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Upcoming Events
9/15/2015
- Open House
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
 
School Announcements
TVMSC is going to space!!!
It is now official that the 'Effect of Matrix Metalloproteinase-1 on Collagen Integrity in Microgravity' experiment designed and submitted by TVMSC students, Brynne Coulam and Catherine Ji has been selected as a finalist for the 'Student Space Flight Experiments Program' (SSEP) Mission 8 to the International Space Station from Boise, ID.  The projected launch window for Mission-8 is currently set for late 2015.


This team would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank the generous support and advice received from Dr. Julia Oxford at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho and Dr. David Granville at University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, who have generously donated their time and expertise to guide and support the work of these young researchers. The Proposal Summary for their research is as follows:
 
Proposal Title: Effect of Matrix Metalloproteinase-1 on Collagen Integrity in Microgravity
Grade Level of Submitting Student Team: 7
Submitting School: Treasure Valley Math and Science
Submitting School District: Boise School District
Submitting Teacher Facilitator: Dr. David Whitacre
Student Team Members - Principle Investigators: Brynne Coulam (grade 7) and Catherine Ji (grade 7)

Proposal Summary: "Rapid skin aging, impaired wound healing, and bone loss are harmful conditions that astronauts experience after exposure to microgravity (Blaber, 2010; Vernikos, 2010). Matrix Metalloproteinase­1 (MMP­1), which is released into the extracellular matrix because of microgravity induced oxidative stress, is crucial to these phenomena, since it cleaves collagen, an essential component of skin, cartilage, and bones (Nagase, 2006). In our experiment, collagen will be submerged in physiological buffer with and without MMP­1 in microgravity and concurrently on Earth. Collagen destruction (a potential marker of adverse health effects from space) will be assessed from both environments at the end of six weeks to derive and compare the amount of MMP­1 induced cleavage per given amount of MMP­1. We hypothesize there will be higher collagen cleaving per unit MMP­1 in microgravity than on Earth.  Results will be analyzed by: collagen weight measurements taken after lyophilization, imaging using a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and quantification of structural change via Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate PolyAcrylamide Gel Electrophoresis (SDS­PAGE). To our knowledge, our experiment is the first to compare collagenolysis per unit MMP­1 in microgravity and on Earth. Since collagen is integral to the structure of connective tissue (skin, tendon, bone, cartilage, vessels, and basement membranes) (Chung, 2004), elucidation of collagen degradation rate will aid the current understanding of astronauts’ ailments. Our experiment will bring medicine closer to mitigating these ailments in the future, and will advance the sciences of mechanotransduction and tensegrity by examining the effects of external mechanical forces (chiefly gravity) on cellular structure."
 
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) National Team sends heartfelt congratulations to all student teams that submitted finalist proposals in response to the SSEP Mission 8 to the International Space Station flight experiment opportunity! Over 3,290 students were fully engaged in experiment design and a total of 708 student proposals were submitted. Of this number, only 44 – just under 6% of the submitted total – were selected to move to Step 2 Review. Being a SSEP finalist is quite an achievement – congratulations!


Two additional teams of TVMSC student researchers designed and contributed experiments that were also selected for Step 2 Review.  While these experiment proposals were not selected as finalists, their work was also impressive and worthy of recognition.
 
Proposal Title: SPACE: CONCRETE’S FINAL FRONTIER
Grade Levels of Submitting Student Team: 7­-9
Submitting School: Treasure Valley Math and Science
Submitting School District: Boise School District
Submitting Teacher Facilitator: Dr. Paul Verhage
Student Team Members/ Co­Principle Investigators : Daniel Frandson (Gr. 9), Matt Ihling (Gr. 9), Sarah Kessler (Gr. 7), and Sabrina Zerrade (Gr. 8) Proposal Summary: "The purpose of this experiment is to determine the effect of microgravity on the strength of concrete. We will use a Fluids Mixing Enclosure (FME) with two clamps. In the center section of the FME will contain a mixture of sand and Portland cement, and both outer sections will contain purified water. The sand and cement mixture will mix with water to form concrete. This experiment will be completed in microgravity and concurrently on the Earth. Because concrete gains strength over time, when the microgravity experiment is returned to us, we will use compression tests to compare its strength to that of the concrete mixed on Earth, after curing for the same number of days. We believe that microgravity will cause a loss in strength in the concrete because of the crucial role gravity plays in the hardening (Dr. Lu). This experiment could be important to future construction because if concrete hardens equally well in microgravity and in Earth’s gravity, it could be used to build a variety of structures in space. Concrete is the most commonly used building material on Earth. Because concrete is malleable when first poured and then becomes strong and durable, it is very useful, versatile, inexpensive and easily produced. The materials to produce concrete can be found on asteroids and even on the moon. Knowing this, concrete may be the single most important building material; not only on Earth, but also in space."
Proposal Title: Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Antibiotic Resistance in Microgravity and Radiation
Grade Level of Submitting Student Team: 8
Submitting School: Treasure Valley Math and Science
Submitting School District: Boise School District
Submitting Teacher Facilitator: Dr. David Whitacre
Student ­ Principle Investigator: Alyse Palsulich (grade 8)

Proposal Summary: "Since penicillin was first identified back in 1928 (“Alexander Fleming Discovery and Development of Penicillin - Landmark - American Chemical Society”), humans have been in a race against bacteria in developing antibiotics against bacterial infections.  Bacteria have evolved to make their own defense called antibiotic resistance making our old antibiotics no longer effective on them.  One example of a form of bacteria that has grown antibiotic resistant is Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa).  P. aeruginosa mostly infects immunocompromised individuals, burn patients or those who have been in a hospital-setting for a week or longer ("Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Healthcare Settings").  Experiments have shown that P. aeruginosa is responsible for 11-13.8% of all infections acquired in a hospital, including pneumonia, burn infections, nose infections and throat infections, (LaBauve, "Growth and Laboratory Maintenance of Pseudomonas aeruginosa"), with a 40-60% mortality rate.  Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic that used to be effective against P. aeruginosa infections, but, due to P. aeruginosa’s increasing antibiotic resistance, it is now only useful for a few (Lomholt, "Ciprofloxacin susceptibility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from keratitis").  Since P. aeruginosa is a commonly used bacterium for experiments of antibiotic resistance, this proposed experiment will be using it and the antibiotic ciprofloxacin for the purpose of discovering differences in antibiotic resistance due to microgravity/increased radiation.  The predicted outcome of this experiment is that P. aeruginosa will evolve resistance more quickly on the ISS because it has been previously proven that microgravity leads to faster bacterial growth and radiation results in greater mutation rates as well."


The Treasure Valley Math and Science Center of the Independent School District of Boise City is grateful for this amazing research opportunity for our students to contribute to and participate in. This has all been made possible thanks to a very generous $23,000 donation by a current TVMSC family. The Frandson family, Dan, Pattie, Daniel and Kristina heard that TVMSC's staff and students had an opportunity to become involved in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program Mission 8, wherein students design and implement experiments that are sent to the International Space Station (ISS).  The experiments are then conducted with the assistance of astronauts working on the ISS and then, 10 days later, are returned to Earth.  The students' experiments are then returned to the students for comparison to control experiments conducted here at the school. The TVMSC staff had been pondering how to raise the necessary funds so that this could happen. The Frandson family generously donated these funds on behalf of Mrs.Frandson's father Jerry Gliksman, who has retired from an extremely rewarding Aerospace career. He truly serves as an inspiration for our students and his career accomplishments within the field of aerospace research provides as an inspiration into the exciting and rewarding college and career options available for our students.


"The Student Space Flight Experiments Program [or just “SSEP”] (http://ssep.ncesse.org) is undertaken by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE; http://ncesse.org) in partnership with Nanoracks, LLC. This on-orbit educational research opportunity is enabled through NanoRacks, LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory."


Congratulations to these students for their impressive dedication to scientific research
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