What is Gravitational Research?
The effects of gravity on biology and physical systems have been acknowledged since Galileo’s time, but it has only been since the 1960s that gravitational biologists and physical scientists could also explore an environment where the force of gravity can be removed. It was quickly realized that the near-absence of gravity has a fundamentally unique effect on many biological and physical systems that cannot be investigated for any duration of time on Earth. With the birth of the space age, the opportunity for experimentation over the full spectrum of gravity levels became a reality, and a new environment and research tool became available. Our goal is to explore the response of biology and physical systems to novel environments, and to understand biological and physical phenomena associated with changes in gravitational signals - especially those associated with spaceflight and analogs for extraterrestrial environments.
We seek to expand the knowledge of the impact of these environments on biology and physical systems, and to mentor the next generation of scientists and engineers. We are scientists in academic, commercial and federal laboratories seeking to understand how gravity shapes our world. Gravity is a fundamental force in which the effects on biological and physical systems are not well understood. Understanding how gravity acts upon fundamental life and physical world mechanisms parlays into thousands of applications. For space exploration to succeed, this requires a better grasp of gravity.
This includes key insights into osteoporosis, calcium signal transduction, muscle metabolism, combustion, fluid physics, and quantum gases obtained through research in microgravity environments. This research has given us a new way to look at the world and our place in it - using gravity (or lack of) as a research tool.to further this valuable endeavour.
Image of the Day: Living Color
By The Scientist Staff | March 8, 2018
Biodegradable pigments could be custom-grown by bacteria in the future, say researchers.
Slime Mold in Residence
By Ashley P. Taylor | March 2, 2018
At Hampshire College, students and faculty use the amoeba Physarum polycephalum—both a “visiting scholar” and a model organism—to examine human societal and political quandaries.
A molecule produced by a strain of Staphylococcus epidermis interferes with DNA synthesis.
After discovering a novel organelle found in protozoan parasites, the University of Pennsylvania’s Roos created a widely used eukaryotic pathogen database.
Image of the Day: Tardigrades!
By The Scientist Staff | February 13, 2018
The microscopic water bears will be featured in an exhibition at the Harvard Museum of Natural History beginning Saturday, February 17.
In one of the first looks at the urinary virome, researchers find hundreds of viruses, most of which have never been sequenced before.
The Purdue University researcher is one of the first to examine the molecular processes that underlie infection by soil microbes.
The new database includes data from 27,000 samples collected at sites ranging from Alaskan permafrost to the ocean floor.
Like animals, plants host communities of microbes that influence a wide variety of their biological processes.
The findings more than double the number of known defense mechanisms, piquing the interests of molecular biology tool developers.