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Project co-authored by JU MC student awarded in the Direction: Space competition

Project co-authored by JU MC student awarded in the Direction: Space competition

The competition Direction: Space, addressed to students and doctoral students, involved designing a research project that could be carried out at the International Space Station. The prize – funding for the development of the project, mentor assistance as well as a study trip to CERN and European Space Agency headquarters – was given to three teams, one of which counts JU Medical College student Michał Piotrowski amongst its members.

The criteria used to asses the projects submitted included the reliability and technical framework of the projects coupled with teamwork organisation and project management, the latter two being of utmost importance in the space industry. The following three projects got the chance to be carried out in space:

  • GraviTE (Gravity-free Tissue Engineering), designed by the student academic society AGH Space Systems,
  • LASPA (Laser Amplitude Stimulated Plant Agriculture), designed at the Warsaw University of Technology,
  • HematopoiesISS, designed jointly by a team from the Medical University of Silesia and the Jagiellonian University, which includes Emilia Malik, Julia Karpierz, Anna Zielazek, Jędrzej Sztajura and Miłosz Knura (Medical University of Silesia) as well as Michał Piotrowski (JU Medical College).

The HematopoiesISS experiment will involve studying bone marrow cells in microgravity. The aim of the project is not only to assess the influence of space travel on the human body, but also help improve the methods of treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer, including leukaemia and lymphoma.

‘Life as we know it developed within Earth’s gravity well, so we have a relatively poor understanding of how an organism could develop outside of it. We’re carrying out research  on the impact of low gravity and space radiation on CD34+ hematopoietic cells. Previous studies by other scientists suggest  that these cells acquire extraordinary properties when exposed to microgravity. Our research project aims to further develop and verify this hypothesis at the International Space Station. We want to measure the influence of prolonged space missions on the human body and ascertain whether there is a possibility of using cells stimulated by a low gravity environment in Earth-based procedures’, said Michał Piotrowski, currently a fourth year student at the JU MC Faculty of Medicine.

The competition Direction: Space is organised by Fundacja Empiria i Wiedza (Empiricism and Knowledge Foundation) and New Space Foundation. The idea for the competition was first pitched by Polish Project Astronaut at ESA Sławosz Uznański.

HematopoiesISS team together with ESA Project Astronaut Sławosz Uznański. Photo: Karolina Sałajczyk.

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