Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineer Cynthia Collins Will Study the Impacts of Microgravity on Dangerous Bacteria

There will be some very interesting passengers on the final mission of the NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis scheduled to launch July 8, 2011: thousands of bacteria.

Cynthia Collins, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Rensselaer, is leading a series of experiments called Micro-2A that will be aboard the shuttle during its scheduled 12-day mission. The research seeks to understand how microgravity changes the way potentially dangerous bacteria grows. In particular, the research will examine how they form difficult-to-kill colonies called biofilms.