We investigate how human physiology is affected by microgravity. Dr. Perez-Poch has graduated from the International Space University at the SSP09 Program held at the NASA Ames Research Center. He is a Private Pilot (PPL-A) from the Barcelona Flight School.
In a study conducted by Dexeus Mujer (PI: Dra Montserrat Boada) in collaboration with the UPC, we showed that gravity conditions outside the Earth do not affect frozen human sperm. The results of this study were reported in late June 2020 at the 35th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology held in Vienna. The study is relevant as it shows the feasibility of using frozen backs in microgrativity conditions, thus suggesting the possibility of using IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) techniques to allow Human Reproduction in Space.
The experiments are conducted in Sabadell Airport (in the outskirts of Barcelona) with the collaboration of Aeroclub Barcelona-Sabadell as flight operator. Our contribution as Computer Science department consisted of developing a specific flight simulator which enabled us to optimize the quality of microgravity during the parabolas (see Paper #5 below).
We have looked at other phenomena in microgravity. With the group of Dr Goswani from Austria we have looked into the effects of performing mental arithmetics on the cardiovascular system (see Paper #6 below). The relevance of the results is that they suggest that mental gymnastics may play a role as a coutermeasure during long-term spaceflights outside Earth.
We are ready to cooperate with other research groups around the world interested in conducting other experiments in Microgravity. Students in our lab at LAM – UPC (Undergraduate and MSc/PhD) can also develop their research skills within our research group.
The team of researchers from Dexeus Mujer and the UPC standing in front of the small aerobatic aircraft used to perform the study
We are pioneers in the world in using single-engine aerobatic aircraft to conduct parabolic flights in cooperation with Aeroclub Barcelona-Sabadell.
This enables us to produce short periods (5-8.5 seconds) of microgravity so-called parabolas in which life sciences and physical experiments can be conducted, at a reasonable cost.
Look at our Outreach Section for opportunities to fly your experiment in microgravity in a unique environment. It may be your first time to enter into the fascinating world of space research! window2theuniverse.org
1. Boada, M.; Perez-Poch, A.; Balester M.,; García-Monclús S., González D.V.; García S.,; Barri P.N.; Veiga A. Microgravity effects on frozen human sperm samples. Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics. <https://doi.org/10.1007/s10815-020-01877-5>, Q1, Impact factor = 2.34.
2. Boada, M.; Perez-Poch, A.; Ballester, M.;Garcia, S.; Ventura, D.; Rodríguez, I.; Barri, P.; Veiga , A. Effect of microgravity on frozen human sperm samples. Can they be sent to space?. Human Reproduction. 2019. Volume: 34. Number: Supplement_1. pp.: P-434:i511. <https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/34.Supplement_1.1>, 1st decil, Q1, Impact factor = 5.5.