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2018 Annual Session Conference

Taking Craniofacial Patient Discoveries to the International Space Station

May 8, 2018 8:05am ‐ May 8, 2018 8:35am


We will describe the very first American live-return rodent research conducted by UCLA, NASA, Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and NIH successfully launched (via SpaceX CRS-11) on June 3rd, 2017 and is ongoing. In brief, study tests 40 rodents in microgravity condition to assess the efficacy of NELL-1, an osteogenic molecule that is associated with craniofacial development and directs stem cells to spur bone growth and prevent bone degeneration. UCLA team oversees ground operations of mission in tandem with flight operations coordinated and supported by CASIS and NASA. How this project went from bedside discovery to space exploration through 20 years of research and development led by orthodontic clinician-scientists will be described.

Learning Objectives:

  • Evaluate craniofacial patients in a scientific approach to provide better care for patients with not only identical conditions but also completely different conditions that might have resulted from similar biologic mechanisms.
  • Demonstrate the ability to have a wider application of your expertise in orthodontics and craniofacial biology, and not limit it to the field of orthodontics or dentistry.
  • Recognize many opportunities outside the laboratory settings to test a clinically relevant scientific hypothesis.


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