HERO Twin Astronaut Study Consortium (TASC) Project: Metagenomic Sequencing of the Bacteriome in GI Tract of Twin Astronauts

Project: Research project


The proposed project entitled "Metagenomic Sequencing of the Bacteriome in GI Tract of Twin Astronauts" is submitted in response to the NASA Human Exploration Research Opportunities (HERO) program for the study of the "Differential Effects on Homozygous Twin Astronauts Associated with Differences in Exposure to Spaceflight Factors". It focuses on one of the research emphases (i.e., metagenomic sequencing of the microbiome) listed in the Appendix D HERO announcement, but it is also complementary to other biomolecular research projects making up the Virtual Team Partners, which seek to integrate –omics studies on the effects of spaceflight via collaboration, data-sharing, and data analyses with the other members of the Virtual Team referred to here as the NASA HERO Twin Astronauts Spaceflight Consortia (HERO TASC). The overarching goal of the HERO TASC is to maximize the plurality of time-correlated –omics profiles to allow for a thorough and in-depth systems biology view of the physiological, molecular, genetic and biochemical perturbations, as well as neurobehavioral reactions, experienced by Astronaut Scott Kelly (before, during and after 1 year on ISS) relative to his monozygotic twin Astronaut Mark Kelly (during the same interval on Earth).

The complex ecological microbiology community that inhabits the human GI tract that involves host interactions and the collective microbiota metabolic activities influence normal physiology and behavior and the susceptibility to disease (Lozupone et al., 2012). Despite the clear importance of the GI microbiota for maintaining overall health and influencing disease state, the effects of the spaceflight environment on the human microbiome remains unknown. Thus, it is imperative that studies be carried out on long-term missions in space so that any adverse change can be identified and countermeasure can be employed to insure the safety and health of our astronauts or lengthen spaceflight mission.
Effective start/end date4/14/1412/31/18


  • NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (NNX14AH26G-000004)


Twin Studies
Space Flight
Gastrointestinal Tract
United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Systems Biology
Monozygotic Twins
Information Dissemination
Disease Susceptibility
Molecular Biology