NASA STEM on Station

team photo NoMAds UNH Manchester

To celebrate 20 years of continuous human presence on the International Space Station, NASA is sending five student projects to the International Space Station as part of its Student Payload Opportunity with Citizen Science (SPOCS). One of the five experiments NASA selected for its 2022 launch is NoMADS, research on bacterial mutation in space conducted by a team of UNH Manchester students and their faculty advisor, Sue Cooke.

About the Project

Led by Team Cooke, Novel Methods of Antibiotic Discovery in Space (NoMADS) examines how soil bacteria evolve or mutate in space. The project also seeks to identify if there are more antibiotic-producing bacteria in space through comparing samples sent to space with a control sample on Earth.

By studying how bacteria acts differently in space—such as mutations, antibiotic resistance and antibiotic production—the team hopes its research will help improve astronaut health as well as source new antibiotics that can be used on Earth.

Learn more about NoMADS

Meet Team Cooke

  • Dr. Sue Cooke headshot
    Sue Cooke, Ph.D.
     

    Dr. Cooke, lecturer of biological sciences and biotechnology, is faculty advisor for the NoMADS project. Cooke was the first faculty member from New Hampshire to train with the Small World Initiative, an innovative program that encourages students to pursue careers in science while addressing a worldwide health threat – superbugs and the diminishing supply of effective antibiotics. Through this initiative, she developed a course on microbes and microorganisms at UNH Manchester that led to the development of her research program and the NoMADS project. Outside of work, Cooke enjoys running races with her daughter, working in her garden and going out for trivia nights or live music with her husband.

  • Raymond Miller Headshot
    Raymond Miller ’21
     

    A post-bacc, pre-MD/Ph.D. student, Ray co-leads the NoMADS project. His first degree is in large-format fine art photography, and he’s now seeking a degree in biological sciences. In addition to his work with NoMADS, Ray does independent research on bacterial diversity of New Hampshire mountain soil. He has a passion for serving his community, which includes tutoring ESOL students and working in UNH Manchester’s COVID lab. In his free time, Ray enjoys hiking and painting.

  • Sydney Rollins
    Sydney Rollins ’20, ’22G
     

    An alumna of the biological sciences program, Sydney is now pursuing her master’s degree in biotechnology. She co-leads the NoMADS project as well as performs independent research to discover novel antibiotics from soil bacteria. In addition, she teaches lab classes and works in the COVID lab at UNH Manchester. In her free time, Sydney enjoys playing with her dog, Taco. 

  • Irma
    Irma Vrevic ’23
     

    Irma is biological sciences major who serves as assistant microbiologist and social media manager for the NoMADS project. She also works on the independent research led by Sydney that searches for novel antibiotics in soil bacteria. Irma works as a part-time licensed nursing assistant and hopes to work in the medical field in the future. In her free time, she enjoys reading every chance she gets and watching movies.

  • thomas
    Thomas Gerton ’23
     

    A biotechnology major and Millyard Scholar, Tom heads up the 3D modeling aspects of the NoMADS project. Tom is Raymond's lab assistant for his research on bacterial diversity of New Hampshire mountain soil as well as an intern at Advanced Solutions, which designs and manufactures robotic and vascular platforms for building human tissues. In his free time, Tom enjoys rock climbing and riding his motorcycle. 

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Contact Us

For questions, suggestions and press inquiries, connect with us at nomads.teamcooke@unh.edu or on social media.
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