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Surviving Harsh Conditions

Lisa Nip: How humans could evolve to survive in space

If we hope to one day leave Earth and explore the universe, our bodies are going to have to get a lot better at surviving the harsh conditions of space. Using synthetic biology, Lisa Nip hopes to harness special powers from microbes on Earth — such as the ability to withstand radiation — to make humans more fit for exploring space. "We're approaching a time during which we'll have the capacity to decide our own genetic destiny," Nip says. "Augmenting the human body with new abilities is no longer a question of how, but of when."

Lisa Nip's work focuses on how we can use synthetic biology to allow humanity to explore space

Lisa Nip is a Ph.D. candidate at the MIT Media Lab's Molecular Machines group. She uses her training in biochemistry and biotechnology to translate synthetic biology into real-world applications. She spends much of her time concocting biological solutions to long-duration space travel and works to make them a reality.

Nip was trained as a biochemist at Boston University, and previously did research in the Douglas Lab at UCSF and the Church Lab in the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard Medical School.

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