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Plant Space Biology on the ISS

September 20, 2017



Growing Insights on the International Space Station


Tuesday, September 26, 2017
5:00 PM
Carthage College, Campbell Student Union


Carthage College and WSGC invite you to join us for a Carthage College Natural and Social Science Colloquim featuring Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul, University of Florida research professor in horticulture science and president-elect of the American Society for Gravitational Space Research.   

This seminar includes the story of how plants can grow and thrive in an environment completely outside their evolutionary experience, and about the metabolic tools they use to do so. Gravity is one of the fundamental forces that impact plant growth and development, and the study of gravity-related signaling has been a rich source of insights into the metabolic paths plants take as they respond to changes in their environment. It was not until the access to space in the mid 1960s that it was possible to actually take gravity out of the equation. The insights that experiments conducted in orbital vehicles, like the Space Shuttle and the ISS, have contributed to our understanding of fundamental plant processes that extend far beyond simple gravitropism.  

Plants know that they are in a novel environment, and adjust by employing alternative tactics to guide growth and development than are employed on the ground. These adjustments have been characterized in terms of differential changes in morphology, metabolism, gene expression, protein organization, cellular structures, and more. The work in our research group is primarily focused on how plants physiologically adapt to the spaceflight environment on the molecular level, and we have found that plants respond to spaceflight  with distinct, organ-specific changes in gene expression and protein utilization. We are just beginning to get a complete picture of how these patterns work together as plants adjust to cope with the challenges of a spaceflight environment. 

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