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Whitehead Connects with Kathleen "Kate" Rubins

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Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

455 Main Street

Cambridge, MA 02142

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Whitehead Connects with Kathleen "Kate" Rubins
NASA Astronaut and former Whitehead Fellow

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
5:30 pm presentation
6:30 pm networking reception

Whitehead Institute
455 Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02142

About the Speaker
Kathleen "Kate" Rubins is a NASA astronaut. She became the 60th woman to fly in space when she launched on a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station on July 6, 2016. She returned to Earth on October 30, 2016 aboard a Soyuz. She was a crew member of Expedition 48 and Expedition 49 of the International Space Station.

Kate Rubins accepted a Fellow/Principal Investigator position at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (MIT/Cambridge, Massachusetts) and headed a lab of researchers studying viral diseases that primarily affect Central and West Africa. Work in the Rubins Lab focused on poxviruses and host-pathogen interaction as well as viral mechanisms for regulating host cell mRNA transcription, translation and decay. In addition, she conducted research on transcriptome and genome sequencing of filoviruses (Ebola and Marburg) and Arenaviruses (Lassa Fever) and collaborative projects with the U.S. Army to develop therapies for Ebola and Lassa viruses.

August 2016, Rubins became the first person to sequence DNA in space. Aboard the ISS, she used a hand-held, USB-powered DNA sequencer called the MinION made by Oxford Nanopore Technologies to determine the DNA sequences of mouse, E. coli bacteria, and lambda phage virus. It was a part of the Biomolecule Sequencer experiment, the goal of which was "to provide evidence that DNA sequencing in space is possible, which holds the potential to enable the identification of microorganisms, monitor changes in microbes and humans in response to spaceflight, and possibly aid in the detection of DNA-based life elsewhere in the universe."

In addition to biological research, she spent 12 hours and 46 minutes outside the station on two separate spacewalks.


About Whitehead Connects
Whitehead Connects is an initiative that brings renowned biology and biotech leaders to Whitehead Institute for an engaging presentation and dynamic networking opportunity for participants. Following the free public lecture, participants will have the opportunity to meet Whitehead postdoctoral fellows and learn about their latest discoveries.

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Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

455 Main Street

Cambridge, MA 02142

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