Iowa Space Grant Consortium Base Program – Drake University

ISGC LogoThe Iowa Space Grant Consortium (ISGC) is part of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program from NASA which is designed to support science and engineering education.

‌The ISGC funds activities at Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa and Drake University to coordinate and improve Iowa’s future in aerospace science and technology and to stimulate aerospace research, education and outreach. Funded research is done in collaboration with other researchers in government (especially NASA), industry and nonprofit organizations. Funding from ISCG is used to purchase supplies necessary for the research and provide scholarships for students participating in the research.  The ISGC support may also be used for domestic travel to conferences and/or NASA centers for collaboration and networking.

At Drake University, the base program entitled Infection Mitigation during Space Flight examines the use of combination pharmacotherapy to combat latent viral infections that re-activate during space exploration with the following specific aims:

1.  Determine the extent of resistance to currently approved pharmacotherapies and the experimental compounds proposed in this study by sequencing the DNA of clinical samples of CMV obtained from astronauts.

2.  Determine if the combination of methylenecyclopropane and deoxyribosyl-indole nucleoside analogs elicit a positive, synergistic effect in laboratory and clinical isolates of CMV under normal-gravity conditions.

3.  Determine if the infection pattern and replication of CMV is affected by low-gravity environments by subjecting fibroblast cells to CMV in a microgravity chamber.

4.  Determine the clinical viability of using the methylenecyclopropane and deoxyribosylindole nucleoside analogs in combination to treat viral infections by measuring the anti-viral effect of these drugs against clinical isolates obtained from astronauts in a controlled microgravity environment.

For more information about the base program or to inquire about research opportunities, contact Dr. Brian Gentry or Dr. Marc Busch.