Boise State professors helps eighth-graders send project into space

The project will study how study how collagen breaks down in space.
The project will study how study how collagen breaks down in space. | File photo

Two Boise State professors have helped junior high school students from the Treasure Valley Mathematics and Science Center have their science project sent to space.

Brynne Coulam and Catherine Ji developed their project, “Effect of Matrix Metalloproteinase-1 in Collagen Integrity in Microgravity,” with help from BSU biology professor Julia Oxford and researcher Stephanie Tuft.

This project is a part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). Both Coulam and Ji worked under Oxford for a year to prepare the project. Of approximately 3,000 students who applied to the program, 15 projects were selected for space flight.

“Their curiosity and intelligence have been so impressive,” Tuft said. “It has been a joy to watch them light up and grow as young scientists as they discovered more about the scientific process.” 

She said she was blown away by their college-level questions about enzyme kinetics, a topic she didn’t learn about until she was a college junior.”

Their project received guidance from University of British Columbia professor in pathology David Granville. He helped them determine the final topic for the project, which will study how collagen breaks down in space.

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