The New 
Florida Protein Crystals in Space Program
Co-Sponsored by
The Florida Space Grant Consortium
Program Manager
Robert S. Smith
Co-Sponsored by
The Alabama Space Grant Consortium
Last updated:  August 1st, 2008

Credit: NASA photograph

The "Old" Florida Protein Crystals in Space grant funding  terminated on May 31st, 2005. The program was sponsored by the Florida Space Grant Consortium through a grant mangaed by the University of North Florida.  Dr. Marianne Barnes was the Principal Investigator for the grant and Mr. Robert S. Smith was the Program Manager and Instructor. The Florida program was part of a national program managed by a group from The University of California Irvine.  In the six years of the program's existance, over a thousand Florida high school students and teachers learned about structural biology, microgravity research, and space technology and participated in a lysozyme protein crystallization classroom activity.  Over 100 of these students and teachers were selected to participate in workshops conducted at either at the University of Alabama at Hunsville (UAH) or in the vicinity of the Kennedy Space Center to make protein crystal payloads which were launched by three space shuttle missions to the International Space Station (ISS).


Credit: NASA photograph
The International Space Station (ISS)-  Athough protein crystal microgravity experiments were conducted on space shuttle missions and onboard the Russian MIR space station prior to our program, the destination for our first three missions was the ISS. In fact our first mission, STS-106, was the first science payload mission to be conducted onbord the ISS (September, 2000). 

Credit: ESA-Astrium
The destination for the new program will also be the ISS. The difference will be that the payload samples will be transported to the ISS onboard a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Cosmodrome in Baikonour, Russia in October, 2008.  Our ability to fly payload samples is being made possible by a donation by Dr. Owen K. Garriott, Azstronaut; Skylab (1973) and SpaceLab (1983).  Dr. Garriott has purchased space for his son onboard Soyuz from the Russian government.  His son will carry our payload samples onboard Soyuz to the space station.

The Alabama Space Grant consortium is responsible for the coordination of the new program.  The Florida Space Grant Consortium and some private donations provided the funding for our participation in the new program.

The New Florida Protein Crystals in Space Program

We prticipated in a workshop in Huntsville, Alabama on April 14th and 15th which was conducted by the Alabama Space Grant Consortium and  Dr. Joe Ng of the Structural Biology Department of the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH).  Four (4) teachers and fifteen (15) students participated from Florida along with students and teachers from Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi.  Six high schools from northeast Florida were represented at the workshop (The Bolles School, Terry Parker High School, and Stanton College Preparatory Academy in Jacksonville, Fleming Island High School in Clay County, and Eastside High School and Oak Hall School in Gainesville). One of the activities conducted at this workshop involved the students and two of the teachers making payload samples which are planned to be launched on the Soyuz rocket from Russia in October for the ISS.

To prepare for the April Huntsville workshops, we held pre-qualification workshops at Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville on Saturday, March 22nd  Fleming Island High School in Clay County on Tuesday, March 25th, and at Eastside High School in Gainesville on Wedensday, March 26th. A total of 42 students and 4 teachers participated in these workshops. Images and description of various activities of these workshops are displayed in the school links above.

Click HERE to see details of the April Huntsville Workshop

We particiapted in a second workshop in Huntsville, this time onf June 24th and 25th, 2009. Three (3) teachers and eleven (11) students; one student from Terry Parker and ten from Fleming Island Highj school participated in the workshop.

Click HERE to see details of the June Huntsville Workshop

We would like to thank Dr. John Gregory and Debora Nielson for their support of the Protein Crystals in Space Program

We would like to thank Dr. Jaydeep Mukhergee and Shreela Mallick for their support of the Protein Cruystals in Space Program


We would like tio thank Dr. Joe Ng and the staff of the Structural Biology Laboratory for their coordination of the Huntsville workshops

We would like to thank the officers and family members of the 1967 era VA-15 Valions for their support of the June Huntsville workshop.


A General Overview of the
"Old" Florida Protein Crystals in Space Program Program

Click here to view our Power Point presentation

'Links to "Old" Program Highlights

 Presentations and Conferences
Teacher/Student Workshops
Lysozyme Protein Crystal Growth
Lab Activity Procedures
Student Mentoring Program

"OLd Program" Advanced Student Workshops

Cocoa Beach Hilton Workshop
January 23rd-January 25th, 2004
Cocoa Beach Hilton Workshop
January 31st-February 2nd, 2003
Kennedy Space Center Workshop
February 8-11, 2002
Kennedy Space Center Workshop
 December 16-21, 2000
UAH Summer Workshop
June, 2000
UAH  Summer Workshop
June, 1999

Visit The University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) Structural Biology Lab and
learn about Structural Biology and Rational Drug Design

Click here to see the details of our three previous space shuttle launches/space station missions.

Check this out!!
Click here to take a 'Gold Badge Tour' of KSC Facilities 

Space Station Matters
Future Development
Observable Protein Crystal Growth Apparatus (OPCGA) Experiment

Other Important Protein Crystals in Space links:

Track the Space Station Website (Marshall Space Flight Center)

NASA's Human Spaceflight Website

NASA's Microgravity Research Program Website (MSFC)

Microgravity News (MSFC)

Biological Crystal Growth in Space

Site Map for Research in Biological Crystal Growth in Space

Unless otherwise credited, images were taken by Robert S. Smith
The website was created and is maintained by: Robert S. Smith , Program Manager

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