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Title: Development of antibodies for life-detection experiment in extreme environments : implications for astrobiology
Author: Derveni, Maria Elisavet
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 3510
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2010
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The Life Marker Chip (LMC) instrument is an antibody assay-based system which will attempt to detect molecular signatures of Life in the Martian subsurface as part of the payload on board the European Space Agency (ESA) ExoMars mission rover, currently scheduled for launch in 2018. The LMC will have the ability to detect up to 25 different molecular targets of different origins that are associated with meteoritic in-fall, extinct or extant Life, prebiotic chemistry and spacecraft contamination. Regolith / crushed rock samples will be collected for the LMC by the rover and subjected to solvent extraction to extract organic molecules for analysis by the immunoassays. One of the key stages in the development of the LMC is the selection of antibodies to be used in the flight instrument. The challenge lies in the nature of the molecules or classes of molecules that are LMC targets and the need for antibodies that remain functional in the extreme conditions during a planetary exploration mission, especially the radiation environments. The work described within focuses on two main aspects of the search for LMC-relevant antibodies; the effect of space radiation on antibody performance [in the form of both ground-based and Low Earth Orbit (LEO)-set studies] and the development of ―customised‖antibodies against some of the molecules that are being investigated as potential LMC targets. The need to study the effects of space radiation on antibodies arose due to lack of any heritage of their use in interplanetary missions. For all the antibodies in the LMC, the ability to resist inactivation due to space radiation seen during a Mars mission will be a prerequisite. The objective of the ground-based radiation studies was to expose a number of LMC-relevant antibodies to simulated Mars mission radiation in the form of proton and neutron radiation which are the components of the mission radiation environment that are expected to have the dominant effect on the operation of the LMC. Cont/d.
Supervisor: Cullen, David C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available