Peering Into the Gray Cloud Using Spaceflown RNA

colinkruseColin Kruse, Wyatt Lab manager and researcher, is looking for genes not yet identified as related to gravity response in plants. To do this, Colin and Dr. Sarah Wyatt enlisted the help of NASA to germinate seedlings in microgravity conditions aboard the International Space Station. The spaceflown samples have since returned to earth and Colin will soon complete the next milestone in the NASA-sponsored BRIC-20 microgravity experiment. Using RNA extracted from spaceflown seedlings and ground controls, Colin hopes to  identify the genes involved in the plant signalling biochemical pathway.

Continue reading


Anatomy of a Space Experiment

How to Send Your Experiment into Space: Anatomy of a Space Experiment

Scientists studying the effects of gravity face the difficulty of designing experiments that isolate the effects of gravity. Ideally, this means conducting an experiment in the absence of gravity – no easy task while on Earth. Certainly, the best place to run a long-term gravity experiment is space or while orbiting the Earth in microgravity conditions; however, getting your experiment into space might be as hard as neutralizing gravity on Earth. This is the dilemma Dr. Sarah Wyatt faced in the search for the genes controlling the signaling pathways of plants responding to changes in gravity.

When NASA Research sent out a call for research proposals for the International Space Station (ISS), Wyatt recognized an opportunity for the Wyatt Lab to take their gravitropism research to the next level. Perhaps you have an experiment you want to run aboard the ISS? Or maybe you just want to know what it takes to get on the ISS research roster. The following briefly describes some of the major milestones in designing and deploying an experiment in space.

Figure 1: NASA BRIC-20 Major Project Milestones

Continue reading

Proma Basu ARCC Honorable Mention


Congratulations to Proma Basu, a Wyatt Lab graduate student researcher! Basu received an Honorable Mention for her Poster Session at the November 8, 2014 Appalachian Regional Cell Conference (ARCC) hosted by Marshall University in Huntington, WV.


Way to go, Proma!

My Plant Story – Proma Basu

Proma Basu – Graduate StudentPatabahar
Proma Basu

During the early years of my life, I lived in an apartment with a huge verandah. My mother is fond of gardening and she started collecting and growing ornamental plants in pots. Soon the plants grew and made our verandah a favorite amongst my friends for evening playtime. We used to spend most of our evenings and summer vacations playing amidst the beautiful plants. These plants are called ‘patabahar’ locally. Later while studying plants I came to know that these plants belonged to the Euphorbiaceae family.

Meet Proma Basu, Graduate Student Researcher

Proma Basu – Graduate Student

  • BS, Biotechnology, National Institute of Technology, Durgapur, India

Proma Basu is a graduate student working in the Wyatt Lab on the NASA BRIC-20 project where she is studying proteins expressed in plants germinated in space. Proma began studying protein structure in India while working on a summer project while pursuing her BS degree. Ever since this experience, Proma has been interested in learning more about protein function and formation. Working on the NASA project is both challenging and exciting for her as it combines her interest in proteins with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the Kennedy Space Center and experience in person the thrill of watching a rocket launch into space (with her research onboard).

Proma is also working on the proteomic analysis of wild type Arabidopsis plants exposed to gravity persistence signaling (GPS) treatment. The proteomic analysis has given her an opportunity to study the principles of mass spectrometry and iTRAQ and subsequent data analysis using the latest available software. Her hobbies include reading, singing, and traveling.