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Florida Tech Research Team Earns Competitive Grant, Begins ISS Mission Biology Experiment
Date:2/19/2013

MELBOURNE, Fla., Feb. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Florida Institute of Technology researchers have won a prestigious grant enabling their biology experiment to travel on a flight to the International Space Station (ISS). Their proposal, "Self-Assembly in Biology and the Origin of Life (SABOL): A Study into Alzheimer's," was just one of eight proposals chosen by Space Florida and NanoRacks, LLC, in the ISS Research Competition. 

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120521/DC10853LOGO )

For the International Space Station experiment, the winners receive payload transportation to the ISS via an upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Launch is currently slated for September 2013.

Florida Tech faculty researchers are former astronaut Sam Durrance, professor of physics and space sciences; and College of Engineering faculty members Daniel Kirk and Hector Gutierrez . They will work with about 30 science and engineering students to design and develop the payload and analyze the data.

"We seek to gain an improved understanding of the origin of life on our planet and of Alzheimer's disease, and provide an opportunity to apply this new understanding for the betterment of humanity," said Durrance.

Durrance leads the biological science experiment, which will investigate the spontaneous assembly of amyloid proteins into long linear fibers. Postmortem studies of neurons taken from Alzheimer's disease victims show accumulated l
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