Engineering a Habitat for Brain Organoids in Space

Imagine hunting for cures to brain disorders — in space.

Embry-Riddle student Malik Moville holding a model of the human brain in his right hand

Mechanical Engineering major Malik Moville (’21) was part of a team that launched one of the first brain organoid investigations to the International Space Station while he worked on an extended internship at Space Tango, a company using microgravity for research and innovation. Moville helped the Kentucky-based company build the habitat that kept the brain organoids alive in space.

The habitat housing the organoids was launched to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX rocket on July 21, 2019.

Researchers hope the organoids will help them better understand how aging and disease impact the human brain. The organoids served as 3D brain models for researchers exploring the biology behind neurological diseases.

“From the start of the project to the actual launch, I was thrilled to be part of it,” said Moville, who worked with a team from the University of California-San Diego and helped design a habitat to keep the organoids alive in space.