John Kiss, professor of botany; Melanie Correll (former postdoctoral associate at Miami, now assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida); Prem Kumar (former postdoctoral associate at Miami, now at the Florida Citrus Institute); Kathy Millar, postdoctoral associate. Not pictured: Richard Edelmann, director of the electron microscopy facility.
Miami botanists' space-based research wins NASA awardSep 10, 2010
A team of botanists led by John Kiss, professor of botany
at Miami University, received the 2010 NASA Ames Honors Award for their
research, Tropi-2. The award was presented at a ceremony Sept. 1 at the
NASA Ames Research Center.
Tropi-2 is a semi-autonomous space-based experiment to study Arabidopsis thaliana (the thale cress) seedling sprouts to observe their response to light and gravity at a cellular level. The Tropi-2 research, which involved two six-day experiments on the International Space Station (ISS), focuses on understanding how light and gravity affect plant growth. The experiment traveled to the ISS on the space shuttle Endeavor in February and returned on the Discovery in April.
Future astronauts could be able to grow plants as part of life support systems on long-term space missions, according to NASA.
Tropi-2 team members include Kiss; Richard Edelmann, director of Miami’s electron microscopy facility, and Melanie Correll, assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida (and former postdoctoral associate at Miami), co-principal investigators of the project; Prem Kumar, former postdoctoral research associate at Miami; and Kathy Millar, current postdoctoral research associate in botany.
Tropi-2 is a continuation of the Tropi-1 experiment, also led by Kiss, performed on the ISS in 2006.
Kiss has been awarded more than $1 million by NASA for Tropi. In the past four years, Kiss’s research has involved eight undergraduate students, two graduate students and two post-doctoral scholars at Miami.