Abzu’s explainable AI used in NASA GeneLab study to explain skin disorders in space.

By utilizing models developed by the QLattice® – Danish / Spanish startup Abzu’s proprietary algorithm built on their patented technology – scientists have identified gene combinations that explain the origin of rashes astronauts develop during space missions, enabling the investigation of new countermeasures to mitigate skin damage during spaceflight.

Abzu press relesae - NASA GeneLab

Abzu, a Danish/Spanish deeptech startup that builds and applies new technologies and methods to drive scientific discoveries, is proud to announce that its proprietary QLattice artificial intelligence technology has been utilized in a study by scientists at NASA GeneLab to investigate how space travel affects genes that, in unique combinations of activity, contribute to skin disorders.

The preprint, awaiting publication in Nature Communications Medicine, relied on Abzu’s QLattice technology to explain key biological changes in gene expression related to skin health.

The QLattice identified the most likely genes that were affected by spaceflight in conjunction with partner genes. Explaining the connection between genes — how they interact with their “friends,” upregulating and downregulating each other, is extremely important — and this is a wholly new find. Historically, conventional analytical methods, including traditional artificial intelligence and machine learning models, have only been able to identify a single gene actor at a time.

Space is a hostile environment that can induce a wide range of increased health risks, including dermatological issues such as skin damage. During regular ISS missions averaging six months, skin rashes have been identified as the most frequently reported in-flight clinical symptom. These have also been found to worsen after astronauts perform extravehicular activities (any activity done by an astronaut in outer space outside a spacecraft).

Health problems are critical concerns for future Moon and Mars missions, which will require longer periods outside the spacecraft and increase the risk of exposure to irritant dust and radiation. By revealing and understanding the skin’s biological response to space, the results of this study could aid the development of new countermeasures to mitigate skin damage during spaceflight and optimize astronaut performance and health during these future missions.

“We are extremely proud that Abzu’s explainable AI is being utilized in pioneering studies with the NASA GeneLab, and that we’re finally able to exhibit the actual promise of what people expect artificial intelligence to do,” says Casper Wilstrup, Founder and CEO of Abzu. “With many industry players worried that AI is being sensationalized, it’s a great feeling to showcase that our technology has real applications that generate unparalleled results for credible science.”

Abzu’s AI differs from traditional AI, which produces black-box models unsuitable for scientific research. Black-box models are good at making predictions but fail at explaining the “why” behind a prediction, a critical part of scientific method. Abzu’s technology helps scientists generate new theories and scientific understanding quickly with high-performing, explainable models, meaning scientists no longer need to waste time manually running models trying to support a prediction.

About NASA GeneLab.

NASA GeneLab brings together a community of scientists to utilize the spaceflight and spaceflight analogue datasets hosted on GeneLab to generate novel discoveries and hypothesis-driven, collaborative, follow-on investigations. Discoveries made using GeneLab have begun and will continue to deepen our understanding of biology, advance the field of genomics, and help to discover cures for diseases, create better diagnostic tools, and ultimately allow astronauts to better withstand the rigors of long-duration spaceflight.

Learn more at genelab.nasa.gov.

About Abzu.

Abzu is the best in class in silico disease understanding and drug design company. Since its founding in 2018, Abzu’s proprietary explainable AI, the QLattice®, has been the cornerstone to their cutting-edge approach. Abzu is a preferred partner for pharma, biotech, and research institutions, transforming data into insights and accelerating R&D.

Abzu has offices in Copenhagen and Barcelona, and has raised €13.3M in total funding to date. Abzu has been mentioned in Gartner® research, from Market Guides for AI Trust, Risk, and Security Management to Cool Vendor™, and is the winner of several awards, including the 2023 “Best HealthTech” Nordics Award at the Nordic Startup Awards. For more information, visit www.abzu.ai.

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