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Project Title:  Automated Deep Learning for Spaceflight Rodent Behavior Quantification and Health Phenotyping Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2024 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Start Date: 11/15/2023  
End Date: 11/14/2024  
Task Last Updated: 12/14/2023 
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Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Pereira, Talmo  Ph.D. / Salk Institute for Biological Studies 
Address:  10010 North Torrey Pines Road 
La Jolla , CA 92037-1002 
Phone: 954-621-6604  
Congressional District: 50 
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: Salk Institute for Biological Studies 
Joint Agency:  
Saunders, Lauren  Ph.D. NASA Ames Research Center 
Scott, Ryan  M.A. NASA Ames Research Center 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. 80NSSC24K0346 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Whitmire, Alexandra  
Center Contact: 
Unique ID: 15772 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 03-OBPR-02 
Grant/Contract No.: 80NSSC24K0346 
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Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) BMed:Risk of Adverse Cognitive or Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed-101:We need to identify, quantify, and validate the key selection factors for astronaut cognitive and behavioral strengths (e.g., resiliency) and operationally-relevant performance threats for increasingly Earth independent, long-duration, autonomous, and/or long-distance exploration missions.
(2) BMed-102:Given exposures to spaceflight hazards (space radiation, isolation), how do we identify individual susceptibility, monitor molecular/biomarkers and acceptable thresholds, and validate behavioral health and CNS/neurological/neuropsychological performance measures and domains of relevance to exploration class missions?
(3) BMed-103:What are the validated, efficacious treatments (individual or Team-based) and/or countermeasures to prevent adverse behavioral conditions, CNS/neurological, and/or psychiatric disorders caused by either single and/or integrated exposures to spaceflight hazards during exploration class missions?
(4) BMed-104:Given the potentially negative spaceflight associated CNS changes and behavioral experiences of stressors during long-duration missions (e.g., isolation, confinement, reduced sensory stimulation, altered gravity, space radiation), what are validated modifications to habitat/vehicle to mitigate stressors impacting on CNS / cognition / behavioral health?
(5) BMed-105:Given the potentially negative spaceflight associated CNS/cognitive changes and behavioral experiences of stressors during long-duration missions (e.g., isolation, confinement, reduced sensory stimulation, altered gravity, space radiation), what are validated medical or dietary countermeasures to mitigate stressors impacting on CNS / cognition / behavioral health?
(6) BMed-106:Given increasing Earth independent long-duration missions with resulting communications delays, how do we maintain personal relations / interactions (family, friends and colleagues) and mitigate effects on astronauts’ behavioral health and performance during exploration class missions?
(7) BMed-107:What are the long-term changes and risks to astronaut health post-mission that, when using a continuity of care model, helps retrospectively identify and understand individual susceptibility (e.g., hereditary, dose, thresholds) to mitigate adverse CNS, cognitive, and behavioral health changes resulting from long-duration exploration missions, promoting the behavioral health of current and future crews?
(8) BMed-108:Given each crewmember will experience multiple spaceflight hazards simultaneously, we need to identify and characterize the potential additive, antagonistic, or synergistic impacts of multiple stressors (e.g., space radiation, altered gravity, isolation, altered immune, altered sleep) on crew health and/or CNS/ cognitive functioning to develop threshold limits and validate countermeasures for any identified adverse crew health and/or operationally-relevant performance outcomes.
Task Description: Spaceflight isolation and confinement increase the risk of behavioral health impairments and pose major hurdles for crewed deep space missions. To reduce these risks, further research is needed on the effects of spaceflight on psychiatric and behavioral health in order to develop systems for monitoring crew health and performance. This proposal aims to address this gap by applying artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology to enable automated behavioral quantification and health monitoring from spaceflight videos.

Powered by state-of-the-art deep learning and computer vision technology, the proposed platform will leverage previous work on automated markerless motion capture (i.e., whole body movement tracking from video) and behavioral phenotyping (i.e., detection of behavior events such as walking or eating). This technology has been used for video-based behavioral analysis in insects, fish, plants, rodents, and humans, including for applications such as health monitoring in animal studies of cancer and neurodegeneration.

The proposed work will demonstrate the feasibility of using this technology to automate spaceflight behavioral health monitoring by applying it to previously collected videos from the NASA Rodent Research-1 mission. These have been painstakingly manually annotated by human expert observers with frame-by-frame labels of behaviors (e.g., feeding, grooming) to enable quantitative analysis of rodent behavior during spaceflight. This laborious effort was necessary due to the challenging imaging conditions inherent in spaceflight videography – but which are overcome through the use of AI in the proposed work. By developing a platform capable of automating this process, we will establish the foundation for future systems that will be able to monitor behavioral health in research missions – automatically and in real-time, opening the door to interventional studies aimed at maintaining positive behavioral health conditions. Future work may adapt this technology for behavioral monitoring in humans to detect and mitigate the risks of crewed deep space missions.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits:

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2024 
Task Progress: New Project for FY2024

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 None in FY 2024