Experiment will be out of this world for Hauptman-Woodward Scientists

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Experiment will be out of this world for Hauptman-Woodward Scientists

Eddie and Elizabeth Snell had Valentine’s Day plans that were out of this world.

Now, they’ll just have to celebrate like everybody else.

The head of Buffalo’s Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute and his wife, a molecular biologist, are working on research to refine a method to use space to help provide knowledge to design the drugs of the future.

An experiment they have both worked on was scheduled to launch into space Tuesday, but the launch has been pushed back until later this week because of weather.

That did not dampen their Valentine’s Day spirits.

“Oh well, guess it’s a regular Valentine’s Day present for Elizabeth,” quipped Eddie Snell, president and CEO of Hauptman-Woodward on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. “There are not too many times that you can take something produced by your spouse and turn them into crystals grown in space.”

Snell drove to Erie, Pa., late Thursday to hand off packets of frozen liquid crystallization solutions made by his wife, a Hauptman-Woodward molecular biologist and research assistant, to a team from NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. From there, the frozen samples were to be taken to Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The plan is for the solution to be launched in a frozen state aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX to the International Space Station later this week.

A biophysicist, Snell travels the world conducting research in structural biology, including crystallography, which examines the atomic structures of molecules.

Snell was proud of the fact that his wife produced the samples headed into space. Before he drove them to Erie, he donned big, blue gloves Thursday afternoon and gently pulled the tightly sealed packages containing the solutions from a lab freezer.

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