However, the mechanisms of amyloid fiber assembly are difficult to study on Earth because the protein fibers settle, which prevents further growth. In weightlessness they should stay suspended and continue growing with multiple fibers wrapping around each other into helical fiber bundles. Analyzing these fiber bundles should improve the understanding of the internal structure of the amyloid fibers. The researchers believe that understanding the colloidal chemistry and biochemistry of amyloid fiber formation should lead to strategies for controlling the process.
The experiment will include about nine different incubation periods from one to 30 days during orbit operations. When the buffer solution and protein powder are mixed and the temperature is set, it takes about a day to agglomerate into protein spheres, a few days to form fibers and a week or more to become tangling fibers, which in 30 days on Earth, would settle.
The experiment, to be contained in a payload unit called a NanoLab Module—a four-inch cube—can be manipulated and monitored from Florida Tech laboratories while in flight.
About Florida Institute of Technology
Founded at the dawn of the Space Race in 1958, Florida Tech is the only independent, technological university in the Southeast. The university is designated a Tier One Best National University in U.S. News & World Report, and is one of just nine schools in Florida lauded by the 2012 Fiske Guide to Colleges and recognized by Bloomberg Businessweek as the best college for return on inve
|SOURCE Florida Institute of Technology|
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