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The UK’s first Space Innovation Lab, dedicated to understanding the effect of space microgravity on the ageing process, opens at the Botnar Institute today.

Ghada Alsaleh
The new Space Innovation Lab connects Dr. Ghada Alsaleh (pictured) to the International Space Station where experiments will tell us about the ageing of cells

Led by Dr. Ghada Alsaleh, researchers will have direct operational connection to the International Space Station (ISS) to follow their research experiments, in particular on human tissue samples that might provide a better understanding of the mechanisms of ageing, and lead to potential treatments to address age-associated diseases.

As populations around the world are getting older, ageing is becoming one of the most significant societal issues particularly around health and disease. Ageing is characterised by a progressive loss of cellular function, and is associated with various diseases including neurodegeneration, cancer, cardiovascular disorders, and infection. The consequence is not only the impact on quality of life, but also comes with a high medical-economic cost.

Dr. Alsaleh said: 'The microgravity in space acts as to accelerate the ageing process so provides an excellent platform to investigate the underlying cellular mechanisms that normally occur over a very long period on earth. Our collaboration will help advance our understanding of human physiology and human health on our planet, to potentially find new drugs that can promote healthier ageing.'

The Oxford lab joins a global network of Space Innovation Labs that have been created through a partnership between Metavisionaries (UK) and Space Applications Services (BE). The aim of the partnership is to promote the scientific, industrial, and educational application of the Metaverse and cooperate on related space knowledge transfer.

Read the full story on the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences website.