Steven M. Boone, a Delaware State University molecular and cellular neuroscience graduate student, was enlisted by NASA to study the issue of muscle atrophy such as the degeneration that astronauts experience on long missions in space.

Boone, of Middletown, was awarded a one-year NASA Delaware Space Grant Graduate Fellowship to conduct the research during the next year.

His research will study motor neuron disease in mice, which he believes exhibits mechanistic changes that mimic some aspects of extended exposure to the microenvironment of outer space. Boone’s research aims at understanding the pathogenesis and protective pathways associated with muscle degeneration that may translate to protecting astronauts exposed to long-term space missions.

A graduate of Middletown High School, Boone earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wilmington University in 2014 and a master’s in human services in 2016.