April 13, 2024
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Recent Grad Presents RKYHS Research at NASA

In November, JKHA/RKYHS recent alumna Rebecca Arian (JKHA ‘18/RKYHS ‘22) presented her work at the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research in Houston, and was joined by Dr. Steven Stein, RKYHS Science Department chair and director of the SRTI. Arian’s work is based on a 2021-2022 collaboration that Dr. Stein and RKYHS had with NASA’s Ames Research laboratory in California. Following her graduation this past May 2022, Rebecca was invited to NASA as a visiting summer intern, living on the NASA-Ames base, where she brought materials from the SRTI lab at RKYHS to Ames to collect further data.

Rebecca has been working in the RKYHS lab with Dr. Stein to develop a cell-based system to identify DNA damage and repair in response to certain environmental conditions. NASA is particularly interested in this approach in order to assess the danger from ionizing radiation in space on astronauts involved in long-term space travel such as travel to the Moon and to Mars. Additionally, the two are interested in this system to look at other potential environmental mutagens as well as specific cancers.

The NASA scientists were so impressed by the advanced nature of Rebecca’s work and her “green thumb” in the lab, that they’ve invited her to return next summer for a three-month internship at NASA-Ames. She is currently in her first year at Duke University, where she has been accepted to a research laboratory to study brain organoids.

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