STEAM Coordinator Andrea Tehan Carnes organized an event on Friday, September 30 that connected Stoneleigh-Burnham School students with a NASA scientist who is growing plants in space.

The event connected students with the Digital Learning Network (DLN) to talk with Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul, a research professor from the University of Florida who is studying plants on the International Space Station. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) manages the U.S. National Laboratory and sponsors this experiment. This event was interactive and students had the opportunity to ask questions through Twitter or email.

Dr. Paul’s research interests focus on the regulation of plant gene expression in response to abiotic stress and extreme environments, with particular interest in chromatin structure, genome organization, and non-genetic change. Environments associated with spaceflight provide an opportunity to explore plant genomic responses to stress that is outside the evolutionary experience of terrestrial organisms. This unique platform lets her watch how plants react to stress with no gravity; providing a window into the origins of adaptive processes.