RNAssist reagents onboard the International Space Station!

We are delighted to report that our RNAssist reagents have been delivered and used onboard the International Space Station!

As part of a research partnership between the Advanced Genomics Lab at the University of Vermont, Rapid Labs and RNAssist have developed 2 custom RNA stabilisation reagents for analysis in space. Samples were launched into space onboard the Falcoln 9 rocket, and safely docked on the International Space Station. These will be combined with various biological samples abord the International Space Station in the microgravity conditions of space before their return to Earth for analysis.

The RNAssist reagents will be used as part of the ‘Micro-Titan’ system, a robotic mechanism developed specifically for this project to automate DNA extraction in space, where traditional methods were unsuitable due to microgravity. Here, the Micro-Titan system uses magents and airtight sealed cartridges to allow DNA extraction to operate effectively in the microgravity conditions of space. This will allow astronauts to perform DNA sequencing in space with results in hours – elinimating the need to return samples to Earth. As a result, real time DNA analysis offer health monitoring during long-duration missions and accelerate scientific discoveries.

Dr. Scott Tighe, Technical Director of the Advanced Genomics Lab at the University of Vermont said about his groundbreaking Micro-Titan apparatus: ‘After three years of working on this, when you finally see it go up into space, the relief when it docked safely on the ISS is unbelievable. It feels like the project is done, but it’s only just beginning. If we’re going to go to Mars, we’re going to have to analyse many things, including human health, food, the microbiome of space capsules, so it’s important to be able to have a system that can perform DNA analysis reliably in these environments.”

Watch the news story here: https://www.wcax.com/video/2023/11/17/uvm-researchers-dna-extraction-tool-blasts-off-use-by-nasa/

The International Space Station conducts a variety of scientific experiments every day across a number of different areas including climate forecasting, satellite technology and particle physics amongst many others. Inhabitants of the space station also participate in studies of how the human body can change in the absence of Earth’s gravity.

RNAssist reagents used on planet earth include vivoPHIX™, a novel RNA stabilisation reagent that preserves biomolecules and phosphoproteins, inactivates many viruses, bacteria and fungi and also offers the unique ability to dissociate single cells from tissue for downstream multi-omic analysis without the need for harsh enzymatic or mechanical processes. A recent publication by Fortmann et al (2023) highlights the many uses of vivoPHIX, which can be read online here.

‘This is an incredibly exciting research project’ said Tara Smith, RNAssist product manager at Rapid Labs. ‘The RNAssist range of RNA stabilisation reagents have so many unique applications, and this is just one of the many fascinating ways it can be used. It’s been a long time getting to this stage and we’re even more excited to see what’s to come.’

Rapid Labs are the manufacturer and global distributor for RNAssist Ltd. For more information about vivoPHIX or to place an order please contact us at rnassist@rapidlabs.co.uk

We wish Scott and the team all the best in this exciting research project!