Translational Research Institute for Space Health

Sovaris Aerospace is working as a strategy and technical advisor to the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) at the Center for Space Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

The Translational Research Institute for Space Health is empowered by the NASA Human Research Program to solve the challenges of human deep space exploration. A central focus is to advance high-impact science and technologies in order to enable every human to safely explore the Moon and Mars. Led by Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Space Medicine, the TRISH consortium leverages partnerships with Caltech (California Institute of Technology) and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

BACKGROUND

As commercial spaceflight advances into orbital and low earth orbit (and eventually beyond low Earth orbit; BLEO), there is a growing need to develop methods that allow a new type of space traveler to travel in safety, comfort, good health, and thrive in this environment. Orbital and BLEO spaceflight and habitation are areas in which NASA and other space agencies have developed a considerable body of knowledge. However, there is no such literature on the range of genotypes and phenotypes (physiology, morphology, behavior; cognitive and physical performance; degrees of body type, infirmity, polypharmacy, physical fitness, and other influences common in the general public) that will enter the dynamics of commercial spaceflight. This represents a tremendous gap in our understanding, though it also presents an opportunity that is being met by new dedicated research efforts.

In order to facilitate optimal performance and health in commercial space flight participants (SFP), a robust characterization of the molecular dynamics in those individuals with these widely divergent clinical phenotypes will be important. This is because the growing presence of non-professionals in space will increase the biological diversity of travelers beyond that which has been seen in the professional astronaut corps. Capturing these types of molecular signals will require a human specimen biorepository (biobank) built upon a foundation rooted in best practices that are harmonized across space flights and flight providers to the greatest extent possible. Sovaris Aerospace is an important strategic and technical advisor to TRISH in supporting the development of this specimen biorepository, its methods, the related data analytics, and the translation of molecular data to solutions that enable more successful human spaceflight.

In short, the development of a human specimen biorepository will allow for the capture of specimens from this unique cohort of citizen space travelers, which can later be analyzed for the purpose of better understanding the broad molecular changes that occur in citizen space travelers and develop better solutions for the thriving of these humans in space.

The principal goals of the biorepository include but are not limited to:

1) Establish rigorous pre-analytical methods governing the capture, processing, transport, and storage of human specimens;

2) Establish a set of analytical guidelines that would accommodate precision untargeted multi-scale omics analysis and targeted molecular analysis;

3) Harmonize these methods across flight providers and missions;

4) Perform a foundational set of molecular feature analyses that become common across missions;

5) Archive retained specimens in the biorepository for future molecular analyses;

6) Make retained specimens available to the research community for specific types of post-hoc analyses;

7) Make data available for statistical analysis, development of new hypotheses, and development of predictive models that will support future SFP;

8) Establish a foundation that will facilitate the advancement of precision medicine applications for humans in space; and

9) Provide clinical insights that will help physicians better advise future space travelers.