NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren beamed in to the 2022 BIO International Convention – live from the International Space Station.
He spoke to the more than 13,000 attendees in San Diego, California, via a live stream from outer space. He’s docked at the International Space Station National Laboratory doing experiments on the effects of microgravity on the human body.
“It’s been an incredibly exciting time to be a part of human space flight,” Lindgren said, encouraging the convention attendees to think about how this orbital lab could serve as an inspiration or a great environment for research.
Lindgren noted that “a lot of the effects on the human body we see in this environment mimic the changes we see in disease states back on earth.”
“We think the space flight environment produces more rapid aging. Understanding these changes in the immune system will help us find better ways to counter them” NASA’s Lindgren emphasized.
Dr. Lindgren, who is board-certified in emergency medicine, appeared during the session Rocketing Biotechnology R&D to the Next Level. He was joined by Jennifer Strong, editorial director of audio and live for MIT Technology Review, to discuss how the ISS can support life science research to improve life and health on Earth.
As the ISS said when announcing Dr. Lindgren’s appearance at the convention, this conversation “highlighted opportunities for biomedical research in a space-based environment and what the future could hold for utilizing space to improve drug discovery and therapeutic development for patients on Earth.”
Biomedical research a strategic priority for the ISS National Lab
According to the International Space Station National Laboratory, “biomedical research is a strategic priority for the ISS National Lab, and from the time crew operations began on the space station more than 20 years ago, NASA, the ISS National Lab, and international partners have sponsored more than 1,200 biology and biotechnology experiments on station.
As ISS Expedition’s 67 crew commander, Dr. Lindgren has supported more than 100 experiments during his nearly 200 days in space.
“The first all-private astronaut mission in April sparked a renewed interest in space and helped the world see the commercial potential of research and development in microgravity,” said BIO’s President and CEO Michelle McMurry-Heath. “Public-private partnerships are growing the capacity, complexity, and availability of orbital research and development to make it easier for biotechnology companies to participate. These are practical steps forward that will improve medicines and people’s lives.”
BIO held another session on microgravity research on Wednesday, June 15, which included ISS National Lab-sponsored researchers from Axiom Space, Bristol Myers-Squibb, and LambdaVision. In an era of increased space travel, companies are increasingly conducting research in orbit in order to launch product development on Earth.