Boise State engineers given the opportunity to send stem cell research into space – Boise State University The Arbiter Online

Boise State engineers have been awarded $315,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to launch stem cell research into space. 

Alexander Regner, master’s student in materials science engineering, has been working on stem cell research for nearly three years. Through Regner’s research, he has studied the health and maintenance of bone and bone marrow. 

As you exercise and move, your bone marrow stimulates cells, which is a vital part of maintaining health, according to Regner.  

“That’s why exercise is so good for you. We know all of this contributes to health and maintenance, but we don’t actually know what it looks like mechanically to these cells,” Regner said.

Photo by Martin Lopez

Regner and his associates Gunes Uzer, assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering, and Aykut Satici, assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering, have created a model to mimic the bone marrow mechanical environment and analyze what kind of mechanical environment is causing the cells to react in certain ways. 

Regner uses a computer simulation that matches a 3D printed physical sample. This allows Regner to understand what the mechanical environment looks like so they can correlate the mechanical environment to the cellular response. 

Through this research, Regner asks the big question, “is there a different mechanical environment generated due to changes in bone architecture?” 

Gunes and Satici looked at Regner’s research and wanted to bring it
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