Publication Date

Fall 2021

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Bioinformatics (MSBI)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Philip Heller


bone loss, differential gene expression, Nextflow, gene enrichment analysis


Spaceflight poses many risks to human health due to the harsh conditions of microgravity, cosmic radiation, and confinement. One of the impacts that spaceflight entails is bone loss, which is a risk to astronauts as future space missions will require long travel durations. To elucidate the role of genetics in spaceflight bone loss, in this study differential gene expression analysis was performed using Nextflow-RCP, an adaptation of NASA Genelab’s RNA-Seq Consensus pipeline. The dataset for this project was GLDS-241, which contained samples from mice femoral skin. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the genes involved in bone loss, the results from the differential gene expression analysis were further analyzed using programs specifically for gene enrichment analysis. The findings demonstrated that there are many factors involved in bone loss under microgravity conditions. Altogether, the results from the gene enrichment analysis indicated a relationship between bone loss and glucose metabolism. However, additional studies on the mechanisms involved in bone loss are necessary to reduce bone loss in astronauts and assure their safe travel in space.