From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2003
Saint-Hubert, Quebec, January 16, 2003 - Launched today from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107) will spend 16 days in orbit to allow astronauts to perform some 100 science experiments in microgravity on behalf of researchers from around the world. Canadian scientists are flying two research projects involving several experiments onboard Columbia. These experiments could ultimately have applications in the health sector.
The OSTEO-2 experiments will further our understanding of bone loss during spaceflight. Three science teams have been selected for this project: two represent the Canadian academic community and the third is a joint venture between the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and two industrial partners.
The other Canadian research project onboard STS-107 involves protein crystal growth. Earth-based laboratories have a hard time growing large or perfect protein crystals. The size and quality of proteins crystallized in space are usually much better because gravity-induced effects such as sedimentation and convection do not impair their growth. This makes space-grown protein crystals much easier and more interesting to study. Scientists study the architecture of crystallized proteins to understand how their molecules interact. A precise knowledge of protein structures helps design more efficient medication, with fewer side effects. Protein crystal growth has applications in the fight against cancer and diabetes, as well as in research to control antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The principal investigators of this research project are Dr. Lin, Universit» Laval; Dr. Sygusch, Universit» de Montr»al; Dr. Christendat, University of Toronto; Dr. Delbaere, University of Saskatchewan; and Dr. Cygler, Biotechnology Research Institute.
For more information, contact:
Senior Media Relations Officer
Canadian Space Agency
Telephone: (450) 926-4370
Mission STS-107 Website
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