineering to produce thoracic and abdominal organs that have potential medical applications for long-duration human settlements off of the earth. These organs are manufactured in the sense that they are produced through technological means. A key technology for organ manufacturing is the bioreactor, which is also the mainstay technology for producing biological medicines such as monoclonal antibodies. Bioreactors for organ manufacturing may be in vivo, with the organs growing inside a pig, or may be ex vivo, with the organs being nurtured or printed within devices. For all types of manufactured organs there is an opportunity to modify the genes of all of its cells in order to provide the organ with novel functionality within a transplant recipient. It is unknown for how long these modified cells would remain predominant once natural, systemic, cellular regeneration processes engage post-transplant. However, at least in the case of some immunological modifications resulting from allotransplantation, there is evidence of life-long tolerogenic utility.

1:25 PM

Panel Discussion

Speakers

Moderator: Mark Weyland, MS
NASA
R. Alta Charo, JD
University of Wisconsin Law School
Christopher Mason, PhD
Weill Cornell Medicine
Martine Rothblatt, PhD, JD, MBA
United Therapeutics
Harris Wang, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
2:25 PM

Break

Session 2: Bioengineering our Environment

2:40 PM

The Microbiome of the Built Environment: A New Way of Looking at An Old Problem

Speaker

Jack Gilbert, PhD
UCSD

The microbiology, including bacteria and fungi, of our built environment can have significant influences on our health in myriad ways, from disease burden to health promotion. However, we are only just starting to characterize many of these mechanisms. Through detailed investigation of the bacteria and fungi that inhabit our homes, hospitals, offices and the environment around us, we have built up a global map that can be used to discover novel ways of manipulating these microbial communities to promote human health and reduce disease. We have quantified the degree of impact and speed of contamination of the human microbiome in our indoor environments, the influence of pet microbes on our homes and health, and the point sources of the microbiota found in our air and water that can exacerbate diseases such as asthma and cancer. These analyses are manifold, and comprehensively integrated with building and urban science to appropriately capture the physical, chemical and biological variables that influence the colonization, succession and function of the urban microbiome. We are also exploring the forensic potential of these data, which are suggestive of unique signatures from individuals and specific environmental, animal, industrial, and commercial point sources. It is possible that these forensic signatures can be used to track microbial contamination in urban environments, or even as trace evidence for criminal activity. Through new sensors and sophisticated molecular detection tools we have designed novel interventions to reduce antibiotic resistance and virulence of bacteria that survive in our buildings. These interventions could revolutionize how buildings are designed, built and maintained.

3:05 PM

Plants in Space, Veggie, and Space Crop Production

Speaker

Gioia Massa, PhD
NASA

As astronauts venture farther from Earth, and for longer periods, food will become increasingly critical. Crop production can supplement a packaged diet to provide additional nutrients and variety for astronauts. Testing with the Veggie chamber on the International Space Station is allowing us to understand the impacts of gravity and spaceflight on crop growth and nutritional content, and the importance of plants to astronauts living and working away from our blue home planet.

3:30 PM

Break

3:40 PM

Panel Discussion

Speakers

Moderator: Eliza Strickland
IEEE Spectrum
Gioia Massa, PhD
NASA
John Rummel, PhD
SETI
Jack Gilbert, PhD
UCSD
4:40 PM

Closing Remarks and Symposium Concludes

Loading...