Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Dr. Bethany Caulkins

Reader 2

Dr. Mary Hatcher-Skeers

Rights Information

2020 Dayanara Campos Sarmiento


Space travel has posed numerous physiological and psychological effects on astronauts, from general physical and emotional stress, to exposure to radiation and significant decreases in bone and muscle mass. As space exploration seeks to expand the barriers of humanity into space and other planets, it is imperative to take a look at the state of the field of space medicine. Although the field is still relatively new and progressing, it has failed to include female subjects and physiological systems in the studies due to a small sample size of women astronauts. As a result, there are major gaps in literature and little research on the differences of the effects of space flight between male and female bodies. Significant studies have already found some differences between the two, some of those identifying the down-regulation of estrogen receptors and certain genes in mice due to space flight, but research remains to be done on what this mechanism may influence in other estrogen regulated-systems in space flight. Here, we propose looking into the possible effects on one of those systems, bone density and growth, by the down-regulation of estrogen and progesterone receptors caused by microgravity in order to determine whether these signaling processes are involved in bone density effects while in microgravity. We will use real time RT-PCR to confirm down-regulation in uterine and prostate cells and will determine bone density effects with pDXA and histomorphometry.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.