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Project Title:  Rodent Research Standard Housing Mission: Multidisciplinary Approach to Understanding Spaceflight Responses Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2022 
Division: Space Biology 
Research Discipline/Element:
Space Biology: Animal Biology: Vertebrate  
Start Date: 05/01/2022  
End Date: 04/30/2025  
Task Last Updated: 06/07/2022 
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Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Ronca, April Elizabeth Ph.D. / NASA Ames Research Center 
Address:  Space Biosciences Research Branch, NASA Human Research Program (HRP)/Human Health Countermeasures (HHC) 
MS 236-7 
Moffett Field , CA 94035 
Phone: 650.604.3595  
Congressional District: 18 
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Ames Research Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments: November 2019: PI is located at NASA Ames Research Center and remains affiliated with Wake Forest University School of Medicine 
Globus, Ruth  Ph.D. NASA Ames Research Center 
Shirazi, Yasaman  Ph.D. NASA Ames Research Center 
Fuller, Charles  Ph.D. University of California, Davis 
Alberts, Jeffrey  Ph.D. Indiana University, Bloomington 
Vitaterna, Martha   Ph.D. Northwestern University, Evanston 
Bodine, Susan  Ph.D. University of Iowa 
Delp, Michael  Ph.D. Florida State University 
Pecaut, Michael  Ph.D. Loma Linda University 
Galazka, Jonathan  Ph.D. NASA Ames Research Center 
Willey, Jeffrey  Ph.D. Wake Forest University 
Karatsoreos, Ilya  Ph.D. University of Massachusetts, Amherst 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Directed Research 
Responsible Center: NASA ARC 
Grant Monitor: Griko, Yuri  
Center Contact: 650-604-0519 
Unique ID: 14945 
Solicitation / Funding Source: Directed Research 
Grant/Contract No.: Directed Research 
Project Type: FLIGHT,GROUND 
Flight Program: ISS 
No. of Post Docs:  
No. of PhD Candidates:  
No. of Master's Candidates:  
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:  
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Space Biology Element: (1) Animal Biology: Vertebrate
Space Biology Cross-Element Discipline: (1) Musculoskeletal Biology
(2) Immunology
Space Biology Special Category: None
Task Description: RR-26 is a NASA Space Biology (SB) Program funded study for the 2nd Rodent Habitat Flight Validation, following the addition of the Nest Box (NB) as the current solution to meet OCHMO-550 requirements and to provide adequate bedding substrate and/or structures for resting and sleeping of animals per The Guide to the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (The Guide). The Flight Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (FIACUC) and the science community share a common goal to advance the utility of the Rodent Research (RR) Habitat for conducting high quality, rodent spaceflight experiments. The NASA Chief Veterinarian and FIACUC are concerned that the RR Habitat without a Nest Box (NB), fails to meet animals’ needs and the regulatory requirements to provide a dedicated structure that allows mice to sleep, nest, and thermoregulate. On the other hand, growing concerns have been raised in the RR flight investigator community (based on results obtained from some missions since 2017) that using the NB significantly alters the environment and may interfere with expected physiological responses to spaceflight that were identified previously and expected during long duration missions, thereby diminishing the scientific value of the RR animal model used to study biological effects of spaceflight.This mission is directed research by Space Biology and the plan was developed following extensive consultation and collaboration with the NASA Chief Veterinarian, Flight IACUC, the RR Science Working Group (SWG), welfare, and other science experts. This mission will provide reference data on animals’ physiological systems and behavior within the Rodent Habitat to inform the NB’s role in 1) supporting rodent health and welfare in space, and 2) to inform how the NB affects key tissues and science disciplines in both the space and ground environment.

To accomplish mission objectives, adult wild-type female mice will be flown to the International Space Station (ISS) using RR Hardware. Groups of mice provided with the NB will be compared to those without the NB in the Rodent Habitat in both Flight and Ground. Comparison of Flight groups (FLT) to their respective Habitat Ground Control (HGC) groups will reveal if and how the NB affects major physiological systems relevant to the discipline of Space Biology.

Rationale for HRP Directed Research: This research is directed because it contains highly constrained research, which requires focused and constrained data gathering and analysis that is more appropriately obtained through a non-competitive proposal. By performing directed research, Space Biology (SB) plans to conduct targeted ground and flight studies to obtain the required data and to enable critical, scientifically rigorous analyses of comparing the effects with and without the Nest Box on rodents during spaceflight.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits:

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2022 
Task Progress: New project for FY2022.

Bibliography: Description: (Last Updated: 05/24/2022) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography
 None in FY 2022