space shuttle discovery in flight

Southwestern to explore the health effects of space travel at the next Physics and Astronomy Lecture

Anne Matthews Uncategorized

Coos Bay, OR – Southwestern’s upcoming Physics and Astronomy Lecture spotlights the work of Southwestern’s own Zinzi Konig, RN, Assistant Professor of Nursing. The lecture, The Effects of Space Flight on Human Health and Infectious Agents will be presented Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 6:30 pm via Southwestern’s Livestream at

Konig will present results from her past work studying infectious agents in space, carried aboard two of the final missions of the Space Shuttle Program.

She shares the following as a preview, “Conducting both short and long-term human space flight missions require investigating and understanding the effects of spaceflight on both infectious agents and the host’s immune system. In the first experiment described, (designated as ‘Streptococcus pneumoniae Expression of Genes in Space’ or SPEGIS-2), changes in gene expression of the infectious bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae in response to culture during spaceflight were investigated. In the second experiment described, (designated as ‘Mouse Immunology-2’) parts of the immune system, particularly those within the respiratory tract, that leads to increased susceptibility to infection in spaceflight were challenged with spaceflight and a viral agent. Taken together, these applied research studies have helped to build our knowledge of how microorganisms interact with their host, other environments, both on earth and in spaceflight.”

The Southwestern Physics and Astronomy Lecture Series is sponsored in part by the Southwestern Foundation. For further information about this month’s lecture and future events, please contact Dr. Aaron Coyner, Associate Professor of Physics, at To learn more about physics and engineering degrees at Southwestern please visit