Episode 134: Why Would You Send Yeast into Space?

Meet the Expert: Dr. Sergio Santa-Maria, project scientist for NASA BioSentinel Mission

Dr. Sergio Santa Maria

Studio portrait of Sergio Santa Maria.


Sergio is originally from Lima, Peru, where he studied Biology & Ecology. He did his doctoral studies at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, where he studied novel pathways for the repair of DNA damage using model biological organisms, including budding yeast. In 2009, he moved to New York City, where he was an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow and investigated different DNA repair genes using genetics, biochemistry, and molecular approaches. In 2014, Sergio joined the BioSentinel team at Ames Research Center, first as a project scientist and then as the lead scientist. He oversees the design of biological experiments in support of the BioSentinel mission and works as the link between the science and engineering teams. Sergio is also a NASA Space Biology-funded principal investigator and a co-PI for the LEIA lunar surface mission.





Bio Sentinel NASA

BioSentinel Fluidic cards with yeast showing blue negative and pink postive growth

Bio Sentinel Cube Sat

Jesse Fusco performs a solar array deployment and gimbal motion test on BioSentinel’s flight unit in BioSentinel Lab’s clean room, N213 room 104.
















Consider how yeast affects your food. Look at the food you eat and see if you see yeast in the ingredient list. How often is it used? (Hint: a lot!)

Send us a picture or leave a comment below.We LOVE hearing from you!! If you liked this episode, leave a comment below OR share with us on our Twitter , Instagram or Facebook page.


Astronaut Aquanaut book


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content
Verified by MonsterInsights