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Project Title:  Effects of Acute and Protracted Proton Radiation Exposure on Bone Health Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2024 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP SR:Space Radiation
Start Date: 11/01/2023  
End Date: 10/31/2024  
Task Last Updated: 01/11/2024 
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Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Lau, Anthony G Ph.D. / College of New Jersey 
Address:  Department of Biomedical Engineering 
2000 Pennington Rd, P.O. Box 7718 
Ewing , NJ 08618-1104 
Phone: 609-771-2644  
Congressional District: 12 
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: College of New Jersey 
Joint Agency:  
Comments: NOTE: As of Fall 2015, Dr. Lau is at The College of New Jersey. Previously at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill while NSBRI postdoc. 
Mraz, Alexis  Ph.D. College of New Jersey 
Davis-Takacs, Catherine  Ph.D. Henry M Jackson Foundation For The Advancement Of Military M 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. 80NSSC24K0247 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor:  
Center Contact:   
Unique ID: 15825 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2023 HERO NNJ23ZSA001N-OMNIBUS : NASA Human Research Program Omnibus Opportunity 
Grant/Contract No.: 80NSSC24K0247 
Project Type: Ground 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
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:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) SR:Space Radiation
Human Research Program Risks: (1) BMed:Risk of Adverse Cognitive or Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
(2) Bone Fracture:Risk of Bone Fracture due to Spaceflight-induced Changes to Bone
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) 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?
(2) Bone-102:Characterize bone turnover and other biochemical markers of skeletal health
(3) Bone-301:Identify, develop, and implement monitoring tools for bone health during spaceflight
Task Description: The exposure to ionizing space radiation can lead to damage of multiple biological tissue systems. The proposed work investigates degeneration of the central nervous system (CNS) and bone tissues from exposure to different dose rates of Proton Radiation. Radiation is known to affect biological pathways that regulate both the CNS and bone. The objective of the proposed work is to investigate the relationship between declines in cognitive function and declines in bone health from exposure to Proton Radiation, quantify these changes, and explore osteocalcin as a potential biomarker of these changes. The objectives will be addressed through animal studies exposing rats to acute and protracted (or fractionated) Proton Radiation and investigating the relationship between neurobehavioral deficits, bone degradation, and blood osteocalcin levels, at 7, 30, 90, and 180 days after radiation exposure.

This interdisciplinary tissue sharing proposal investigates the cognitive degradation in rats exposed to acute and protracted proton radiation and the corresponding bone strength changes in these same rats. Neurobehavioral assessments include odor recognition memory tests and sustained attention tests. Blood osteocalcin levels will be measured with Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISAs). A multi-length scale approach will be performed to assess the corresponding bone health changes. Bone health assessments include microstructural (microCT scans), material property (micro-indentation), and whole bone (3-point bending) evaluations of bone strength. Analysis will be performed on CNS, osteocalcin, and bone endpoint measurements to determine the relationships between CNS and Bone deficits, and if osteocalcin is a biomarker of radiation induced changes in these two systems.

The work is significant to NASA’s goal for astronaut health during long-duration spaceflight. Further exploring the relationship between the CNS and bone response to radiation, as well as osteocalcin as a potential biomarker, can provide valuable information for identifying potential mechanisms and developing countermeasure targets for both systems. This work addresses the following risks and gaps outlined in the NASA Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR): Risk of Adverse Cognitive or Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders (BMed-102); Risk of Bone Fracture due to Spaceflight-induced Changes to Bone (Bone-102, Bone-301).

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: The work is significant to NASA’s goal for astronaut health during long duration spaceflight. The proposed work explores a novel framework to utilize the longitudinally measured neurobehavioral performance to determine dose-rate effects of proton radiation exposures on bone degradation, which can only be determined invasively or terminally. This work also explores osteocalcin as a biomarker for radiation effects on multiple physiological systems.

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

Bibliography: Description: (Last Updated: 03/30/2016) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography
 None in FY 2024