Meet Our Innovators

Susan M. Bailey, PhD

Professor, Radiation Cancer Biology and Oncology

Areas of Collaborative Interest

  • Radiation Cytogenetics

Part of why I innovate is for the pure joy of it. It’s very exciting to be developing something that’s brand new that nobody has used before and to see some of the applications people have discovered. There’s certainly personal accomplishment in it and joy in the doing.

This is how I have always thought about my research and how it developed into my own program. Developing an applicable technology was my background since working at Los Alamos National Laboratory. It’s been a real advantage for me. Not a lot of people think this way. It’s a different perspective and a different set of tools. It’s allowed us to think about the [problems with current technology and how to fix them]. It’s allowed us to widen our research scope. We have tested our technology in people, wild boar in Fukushima, a wolf from Chernobyl, different things in dogs.

The other part is that if you have something great that can help people, you have got to get it out there otherwise it doesn’t do any good. There really is a use for my technology, but we have to be able to get it out there where people can take advantage of it. Many people have discovered different uses and different possibilities for this technology that we never imagined! That’s pretty exciting and very rewarding that we did make a difference somewhere along the line. Maybe we helped somebody diagnose a case of infertility or autism that they couldn’t have done before. 

Part of Dr. Bailey’s current research program includes being one of 10 investigations selected by NASA for the TWINS Study, an integrated effort to launch human space life science research into a new era of molecular or “omics” based studies.  As part of the one year mission aboard the International Space Station, identical twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly, are the subjects of this unique research opportunity.  The overall goal of the TWINS Study is to identify space-flight specific factors that influence human health, important considerations as we spend longer and longer periods of time, deeper and deeper into space, making our way to Mars.

Bailey and her team are assessing changes in telomere length and telomerase activity in the space- and earth-bound twins, as well as in a cohort of unrelated astronauts, which includes CSU alum Dr. Kjell Lindgren. She proposes that telomere maintenance represents not only a key indicator of general health, but also a particularly relevant biomarker of aging and age-related degenerative diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease and cancer), as it reflects the combined experiences (e.g., nutritional, psychological, and physical stresses) and environmental exposures (e.g., UV and ionizing radiations) encountered during spaceflight.  Studies also include evaluating chromosome aberrations as specific biomarkers of radiation exposure.  Taken together with the other TWINS Study investigations, results will facilitate identification of interactive effects and relationships that will suggest potential mitigation strategies for future study, as well as benefit precision medicine efforts in monitoring health and assessing disease risk not only of astronauts, but for those on earth as well.

Select NASA Twins Study Publications:

    • EP2079850A4: Detection of chromosomal inversions
    • WO2014008425A1: High resolution detection of chromosomal abnormalities using non-repetitive nucleic acid probes*
    • WO2002028380A2AU2001296746A1: Oral dosage forms for administration of the combination of tegafur, uracil, folinic acid, and irinotecan and method of using the same*

    *Assignee other than the Colorado State University Research Foundation

    Patent list generated using Google Patents; Last updated on April 10, 2020.

Last updated on May 27, 2022