CASIS Solicitation: Advancing Protein Crystallization in Microgravity

The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the nonprofit organization promoting and managing research on board the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, announced today a solicitation for proposals in relation to advancing protein crystallization using microgravity.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) seeks to identify projects within the field of crystallography, which CASIS will support through grant funding, facilitation of service provider partnerships, and flight coordination to and from the ISS. Crystallography is the technique used to determine three-dimensional structures of protein molecules. Protein crystallization when performed in space may produce large, better-organized crystals, allowing more focused drug development.

CASIS is confident that this RFP will create interest for both experienced and new investigators who endeavor to enable new life science breakthroughs and next generation research in the area of protein crystallization. Today's announcement is the first of a series of solicitations in life, material and observational sciences.

CASIS believes that this RFP will lead to the production of better crystals in the microgravity environment than can be grown on Earth. In turn, the results will spur greater commercial interest in future opportunities on Station and generate more research for the ISS National Lab.

"CASIS has evaluated research performed to date in the life sciences and believes it is time to formally test the promising hypothesis that microgravity may produce greater internal order in protein crystal growth," said CASIS acting Chief Scientist Dr. Timothy Yeatman. "This could potentially lead to sharper resolution of crystals and their cognate proteins, which could produce more effective drugs for cancer and other debilitating human diseases."

"Our science team has identified the area of protein crystallization as a primary scientific pathway that may benefit greatly from the microgravity environment," said CASIS Interim Executive Director Jim Royston. "We are here to help researchers make groundbreaking, scientific discoveries on the ISS National Lab for the benefit of people on Earth."

For additional information about the RFP, including instructions and material regarding crystallization, CASIS and the ISS please visit: www.iss-casis.org/solicitations.

Proposals must be submitted electronically by 5pm EST on August 15, 2012 via the CASIS solicitations website page.

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