Vilnius University Life Sciences Center (VU LSC) fourth-year student of biophysics Justina Žvirblytė was accepted for an internship at NASA's Ames Research Center (USA).
Her project is called "Genomics of Single Cell Mechanostransduction in Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells".
"Forces generated by gravity have a profound impact on the behavior of cells in tissues and can affect the course of the cell cycle and differentiation fate of progenitors in mammalian tissues, potentially impacting the course of normal tissue regenerative health and disease. In this context, to enable Human space exploration, it is increasingly important to understand the gene expression patterns associated with regenerative health and disease as they relate to space travel in microgravity. Until recently changes in gene expression of stem cell progenitors exposed to spaceflight factors have been difficult to interpret, primarily because cellular responses are often not homogeneous in tissue populations, and may occur only in a subset of those cells", explains Justina.
Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA) each year organizes competition and funds selected students. This internship will be funded by the Ministry of Education and Science as well. VU LSC will also support financially this internship.
The Collaboration Agreement between MITA and NASA was signed in 2014. Only eleven countries have such agreements that allow their students to go for summer and fall internships at NASA.
Another student of VU LSC, Kornelija Vitkutė, had her internship at NASA's Ames Research Center last year.