Researchers are partnering with NASA to develop a new experiment that will test how amyloid protein clusters—one of the biological markers of Alzheimer’s—form.
Known as the Ring-Sheared Drop experiment, the research is focusing on how amyloid fibrils, or clusters, can be created through something called shear flow—flow velocity between liquid layers.
They will be studying how amyloid fibrils form in liquid layers, and using microgravity to develop them. Microgravity refers to a state in which people, or any solid objects, appear to float in space due to a lower amount of gravity, which pulls everything to the earth.
The goal is to “use the microgravity environment to study the shear stress of action on proteins that can cause them to transform into amyloid structure, to go from a native state to an amyloid state,” Amir Hirsa of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, who is working on the research, said in an interview with Being Patient.