Peter Grabham represents the CRR in NASA Spaceflight Biology Paper Coordinated Publications

November 30, 2020

Coordinated papers focus on effects of spaceflight environment on astronauts’ health

Long term spaceflight environment, either on board the International Space Station (ISS) or planned missions to the moon and beyond to Mars, exert considerable health effects on astronauts including physiological, sensory and mental alterations. On November 25th, a coordinated package of 29 scientific papers were published in five Cell Press journals and appeared online (, including Cell, Cell Reports, IScience, Cell Systems, and Patterns. These manuscripts span >200 investigators from dozens of academic, government, aerospace, and industry groups, representing the largest set of astronaut data and space biology data ever produced. The work also cements a unique collaboration across the four largest space agencies in the world: NASA, Japanese Space Agency (JAXA), European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Space Agency (ROSCOSMOS).

In a senior authorship review article published in Cell, Dr. Peter Grabham, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at Columbia University Medical Center (in the Center for Radiological Research) uncovered the impact of known hazards of spaceflight, such as radiation and microgravity, and discussed the standards for multi-omics from space and the preparations needed for Mars and other missions in the next two decades. Dr. Peter Grabham and his colleague, Dr. Hazeem Okunola contributed to 4 of the papers in the package. In his second senior authorship paper in this series, published in ISciences, he described the adverse effects of space radiation on angiogenesis. 

Using human 3D micro-vessel models, blockage of the early motile stage of angiogenesis was determined to occur after exposure to low LET ions (<3 KeV/AMU), whereas inhibition of the later stages occurs after exposure to high LET ions (>8 KeV/AMU). Strikingly, the combined effect is synergistic, detectible as low as 0.06 Gy making mixed ion space radiation more potent. In addition, microRNAs play an essential role in mediating the angiogenesis pathways and increased health risks associated with cardiovascular disease.


Space Health