Huntsville, AL – October 29, 2021 - Teledyne Brown Engineering designed and manufactured a device to examine the formation of protein aggregates called amyloid fibrils which may be related to diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, as part of the Ring Sheared Drop (RSD) experiment conducted on the International Space Station. Syringes containing protein solution and test cells used in the RSD experiment were recently returned to Earth for further scientific research. The RSD device uses the microgravity of space to suspend a drop of liquid between two rings, instead of using a container, as experiments on Earth require. One ring rotates while the other is stationary, creating a shear flow in the liquid drop while retaining uniform fluid structure. Microscopes equipped with digital cameras record the data for downlink to scientists on the Earth in near real time.
“We are gratified to be contributing to an experiment that may further advancements in understanding illnesses that have affected millions of people worldwide," stated Jan Hess, President of Teledyne Brown Engineering. “Our hope is that the results from this study will bring us closer to treatments for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's."
Scientists have identified that the clumping of amyloid fibrils is associated with neurodegenerative diseases. Further research has shown that shear flow plays a significant role in the formation of amyloid fibrils. The fluid dynamics in microgravity of space provides the ideal environment for the formation and clumping of these protein fibers as they form in the human body. The study confirmed that the surface tension concept of RSD works for containing protein solutions in space. Fluid extracted after each experiment run is returning to Earth so researchers can determine the extent of protein fibril formation, study their structure, and compare both to what happens in ground-based controls.
Teledyne Brown Engineering, working with the science team at Rensselaer Pyrotechnic Institute (RPI) in New York, designed, developed, and integrated RSD on the ISS under contract to NASA Marshall Space Flight Center prior to its launch in July 2019. The company performed system safety analysis and pre-flight testing for the hardware. Teledyne Brown Engineering developed the flight software and ground control software that is used by graduate student operators at RPI and supplies continuous Subject Matter Expert support for all flight hardware, operations, and software under a separate contract to NASA Johnson Space Center.
About Teledyne Brown Engineering
Teledyne Brown Engineering is an industry leader in full-spectrum engineering and advanced manufacturing solutions for harsh environments in space, defense, energy, and maritime industries. For over six decades, the company has successfully delivered innovative systems, integration, operations, and technology development worldwide. For more information about Teledyne Brown Engineering visit: www.tbe.com.
About Teledyne Technologies Incorporated
Teledyne Technologies is a leading provider of sophisticated instrumentation, digital imaging products and software, aerospace, defense electronics, and engineered systems. Teledyne Technologies' operations are primarily located in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Western and Northern Europe. For more information, visit Teledyne Technologies' website at www.teledyne.com.