Astrobiology - opportunities in this exciting new field of science

Dilemmas, conundrums, and puzzles in the surroundings are the main driving force for the propagation and progression of science and since the beginning of civilization, the thought process has worked in the same way. Have you ever heard about how the first telescope came into being? The story goes like this: a German-Dutch spectacle-maker named Hans Lipperhey - in his self-owned shop -  was observing two toddlers playing with two lenses that made the appearance of weather peculiar to him, that was the moment he got his telescope design inspiration and patented it in his lifetime. This is one of the unique stories that changed history and led scientists to think beyond the earth's atmosphere - space. 

Afterward, humankind has expanded its arms to the plethora of knowledge in space, which was hidden before the breakthrough invention of the telescope. Carl Sagan once said about space that the size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In recent years numerous studies have taken place in the vicinity of deep space exploration by space agencies in order to standardize space exploration infrastructure, announcing plans to put humans back on the moon in preparation for the first crewed missions to Mars. Ostensibly, the scientific progress is very fast backed by some successful and commendable projects like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) twins study which portray a paradigm shift in space biology research, however still there are areas that are challenging and yet to explore i-e Radiation, microgravity, altered atmospheric gas composition, isolation, and diet changes are some of the well-known hindrances on humans in the space environment.

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To find a way around for solutions and to combat challenges confronted by Astronauts during space flight has led to the emergence of a new discipline for the scientific community coined as space omics, dedicated and focused to study the aforementioned potential threats to humans and addressing them at international level through collaboration and communication. NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) rodent experiments in space, the zebrafish, medaka fish, fruit fly, and worm have all been valuable models for studying the effects of microgravity (mg), hypergravity, and space stressors using a much larger sample, plant models are consistently flown to investigate the life and now microbial models have been guests on Apollo and the International Space Station (ISS), with recent interest turning toward understanding the natural microbiomes of spaceships and astronauts. Around the world, scientists are profoundly dependent on omics approaches due to their impeccable ability to increase knowledge extracted from rare spaceflight experiments and this has been the reason that now there are fields that caught the attention of researchers. This includes epigenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metagenomics, and metabolomics.

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Indeed, space omics is a dedicated field that provides a junction for sharing valuable resources to facilitate space scientists to take bold steps and undoubtedly in this regard technological advancements hold key but the inculcation of awareness among early career researchers is very important so that not to restrict this domain to the privileged and developed countries. It has to go beyond and it needs to be because inclusion in science creates solutions. Inclusivity in science embraces diversity, cultivates talent, promotes excellence in research, and shows a way forward to humanity.

space omics speakers

This year in celebration of science, Pine Biotech is arranging a 2-day long Omics Research Symposium to gather like-minded individuals from across the globe, to learn, discuss thoughts, network, share ideas, and ignite motivation among the participants. One of the aims of this year's symposium is to shed light on some of the interesting topics around space biology. If you are pondering how interesting it's going to be, take a look at the amazing panel of keynote speakers:

  • Dr. Tony Z. Jia, Specially Appointed Assistant Professor, Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) - Dr. Jia will be talking about "Origin and Evolution Of Biopolymer (And Non-Biopolymer)-Based Compartments.
  • Dr. Fathi Karouia, Senior Research Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center - Dr. Fathi will be sharing his insights on "Omics and Astrobiology".

So, what are you waiting for?

Register for the symposium today -

Check out the full schedule -

Do you have a project? Submit your abstract for the poster presentation competition -