The principal investigators (PIs) of CASIS-supported research projects are passionate about their favorite scientific subjects. They’re also regular people with families, pets, favorite films, and fun hobbies. The paths they took to their current careers are diverse and fascinating.
Anna-Lisa Paul studies how plants adapt to extreme environments. For her experiments on the ISS, she has engineered Arabidopsis plants engineered to reveal changes in their cells by changing color or glowing in the dark! Results of her research are challenging scientists’ assumptions about plant behavior.
Rob Ferl is Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research at the University of Florida-Gainesville. He studies how plants adapt to extreme environments, including the microgravity conditions onboard the International Space Station.
Lenore Rasmussen develops technologies that truly improve people’s lives. She founded Ras Labs and invented Synthetic Muscle, an electroactive polymer that contracts and relaxes much like real muscle. It could be used to engineer prosthetics and other medical applications on Earth and robots with human-like dexterity for space applications.
Trent Smith is the Project Manager of the Veggie Production System (Veggie) for growing food plants in space. Astronauts have already grown and enjoyed space salad! The nutritional boost of fresh food and the psychological benefits of nurturing plants will be especially valuable on deep space missions. His research contributes to future plans for farming on Mars!