Bacteria in heavy water

Experiment developed by scientists from the Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa and the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
Its objective is to study the effect of a low radiation environment on the viability and growth of a microbial community recovered from high purity D2O.



Interaction between host and pathogens under low-radiation background

Experiment developed by the EvolSysVir group (evolutionary systems virology) of the Institute for Integrative Systems Biology (I²SysBio).
Characterization of Orsay virus infection dynamics in Caenohabditis elegans under muon-free conditions.



Genetic radiation tolerance

Experiment developed by the Translational Synthetic Biology group of the Pompeu Fabra University.

Its objective is to investigate the molecular basis of the effect of environmental radiation on the genomic integrity of prokaryotic and eukaryotic model organisms.



Luria-Delbrück 2.0

Experiment developed by TheSiMBioSys group (theoretical and in silico modeling of biological systems) of the Institute for Integrative Systems Biology (I²SysBio).

Fluctuation test to measure the rate of microbial mutations in a low radiation environment.



Yeast chronological aging and mutation rate under low-radiation conditions

Saccharomyces cerevisiae is one of the major model organisms for the study of molecular mechanisms related to human aging and disease, and is central to the discovery of important conserved longevity factors and pathways.

The two models used to study aging in S. cerevisiae are chronological lifespan and replicative lifespan. This project focuses on chronological lifespan, i.e., the measurement of the mean and maximum survival time of non-dividing yeast populations.

Previous investigations of yeast metabolism developed in a low background radiation environment, similar to that in the LSC, showed that these decreased radiation levels impair the biological defense of S. cerevisiae against radiomimetic chemical agents. However, no results of yeast chronological life span under these conditions have been reported. Therefore, the main objective of the project is to know the biological impact of low levels of background radiation on the chronological aging of yeast and on their mutation rate.


Multicellular structure formation in response to low level background radiation.

The constant presence of background radiation as an abiotic component of the Earth’s surface may have resulted in biophysical and biochemical effects derived from it being incorporated into fundamental cellular processes during the evolution of organisms living in near-surface environments. Reducing these radiation levels in subway laboratories has been shown to cause altered growth kinetics, differing between unicellular and multicellular organisms. This difference suggests that the state of cellular organization may influence a different response to low background radiation.

The aim of this proposal is to study the contribution of cellular organization in the response to low background radiation by investigating this response in unicellular near Metazoa models, which form multicellular structures during their life cycle or in response to environmental stimuli.



Ticking of epigenetic and senescence aging clocks in cosmic silence

Human aging has two long-discussed causes: epigenetic aging and senescence. Epigenetic aging, which can be measured with so-called “epigenetic clocks”, is due to deterministic processes embedded in the mammalian genome. Stochastic (random) damage, which may be due to wear and tear and/or malfunctioning of stress response machinery, leads to cellular senescence. Epigenetic clocks are a housekeeping system that appears to be conserved in all model organisms, including humans.

Thus, although the link between cellular senescence and aging is indisputable, epigenetic aging appears to act independently of common senescence-inducing stressors.

This experiment aims to study the primordial nature of the epigenetic clocks of aging and senescence by performing measurements of their functioning and timing capacity in an environment of “cosmic silence”. Taking advantage of the absence of background radiation from the LSC, we want to test whether the presence of variable radiation during the ~200 million years of mammalian evolution in the near-surface environment of the Earth is a multicomponent abiotic factor that is integrated into the apparently indelible ticking rhythms of epigenetic clocks.


Unravelling the mechanisms of the effects of low-dose ionising radiation on living systems

The aim of this proposal is to study how a low radiation environment can contribute to the appearance of alterations in subcellular enzymatic reactions, mitochondrial function, and direct and indirect DNA damage. In order to do so, chemical enzymatic reactions involved in cellular protection against oxidative damage and mitochondrial function in yeast will be studied in this underground environment.