Laboratory of Space Medicine and Space Pharmacology

Space Biology and Life Sciences, Professor Dr. med. Daniela Gabriele Grimm

Overview of Projects on the International Space Station


Our working group already investigated the behaviour of endothelial cells in simulated microgravity up to 10 days alone, and in co-cultures up to 30 days.
We demonstrated changes in the cytoskeleton as well as in the regulation of extracellular matrix proteins, and we also detected different gene expression patterns and signs of apoptosis.
In simulated microgravity, endothelial cells start to form multicellular spheroids within a short time, and some of them even grow in form of tube-like structures.
To compare these results with the influence of weightlessness in space, we will send endothelial cells in a special constructed hardware to the ISS with the help of a Soyuz rocket in an ESA campaign.
Since the Columbus laboratory has been added to the ISS, there are ideal conditions for researchers in space.

The tests with the Flight Hardware are concluded and we prepare for the launch scheduled for March 20th 2016, finally, after numerous delays. You can follow the ongoings in our "Blog SPHEROIDS".

Sponsered by PRODEX, BMWi/DLR (50WB0524, 50WB0824, 50WB1124 and 50WB1524), ESA, University of Magdeburg, ETH Zurich and University of Aarhus


The successful experiments on SIMBOX during the Shenzhou-8 mission (2011, Experiment 14) were the foundation for our new investigations on the ISS with CELLBOX. The aim of the CELLBOX-Project, which started to the ISS on April 18th 2014, was to investigate the effects of real microgravity on human thyroid carcinoma cells (FTC-133 cell line). The cells were fixed 14 days after launch. These samples were analyzed and compared to previous data, which we collected when we characterized the thyroid cancer cells after exposure to simulated (RPM) and real microgravity (SIMBOX). The results were published in Protemics (see publications: Riwaldt et al. 2015).

Due to problems on board of the ISS with the experiment container, we will have a reflight of our experiment. The reflight shall take place on SpaceX 12 which might be flown 2017.

Sponsered by DLR

A Space Odyssey of Cancer Cells from Rais Foto on Vimeo.