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ASU scientist presents during economic mission of Belgium

Photo of Dr. Aurélie Crabbé
June 29, 2011

A scientist in ASU Biodesign Institute’s Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology presented research to attendees at a meeting in New York City during the Belgian economic mission presided by Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium.

Belgium officials attending included the Flemish Minister-President Kris Peeters and Belgian secretary of State, Steven Vanackere, along with U.S. and Belgian business leaders.

Aurélie Crabbé, Ph.D., was one of a few outstanding young scientists invited to present at the prestigious June 25 event by the President of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). In 2009, Crabbé earned a Ph.D. from VUB in Bioscience Engineering.

An assistant research scientist in the Biodesign Institute lab of Professor Cheryl Nickerson, Ph.D., Crabbé is studying how disease-causing agents are affected by spaceflight conditions and is also developing tissue models of the human body to better understand how these agents cause disease.

Prior studies by the research team have indicated that certain microbes become more virulent when grown under spaceflight conditions, thus increasing the risk of astronauts becoming sick during flight. The scientists are conducting a NASA experiment on the final space shuttle flight scheduled to launch in July to determine if what they have learned from microbe behavior in space can be used to enhance the efficacy of vaccines to fight infectious disease.

The nine-day Belgian mission is visiting the United States to strengthen economic relations with American companies. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors are among those represented on the mission.  Prince Philippe opened the Belgium exhibit pavilion at the BIO International Convention in Washington, D.C. The conference is hosted by the Biotechnology Industry Organization and runs June 27-30 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.