Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for the NIH-CASIS Coordinated Program in Tissue Chip Systems Translational Research in Space(UH2/UH3)

Notice Number: NOT-TR-16-018

Key Dates
Release Date: July 11, 2016

Estimated Publication Date of Announcement: August 2016
First Estimated Application Due Date: December 2016
Earliest Estimated Award Date: July 2017
Earliest Estimated Start Date: August 2017

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)


The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) intends to promote a new initiative by publishing a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit applications for research on the International Space Station United States National Laboratory (ISS-NL). This opportunity seeks to leverage recent advances in tissue engineering and microfabrication to create microphysiological systems and organ-on-chip technology platforms that recapitulate human physiology to understand the molecular basis of human disease and/or the effectiveness of diagnostic markers and therapeutic intervention for disease treatment. NCATS and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) share a common interest in translating models of living human tissues on microchips and related novel technologies for the microfabrication of human cell-based systems to the ISS-NL to understand the molecular and cellular basis of human disease in microgravity. CASIS is the nonprofit organization responsible for managing and promoting research onboard the ISS-NL. To that extent, NCATS and CASIS have established a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in order to promote communication and interaction among the NIH, CASIS and other research communities, specifically in relation to the NIH NCATS Tissue Chip Program, to facilitate space-related research. Translation of this research to the ISS-NL promises to accelerate the discovery of molecular mechanisms that underlie a range of common human disorders and advance understanding of therapeutic targets and treatments in a reduced fluid shear, microgravity environment that recapitulates cellular and tissue matrices of Earth.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects.

This FOA will utilize the UH2/UH3 activity code. Details of the planned FOA are provided below.

An informational webinar will be hosted September 6, 2016 from 1pm to 4pm EST. The webinar will provide interested investigators an opportunity to meet and interact with (implementation partners) personnel that have specific expertise in developing spaceflight experiments for the ISS-NL. Additionally a website has been created,, to facilitate discussions and distribute information relevant to this initiative.

Research Initiative Details

This Notice encourages investigators with expertise and insights into human microphysiological systems and related technologies that recapitulate human physiology and that can be used to better understand human health and disease to begin to consider applying for this new FOA.

In addition, collaborative investigations combining expertise in materials science, microfabrication, microfluidics, universal media, stem cell technology, tissue engineering, disease modeling, and developing spaceflight experiments for the ISS-NL will be encouraged; these investigators should also begin considering applying for this application.

Among the areas of research encouraged in this initiative are translational research examining the mechanisms that underlie the effects of diseases or conditions associated with bone and cartilage, skeletal muscle, brain, gastrointestinal tract, lung, liver, microvasculature, skin, or other tissues due to prolonged exposure to a microgravity environment, as well as research designed to improve the translation of existing knowledge of strategies for the prevention and treatment of such diseases or conditions.

It is anticipated that the UH2 phase will involve studies on ground development using tissue chip technology under a microgravity environment, flight integration, conducting experiments at the ISS-NL, and post flight analysis. Successful UH2 projects will transition into the UH3 phase for re-flight and additional experiments and analysis.



Please direct all inquiries to:

Danilo A. Tagle, Ph.D.
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Telephone: 301-594-8064