Genes in Space: 17-Year-Old Winner's Experiment Sent to ISS

Experiment looks at impact of space environment on DNA.

April 13, 2016 in Space

While the world looks to deep space as the next frontier, one young woman from Bedford, New York has designed an experiment to help determine what astronauts need to survive the journey and stay healthy once they arrive. 17-year-old Anna-Sophia Boguraev won the inaugural Genes in Space competition in 2015.

Boguraev's experiment assesses if changes in DNA can be detected aboard the International Space Station. The experiment launched to the ISS aboard a rocket on April 8, 2016, and arrived April 10. Boguraev is working to determine if the environment astronauts live in, with micro-gravity and cosmic radiation, adversely affects their immune system.

Check out the video above for more on Anna-Sophia's story.

Thanks to Boeing’s support, Boguraev transformed her experiment from scientific theory into reality, making it an experiment that is now aboard the ISS.

A miniPCR machine is responsible for isolating a specific piece of DNA and replicating it for analysis. It’s the primary tool in the first stage of Boguraev's experiment. The miniPCR DNA analysis technology used in this experiment will remain onboard ISS as part of the Boeing Science Enrichment & Engagement Kit for future research projects.

Genes in Space works to inspire and motivate the next generation of engineers, scientists and astronauts by providing research access to the space station. The competition challenges students in grades 7- 12 to design an experiment that can solve a space exploration problem through DNA analysis.

Genes in Space partners include Boeing, miniPCR, Math for America (MƒA), the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and New England Biolabs®, Inc. (NEB®).

To learn more or to take part in the 2016 contest, visit:

Boeing has been part of the ISS since its beginning. As ISS main contractor, Boeing has helped build and integrate the space station’s many system modules, and Boeing employees will continue to support the station in the coming decades.

Boeing supports a variety of capability enhancements that will enable the continued use of the ISS well into the next decade, including a communications system for visiting spacecraft, a NASA docking system, and lithium-ion batteries that store power generated from the solar arrays. 

The video story on this page was created in collaboration with FedEX.

Lean more about the ISS:

17-year-old Anna-Sophia Boguraev worked for months with a mentor in a laboratory within the Yale School of Medicine to prepare her experiment for launch to the International Space Station.


Boguraev traveled to Cape Canaveral to witness the launch of a rocket with her experiment on board, April 8, 2016. The experiment, along with other supplies, arrived safely at the International Space Station, April 12, 2016.