CHARACTERIZING ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE IN MICROGRAVITY ENVIRONMENTS:
CULTURING S. AUREUS AND P. aeruginosa DUAL-SPECIES BIOFILMS
CSI has developed an experiment called CARMEn to study the differences in development, gene expression, and antibiotic resistance of two commonly harmful bacteria Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa when grown in a dual-species biofilm in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS). Having a thorough understanding of these changes would be greatly beneficial in planning for long-term space exploration, as well as in improving existing treatments for infections on Earth.
The CARMEn experiment won NASA's SPOCS competition in December, 2020, after earning NASA feedback of having "outstanding experimental design" and a "well-engineered [and] well-developed scientific approach." NASA has provided full funding to CSI to build and fly CARMEn to the ISS for 30 days in Winter of 2021.
CSI has created this site to document the process of creating a space station experiment and to allow citizen scientists to help analyze CARMEn's experimental data. High school and advanced middle school students are challenged to perform manual classification of Kirby Bauer disk diffusion tests, using the AntibiogramJ tool through the ImageJ image processing program. These Kirby Bauer test results directly measure changes in antibiotic susceptibility developed in the microgravity environment. Advanced high school students are challenged to write programming scripts or programs to identify, classify, and compare images of genomic sequencing data to share with the CSI CARMEn team!