HUMAN EXPLORATION AND OPERATIONS
Spaceflight has been consistently shown to have a disruptive effect on the immune system (Akiyama et al., 2020; Crucian et al., 2014; Garrett-Bakelman et al., 2019; Guéguinou et al., 2009). Additionally, multiple latent viruses have been shown to reactivate in astronauts during Space Shuttle missions (Mehta et al., 2014). Furthermore, treatment of bacterial infections during extended missions could be compromised by potentially irreversible increases in spaceflight-associated antibiotic resistance (Taylor, 2015). Strategic Objectives 2.1, 2.2, and 4.3 of the 2018 NASA Strategic Plan emphasize the importance of establishing a comprehensive health care program for astronauts, which requires the mitigation of the many potential health risks that must be anticipated on exploration missions. However, the list of potential infectious agents is extensive and includes innumerable strains of rhinoviruses, adenoviruses, influenza viruses, and coronaviruses, as well as bacterial pathogens (Thomas & Bomar, 2020). Given the immune system inhibition and magnified virulence of pathogenic viruses and bacteria in spaceflight, it is all the more essential that a rapid, precise method of diagnosis is developed to facilitate targeted pharmacological intervention during space exploration missions.
Name: Trevor Abts, Undergraduate Student
Institution: University of Alaska Anchorage
Major: Natural Sciences
Mentor: Eric Bortz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Award: Summer Apprenticeship
Funding Period: 2021