Four scientists selected for space research postdoctoral fellowships

Four young investigators have been named as the first National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) Postdoctoral Fellows.

"With a national focus on longer space missions, there is a greater need for scientists experienced in the research needed to solve health problems related to exploration missions," said Dr. Jeffrey P. Sutton, NSBRI director. "This program provides hands-on experience for the scientific workforce who will implement the Vision for Space Exploration."

The two-year fellowship offers young scientists the opportunity to manage their own space-related biomedical research project while continuing to learn from an experienced faculty mentor. Participants receive $40,000 per year, become a member of one of NSBRI’s research teams, and spend one-to-two weeks at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) learning about JSC’s research facilities and program.

"As part of an NSBRI research team, they will participate in their team’s monthly teleconferences and meetings and attend NSBRI’s annual investigator retreats," Sutton said. "The team activities give the Fellows additional professional relationships with leading scientists in their field from across the U.S."

To be selected, applicants submitted detailed research project proposals to investigate a solution to a space health risk or to develop a technology needed to enable research or medical care in space. The research must involve a mentor and be carried out at a U.S. laboratory doing space-related biomedical or biotechnological research.

Applications were reviewed for scientific and technical merit by the Fellowship Committee and by NSBRI management to ensure relevance to the Institute’s research program goals. The 2004 NSBRI Postdoctoral Fellows, their institutions and mentors are:

  • Sophie Gaboyard, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Chicago
    Mentor: Anna Lysakowski, Ph.D.
  • Andrew Judge, Ph.D., Boston University
    Mentor: Susan Kandarian, Ph.D.
  • Luis Cardoso Landa, Ph.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine
    Mentor: Mitchell Schaffler, Ph.D.
  • Vesna Zderic, Ph.D., University of Washington
    Mentor: Lawrence A. Crum, Ph.D.

The Fellows’ research projects address muscle and bone loss, cardiovascular changes, immunology and infection. NSBRI solicits fellowship applications annually.

Funded by NASA, NSBRI studies the health risks related to long-duration space flight with peer-reviewed research and education projects at more than 70 institutions across the United States.

The Institute’s research program addresses bone and muscle loss, cardiovascular changes, sleep disturbances, balance and orientation, radiation exposure, immunology and infection, neurobehavioral and psychosocial factors, remote medical care and related technology, nutrition, physical fitness, and rehabilitation. Research findings will also impact the understanding and treatment of similar medical conditions experienced on Earth.