Event: Unboxing of space-travelling yeast and algae

Media are invited to capture the unveiling of two UBC science experiments that have circled the moon as part of NASA’s Artemis 1 lunar mission.

UBC pharmaceutical sciences researcher Dr. Corey Nislow, having hand-carried the samples back from Cape Canaveral, will discuss how space flight has changed baker’s yeast and algae cultures that nestled inside Artemis 1’s Orion capsule for 26 days in space.

  • See how the cultures have bloomed and changed
  • Compare “before” and “after” photos
  • Capture initial microscopic study of the cultures

The experiments are part of research funded by NASA and led by Dr. Nislow that explores the effects of space radiation and near-zero gravity on living organisms. “Studying the genetic changes caused by exposure to cosmic rays during the flight can give clues on treatments to protect future space travellers and even cancer patients receiving chemotherapy,” said Dr. Nislow.

The NASA collaboration began in 2011, when Dr. Nislow sent 6,000 different yeast mutants to the International Space Station to study the effects of microgravity. Dr. Nislow proposed expanding on this project, this time including algae, for Artemis 1. Artemis launched on Nov. 16 after three postponed launches and returned to Earth Dec. 11 in a highly anticipated splashdown on the Pacific Ocean.

“We at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC are tremendously inspired by the outstanding work undertaken by NASA and Dr. Nislow,” says Dr. Michael Coughtrie, professor and dean, UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“We collectively waited in anticipation of the safe return of the Artemis 1 capsule and its payload in December and are delighted that this remarkable scientific experiment will now progress to the next phase as the samples are examined and processed.”

Date/Time: Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, 10 a.m.- 12 p.m.

Location: GGCN Lab, Pharmaceutical Sciences Building, 2405 Wesbrook Mall, UBC Vancouver V6T 1Z3 map

Parking: Thunderbird Parkade map

Assignment editors: Staff will meet media on the ground floor of the Pharmaceutical Sciences building shortly before the event. The event starts at 10 a.m. sharp. Please RSVP to lou.bosshart@ubc.ca

Photos and b-roll: Will be available before 3 p.m. Wednesday.


  • 10-10:20 a.m. Presentation by Dr. Corey Nislow
  • 10:20 a.m.-12 p.m. Media availability (please contact lou.bosshart@ubc.ca to book a timeslot)

Interview opportunities:

  • Dr. Corey Nislow, lead researcher