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Genes in Space 2017 Competition Launches

Press Releases | February 8, 2017






Genes in Space, a competition that fosters creativity, collaboration and critical thinking among young innovators, opened a call for entries today.

The competition challenges U.S. students in grades seven through twelve to design DNA analysis experiments that address a challenge or opportunity of space travel. Student proposals use the International Space Station (ISS) as a testbed for deep space exploration. The competition is sponsored by miniPCR, Math for America (MƒA), Boeing, The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and New England Biolabs®, Inc. (NEB®).

The winning experiment will be conducted on the ISS. Students can submit their proposals as individuals or in groups of up to four via The deadline for submissions is April 21, 2017.  

Five finalist teams will receive mentoring from world-class scientists to help refine their experiment ideas and make them feasible for space. Members of the finalist teams will gather in Washington, DC, in July 2017 to present their proposals at the ISS R&D Conference to a panel of scientists, educators, and technologists who will select a winner.

Finalists will receive a donation of a miniPCR DNA Discovery System for their educational institutions. These donations will enable the same hands-on biotech experimentation available at high-end research laboratories.

The winners will attend Space Biology Camp at New England Biolabs (NEB) to prepare their experiment for space flight and witness their experiment launch.

 “The Genes in Space competition gives STEM teachers a unique opportunity to help their students engage in cutting edge science,” said John Ewing, MƒA President.  “We hope all math and science teachers will participate in this breakthrough competition, encouraging their students to become science pioneers."

"We're proud to again sponsor the Genes In Space Contest and to work closely with the winner(s) to prepare their experiments for the ISS," stated Nicole Nichols, Group Leader, Amplification Product Development at NEB and 2016 Genes in Space judge. "Being involved in helping the next-generation of young scientists reach for the stars is an immensely fun and rewarding endeavor.”  

“We are proud to launch the third national Genes in Space challenge to promote STEM education and offer authentic research opportunities in schools," added Dr. Ezequiel Alvarez Saavedra, miniPCR co-founder.

Anna-Sophia Boguraev from Bedford, New York won the first Genes in Spacecompetition.  Her experiment, launched in April 2016, tested effects of microgravity and cosmic radiation on the immune system and was the first PCR experiment conducted in space. Julian Rubinfien, winner of the 2016 competition, is scheduled to fly his experiment to investigate the genetic basis of accelerated aging in space in March of 2017.