CRANN to Carry Out Cancer Research in Zero Gravity Conditions
Dec 03, 2010
The Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN) at Trinity College Dublin will be the first Irish based research centre to be included on a zero-gravity flight conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA).
Each year, the ESA invites a small number of international scientists to take part in once-off zero gravity, or parabolic flights. The prestigious invitation will allow Dr Despina Bazou of CRANN to conduct experiments on the behaviour of cancer cells and develop a new understanding of how cells in the bloodstream react to one another.
The ESA carries out three microgravity flights a year, one being solely for students and the other two for researchers. Microgravity, a condition when there is very little gravitational force, only occurs for around 20 seconds and allowing the scientist 12 minutes of weightlessness over the day. Dr Bazou will be conducting experiments over three days in the area of Nanobiology which is currently being researched at CRANN in Dublin.
CRANN at Trinity College Dublin.
Diarmuid O’Brien of CRANN said: “We are delighted that CRANN was selected for this very prestigious research opportunity. CRANN’s place on the flight is recognition of Ireland’s growing expertise in Nanoscience. The research which will be conducted by Dr Bazou will help us to explore the area of nanobiology further and will hopefully lead us to a better understanding of cancer.”
Dr Despina Bazou said: “I am very excited by this opportunity which came about when I was presenting at the International Congress on Ultrasonics 2009 in Chile. I hope that the unique conditions presented by the parabolic flight will help me further my research into how cancer travels through the body.”
Earlier in the year, data compiled by Thomson Reuters showed that Ireland was one of the top ranked countries in the world for the quality of its nanoscience research. The results ranked Ireland 8thin the world, well ahead of larger countries such as France, Canada and Australia. The data also revealed that many of Ireland’s top-ranked research papers were produced by CRANN.
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