Analysis Working Groups

Since their inception in 2018, the Analysis Working Groups have evolved and adopted some new changes to the way they operate.  In 2022, the existing AWG charter was revised to reflect some of those modifications, and below is a list of the major changes from the original version:

  • New wording around high school and undergraduate student sponsorship and expectations
  • An election cycle to refresh leadership should the AWG desire to do so
  • A section on standardizing citations for AWG related work or activities 
  • A disclaimer around having any direct affiliation with NASA
  • A code of conduct with expected behavior to be followed by all AWG members

With the above changes in mind, the charter below signifies the new mode of operation for each AWG.

GeneLab Analysis Working Groups Charter


The purpose of the GeneLab Analysis Working Groups (AWGs) is to optimize the processing of raw omics data from the GeneLab repository in order to maximize the gain of new knowledge from such complex datasets. The AWGs will assess and improve the effectiveness of the GeneLab Data System (GLDS) through intensive utilization of the analytics deployed therein. Ultimately, use of GLDS by the AWG members and the scientific community will lead to greater understanding of the effects of spaceflight on cells, tissues, and organisms.

Organization and Function

The AWGs aspire to scientific excellence, and participation in AWGs is strictly on a volunteer basis. The primary activity of each AWG is to establish analytical processes to generate higher order data from data housed in the GLDS with relevance to one or more specific application areas. For example, a mammalian AWG would focus analysis on all data relevant to mammalian systems (human, mouse, rat, etc.). The GeneLab AWGs aspire to yield:

  1. Canonical data analysis pipelines. The interpretation of analysis results is too often confounded by variability in data-processing protocols. This can make comparison of results between studies even more difficult. By developing canonical analysis pipelines, the AWGs will help speed the harmonization of results across space biology experiments.
  2. Processed (“higher-order”) space biology data. The AWGs provide input to develop canonical data processing pipelines for the GeneLab project. The GeneLab project generates higher-order data using these pipelines and makes processed data publicly available to the broader scientific community through the GLDS. Data generated using these pipelines is therefore fully reproducible using the GLDS raw data and referenced pipelines. The AWG also develops  strategies for the display of processed data for the scientific community and general public.
  3. GLDS user evaluation and feedback. The value of the GLDS to the scientific community is best judged through extensive use of the systems. As the AWGs use the GLDS intensively (see 1 and 2 above), they are able to give valuable feedback to GeneLab on GLDS strengths and weaknesses. Feedback provided to the GeneLab project by the AWGs is integrated into future updates of GLDS.
  4. Scientific communication of available analyses and interpretations. The AWGs are expected to communicate the development and application of the canonical data analysis pipelines with the broader scientific community. Such communications could take the form of self-published white papers, newsletters, or peer-review publications and conference presentations. These communications serve to catalyze the generation of new hypotheses for further experimentation.

Precisely how each AWG reaches these goals will be determined by the AWGs themselves, but, in general, AWGs should hold frequent in-person or virtual meetings to organize work and review progress. The schedule for delivering the above products is set by each AWG subgroup Chair in consultation with GeneLab and the other AWG subgroup participants.


The constitution of each AWG must meet the following criteria: (1) have at least one participant who possesses application area expertise; (2) have at least one participant who possesses bioinformatics expertise; (3) have at least one representative from GeneLab. AWG participants are chosen based on a candidate’s ability to provide the scientific or data analysis insight necessary to achieve the AWG goals. AWG participation is entirely voluntary and participants will not be compensated.

Chairs - All AWGs will have a chair (or co-chairs) elected by the majority of the current AWG participants. Chairs can serve up to 3 years before an election will take place, at which point the members may elect to nominate a new Chair or keep the current Chair.  During the election period, participants can self-nominate and elections can be led by GeneLab or NASA members, for anonymity.

If a Chair is not elected, GeneLab can select an interim Chair until participants reach a majority.  Chairs will lead the AWGs and will draft a schedule and review progress of each AWG towards achieving their goals. GeneLab Representative - Each AWG will have a designated representative from GeneLab to help ensure outcomes of the work meet GeneLab criteria and to otherwise support the work of the AWG. A GeneLab representative can also be chair of an AWG.

Coordinators – The following Coordinators will be selected on a volunteer basis by each AWG. Multiple coordinating functions may be performed by a single Coordinator.

  • Analysis Coordinator - The analysis coordinator tracks the progress of individual analyses, ensuring that analyses are done in a consistent and reproducible manner, sets deadlines for completion of individual analyses, and collects and organizes interim and final analysis results.
  • Communication Coordinator – Assembles information for newsletter or manuscript sections, ensures consistency in writing and figure styles, and sets goals for the completion of articles or newsletter.

    Expectations for AWG Participation

    Participation in GeneLab AWGs is open to all investigators (academic, government, private sector), and students (i.e. high-school, undergraduates, graduates, interns); however participants must be willing to:

    1. Contribute significantly to the goals of the AWG.
    2. Take part in group activities including periodic teleconferences. Participants are expected to actively contribute to the group goals (see above).
    3. Share AWG products with other AWG participants via the collaborative workspace provided by the GLDS.

    An investigator who would like to take part in any AWG(s) should provide a description of their expertise in the relevant area of analysis to GeneLab, and must sign a statement of acknowledgement of the Expectations for AWG Participation (see above). Expectations from students are based on their academic levels. High-school students should be sponsored by a member of the AWG or part of a NASA education program (e.g. GL4HS, GL4U, citizen science).  Similarly, we recommend undergraduate and graduate students seek approval and invite their  mentors to join the  AWGs, if not already an active member. Attendance at meetings is sufficient for high-school students, while undergraduate and graduate students are expected to contribute to AWG deliverables under the mentorship of their sponsor. Requests for participation in AWGs will be reviewed by GeneLab and the AWG chairs who must reach a consensus to allow the applicant to participate. The AWG chair(s) and GeneLab will review participation in each group yearly.

    Benefits of AWG Participation

    By participating within a GeneLab AWG, investigators will join a group of scientific excellence and may co-author a landmark paper. They will help set data and analysis standards for the community, and may develop relationships that could lead to additional collaborations.


    Work or activities accomplished by the AWG participants can be cited as follows:

    • Publications (acknowledgement with example) 
      • Members must make sure to highlight that they were acknowledged in a pub and were not authors. 
      • Example citation: Last name, first and middle initial. “Title of publication.” Name of Journal, volume number, issue number, date of print publication, page numbers. [Acknowledged in publication] 
      • Smith, J. “GeneLab: The NASA Systems Biology Platform for Space Omics Repository, Analysis and Visualization.” Patterns, vol 2, no 6, February 2021, pg 78-83. [Acknowledged in publication] 
    • In abstract submissions for conference presentations  
      • Example citation: Author(s) of abstract. Title of abstract [abstract]. Name of conference and date, place of conference. 
      • Galazka JG, Gebre SG. GeneLab: The NASA Systems Biology Platform for Space Omics Repository, Analysis and Visualization [abstract]. COSPAR 2022, Austin, TX (or virtual). [Work submitted while an active member of GeneLab’s Microbes AWG]
    • Conference presentation slides
      • Example citation: Role (as presenter, panelist, keynote speaker), Title/topic discussed. Forum/conference name and date, Location. [Work accomplished while an active member of GeneLab’s AWG]
      • Presenter, Spatial gene expression analysis of spaceflight effects on mouse heart and brain. ASGSR 2021, Baltimore, MD. [Work accomplished while an active member of GeneLab’s Animal AWG] 

    Other citations for workshops, social media and press releases can be found here.


    Participants cannot use the GeneLab AWG partnership as a means to claim any direct affiliation with NASA.  Participants can, however, list partnership with the AWGs on their CVs in the following manner, example below.

    1. Active member (or chair) of GeneLab’s Plant AWG since 2020.

    Invited speakers attending AWG meetings cannot claim GeneLab AWG or any other NASA partnerships as a result of their presentation.

    Code of Conduct

    AWGs are strongly committed to ensuring that all meetings and interactions are conducted with the highest possible levels of integrity, inclusion, and professional respect.  To this end, the AWGs are adopting the following Codes of Conduct for all members:

    Expected Behavior

    1. All participants are treated with respect and consideration, valuing a diversity of views and opinions
    2. Be considerate, respectful, and collaborative. Communicate openly with respect for others, critiquing ideas rather than individuals
    3. Anyone requested to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. Chairs, co-chairs, and GeneLab representatives may take any action deemed necessary and appropriate, including immediate removal from the meeting or the AWG
    4. Do not interrupt others or talk over others
    5. Be mindful of bias in all contexts
    6. AWG chairs, co-chairs, and GeneLab representatives should  step in immediately to address abusive or bullying behavior
    7. Be respectful of all regardless of differences (professional or otherwise)
    8. All members should work to create an environment free of harassment

    Unacceptable Behavior

    1. Harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in any form will not be tolerated
    2. Physical or verbal abuse of any participant
    3. Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disbility, physical apprearance, body size, race, religion, national origin, or threatening or stalking any participant

    Reporting Unacceptable Behavior

    If you are the subject of unacceptable behavior or have witnessed any such behavior, please notify chairs or GeneLab representatives immediately. Notification should be done by contacting the chairs and/or GeneLab representatives or by emailing your concern to


    Last updated 3/2022