News Release

NSF funds sixth annual tissue engineering solicitation for research leveraging the ISS National Lab

Grant and Award Announcement

International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory

Tissue Engineering in Space

image: NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins Supports Tissue Engineering Investigation on the ISS view more 

Credit: NASA

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), December 5, 2022 – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) today opened a joint solicitation seeking projects that utilize the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory to advance tissue engineering and mechanobiology research. Through this solicitation, NSF will provide up to $1.6 million in funding for multiple projects to launch to the space station under the sponsorship of the ISS National Lab.

Microgravity affects organisms—from bacteria to humans, inducing changes such as altered gene expression and DNA regulation, changes in cellular function and physiology, and 3D aggregation of cells. Research leveraging these effects can drive advances in modeling normal and pathological tissues and organs, disease diagnosis and treatment, regenerative medicine, and many other areas within the engineering and the biomedical sciences.

This joint solicitation, the sixth between CASIS and NSF focused on tissue engineering, is aimed at furthering drug discovery and therapeutic development through space-based research. Knowledge gained from such studies could have profound impacts on future research and technology development that brings value to our nation and the scientific community.

Fundamental science is a strategic focus area for the ISS National Lab, and CASIS has established powerful multiyear partnerships with government agencies such as NSF to fund research on the orbiting laboratory. NSF supports transformative research to help drive the U.S. economy, enhance national security, and maintain America’s position as a global leader in innovation.

A project awarded through a CASIS/NSF joint solicitation in 2019 was recently launched on Northrup Grumman’s 18th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the ISS. The investigation, from the University of Michigan, is examining a group of proteins and their effects on bone-forming cells, or osteoblasts, in microgravity. Such research may help improve understanding of how reduced bone loading (such as in patients on prolonged bed rest) causes bone loss. Findings from this project could help lead to new osteoporosis treatments for patients on Earth.

This solicitation follows a two-step submission process. All interested investigators must first submit an ISS National Lab Feasibility Review Form for evaluation of the concept’s operational feasibility. The deadline to submit a Feasibility Review Form is January 9, 2023. Only investigators whose concept passes the Feasibility Review Form step will be invited to submit a full proposal.

NSF will close this solicitation on March 6, 2023.

To view the full solicitation, please see the NSF solicitation page. To learn more about the benefits of conducting research leveraging the ISS National Lab, please visit

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