The Adams State Faculty Lecture Series begins October 14

ALAMOSA – The Adams State University Faculty Lecture Series begins the semester at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, in McDaniel Hall 101, with “Microbe: Bugs in Space,” by Kent L. Buchanan, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs. The lecture is free and open to the public. Masks are required in all Adams State indoor public spaces.

On September 9th, 2006, at 10:14 am, Space Shuttle Atlantis took off on Space Transport System flight 115 (STS-115) to take solar panels and other supplies to the International Space Station. Along on the ride were experiments developed by scientists formerly at Tulane University Health Sciences Center to examine how the spaceflight would alter the growth patterns, gene expression, and virulence of three common human pathogens (the bacteria Salmonella and Pseudomonas and the yeast Candida albicans). One of these experiments proposed by Buchanan, was using the yeast, Candida albicans, an organism associated with humans that can cause disease in humans with certain immunodeficiencies or hormonal changes.

After almost 12 days in space, Atlantis landed back at Cape Canaveral at 6:21 am on September 21st. Buchanan was there to process the samples from Atlantis and compare them to the organisms grown under the same conditions on earth (ground samples). Virulence of the organisms was tested in mice, growth characteristics were analyzed and changes in gene usage of yeast grown in space was compared to yeast grown on the earth. Some of the details of these analyses were published in a manuscript entitled “Spaceflight enhances cell aggregation and random budding of Candida albicans” in the online science journal PLOS One. The information obtained from this experiment and with the other experiments with bacteria will help NASA in preparing for issues with astronaut health as space missions become longer.

For more information on the Faculty Lecture Series contact Jess Gagliardi at 719-587-8921 or [email protected]