24.08.2018 change 24.08.2018
Ewelina Krajczyńska
Ewelina Krajczyńska

Wrocław students will study the behaviour of human cells in stratospheric conditions

Cancer Cell Biology Student Science Club. Source: Wroclaw Medical University Cancer Cell Biology Student Science Club. Source: Wroclaw Medical University

Studies on the effects of the conditions in the upper layers of the atmosphere, especially high doses of radiation on the functioning of human cells will be conducted by Wroclaw Medical University students. They intend to use a grant from the Ministry of Science to establish cooperation with the European Space Agency.

To conduct their research, members of the Cancer Cell Biology Student Science Club at Wroclaw Medical University received almost 320,000 PLN grant in the competition Best of the Best 3.0, implemented by the Ministry of Science with funds from the Operational Program Knowledge Education Development. This grant amount is one of the highest among nearly 100 competition winners.

"We want to use these funds to start cooperation with the European Space Agency. We are currently working on several projects in this direction" - says Dawid Przystupski, the club president and student of the Faculty of Medicine at Wroclaw Medical University. He explains that one of these ideas is to start in the Rexus/Bexus competition, carried out by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB), with the participation of ESA.

The funds from the grant will enable students to carry out the ARES project (Astrobiology and Radiation Experiments in Stratosphere). The aim of the project is to send sensitive to radiation human cells (healthy and cancerous) in a stratospheric balloon to the altitude of about 30 km above the Earth`s surface.

According to the initiators of the project, it will allow to test the effects of the conditions in the upper layers of the atmosphere, especially high doses of radiation, on the functioning of human cells. "By sending cells to the stratosphere for 2-3 hours we can check how such a short exposure affects our cells" - says Dawid Przystupski.

As part of their research, students will try to develop a biological radiation sensor based on human cells. "Currently, there is no instrument that measures the biological effects of radiation. All devices that measure radiation work a bit like a thermometer: they measure the intensity, the amount of radiation that tissues absorb. But there is nothing that could measure the biological effect of radiation, i.e. what radiation does to tissues" - Przystupski explains.

Students also want to check the effects of selected substances of natural origin in the pharmacological protection against cell-damaging changes caused by electromagnetic radiation. "In the laboratory, we have 10 compounds that we are working on" - says Przystupski.

In addition, students plan to check the impact of simulated microgravity on the phenomenon of multidrug resistance of cancer cells. For this purpose they will use a special random positioning machine designed and made specifically for the project by the Wrocław University of Science and Technology students.

"The money (from the grant - PAP) will help carry out laboratory tests and enable participation in courses and conferences, allowing us to develop scientifically" - says Przystupski. He announces that the students will try to obtain funding from other sources as well.

Cancer Cell Biology Student Science Club operates at Wroclaw Medical University, but its an intercollegiate club - its members also include students of the University of Wroclaw and Wrocław University of Science and Technology. The club supervisors are: Dr. Julita Kulbacka and Prof. Jolanta Saczko from Wroclaw Medical University. The project is supervised by: Dr. Julita Kulbacka and Jędrzej Górski from the Wrocław University of Science and Technology. (PAP)

Author: Ewelina Krajczyńska

ekr/ szz/ agt/ kap/

tr. RL

Copyright © Foundation PAP 2018