NIH GUIDE, Volume 21, Number 19, May 22, 1992

Sources Sought:  NIH-NINDS-92-001

P.T. 34




  Sensory System 

  Behavioral/Experimental Psychology 

  Cell Lines 

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) seek

information from individuals and organizations with the capability and

interest in conducting basic and applied neuroscience research aboard

the proposed Decade of the Brain Neurolab Space Mission, which is

tentatively scheduled for early 1998.  The Spacelab will provide access

to the unique research environment of space flight for basic and

applied studies.  Where appropriate, ground-based studies will be

supported to develop a protocol, collect data from related space

experiments, test procedures, conduct simulations, and analyze flight

data.  Interested parties must submit five copies of a

two-to-three-page summary of the proposed research, curricula vitae,

and a concise and complete description of the organization's


Some scientific areas tentatively identified for emphasis include:

o  Developmental biology, including the role gravity plays in the

development of motor control;

o  Cellular and molecular neurobiology, particularly as weightlessness

would provide a tool to investigate the role gravity plays in

intracellular and extracellular function and in cell-cell interaction;

o  Neural processing of sensory inputs at the cortical and subcortical

levels and other functions of the nervous system that are particularly

relevant to adaptation to gravity (balance, proprioception, motor


o  Behavior and performance including investigations using virtual

reality and studies of crew interaction and human-machine interaction;


o  Technology improvement and innovation:  Investigators will be

encouraged to incorporate the latest proven technology in the studies.

New hardware will be designed so that it can later be deployed on Space

Station Freedom for further research in the life sciences.

Neurolab will be configured as an integrated laboratory for

neuroscience research, and it is anticipated that the following

facilities will be available:  cell culture facilities; animal housing

for rats; glove box and work station for in-flight manipulation of the

animals; biological sample processing and storage facilities;

stimulating equipment for vestibular research; imaging equipment;

electrophysiological equipment; facilities and equipment to sample

blood and collect urine; laboratory computers and computer work

stations; video; and virtual reality.  Spacelab is a pressurized module

that is contained in and attached to the cargo bay of the Space

Shuttle.  It has 22 cubic meters available for experiment hardware and

equipment, is pressurized to 14.7 psi, and provides a "shirt sleeve"

laboratory environment.  The module contains utilities, work areas, and

instrument racks for experiments.

Four crew members will be assigned to the science payload.  By

monitoring data and having air-to-ground dialogue and live TV from

orbit, the investigators on the ground virtually work side-by-side with

their colleagues in space.

The research can include experimental data collection before and after

flight as well as during the flight. Experimental subjects will include

the four science crew members; rats, ranging in age from neonatal to

fully developed (aged); and invertebrates.

Since Neurolab is proposed to fly in 1998 and the project requires a

long preparation, planning must start soon to meet that date.

This is not a Request for Proposals.  It is a request for interest in

participation.  The government does not intend to make award on the

basis of responses to this announcement nor to make payment for

preparation of any information that may be submitted.

Responses must be submitted not later than July 3, 1992, to:

William Heetderks, M.D., Ph.D.

Division of Fundamental Neurosciences

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Federal Building, Room 916

Bethesda, MD  20892


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