Dr. Spielmann receives $100,000 grant to study astronaut’s plasma & saliva samples
Guillaume Spielmann, Assistant Professor of Exercise Physiology/Immunology in the School of Kinesiology, received a grant for $100,000 for his research proposal titled, “The impact of long duration spaceflight on the function of B-cells and biomarkers of inflammation.”
Long duration spaceflights have been associated with dysregulation of the immune system and latent viral reactivations, which could jeopardize crew safety and mission success. Long duration spaceflights can increase crewmember’s risk for infection.
Dr. Spielmann seeks to extend the current knowledge on spaceflight-induced immune changes to B-cell function, a type of white blood cell specialized in producing antibody against various bacteria and viruses. Optimal B-cell function is critical to mount adequate immune responses against pathogens and consequently prevent clinical manifestations of various illnesses. While B-cell function on earth is well understood, little is known on the impact of prolonged exposure to microgravity and other stressors associated with spaceflight on the function of B-cells.
Dr. Spielmann will analyze archived plasma and saliva samples previously collected from crew members throughout several International Space Station missions in order to evaluate B-cell function during and following long-duration missions.
Results of this study will provide researchers with a better understanding of how B-cells response to immune challenges and viral reactivation during orbital flights. This is essential to identify any clinical risks that may arise due to altered immunity during long-duration spaceflight missions.
Dr. Spielmann’s research interests center on the impact of various stressors, both physiological and psychological, on the immune system. His primary interest is to describe the immunological decrements of aging and stress, and explore the mechanisms by which behavioral interventions (i.e. weight loss, physical activity) mitigate this response.
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