No. 19: Introducing Visiting Scientists & New Data

GeneLab Welcomes Visiting Scientists

Meet Tess Morris-Paterson and Alik Huseynov, two visiting scientists who recently joined NASA’s GeneLab team!

Tess Morris-PatersonAlik Huseynov

Prior to joining GeneLab,Tess pursued a career in human performance and research, ranging from planning and delivering clinical trials to working with extreme explorers and elite athletes. She is currently completing her doctorate part-time at King’s College London, focusing on skeletal muscle adaptation to simulated microgravity. Tess is leveraging this expertise to study human phenotypic adaptation alongside multi-omics work on GeneLab, and to comprehensively prepare for astronaut selection through the European Space Agency next year.

Alik has a varied scientific background encompassing humanities, geo-bioscience, and data analysis. He completed his doctorate at the University of Zurich in the Evolutionary Biology program, working on skeletal and sex-specific changes in the human and primate pelvis during development. Generally, he is interested in interdisciplinary theoretical and mixed computational-experimental methods to understand how living systems change in the space environment and on low-gravity planets. He joined GeneLab because of his long-term passion for space-related research. Alik is now working on spatial transcriptomics data, which will be a new addition to GeneLab for storage, analysis, and visualization.

GeneLab’s Sample Processing Lab Honored

GeneLab sample processing lab team

Surrounding GeneLab’s new Illumina NovaSeq 6000 sequencing instrument is the project’s Sample Processing Lab team (left to right): Yi-Chun Chen, Marie Dinh, Valery Boyko, and newest member Shyamli Narang.

GeneLab’s state-of-the-art Sample Processing Laboratory (SPL) generates omics data from biological experiments aboard the ISS and space shuttle. Lab Manager Valery Boyko was recently honored for her outstanding leadership of the SPL team in a FILMSS contract awards ceremony on March 27, 2019. In part, the award reads: “…Valery has exemplified what it means to be a leader and has worked tirelessly with her team to establish GeneLab’s sequencing facility and develop standard operations protocols for library preparation and nucleotide sequencing…”

In addition, SPL team members Marie Dinh and Yi-Chun Chen were also recognized by FILMSS with a Team Star Award. This award was presented for, “…tremendous growth in the past year, learning new techniques, establishing a state-of-the-art sequencing core and troubleshooting and optimizing processes… and have become Next-generation Sequencing experts, producing high-quality data.”

Upcoming Meetings

Visit the NASA GeneLab and Space Life Sciences exhibit booth at the following 2019 meetings:

  • American Society of Microbiology, San Francisco, CA, June 20 – 25
  • ISSR&D, Atlanta, GA, July 28 – Aug. 2
  • American Society for Plant Biologists, San Jose, CA, Aug. 2 – 8
  • Radiation Research Society, San Diego, CA, Nov. 2 – 7
  • ASGSR, Denver, CO, Nov. 18 – 24
  • American Society for Cell Biology, Washington, DC, Dec. 6 – 12


The GeneLab Team