Houston, TX: Dr. Rachael Seidler, a faculty member at the University of Michigan, has been appointed to lead one of the seven integrated scientific research teams currently funded by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI).
An Associate Professor within the Department of Psychology and School of Kinesiology and Associate Director of the Neuroscience Graduate program at the University of Michigan, Dr. Seidler is the newly appointed team leader for the NSBRI Sensorimotor Adaptation team. As team leader, she will help coordinate the studies of scientists at 8 institutions working on 5 projects, including her own. The team’s research is focused on examining sensory systems, their interactions, and integration with the brain and motor behavior relevant to long-duration space missions.
Dr. Seidler succeeds Dr. Charles M. Oman, who is the Director of the Man Vehicle Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Oman has ably served as Team Leader since the inception of the Institute in 1997.
Astronauts on exploration space missions will experience gravitational transitions, as well as extended periods of weightlessness and partial gravity, with associated adaptation in their sensory and motor systems. Disorientation, changes in vision, balance, and motor control may lead to impaired performance and compromised mission success.
"Dr. Seidler’s scientific expertise and leadership in neurocognitive and sensorimotor research will further strengthen NSBRI’s efforts to protect astronaut health and to improve life on Earth," said Dr. Jeffrey P. Sutton, NSBRI President, CEO and Institute Director.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon, Dr. Seidler completed her master’s degree and Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Michigan she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota/Veterans Administration Medical Center.
"I have close to twenty years’ experience studying sensorimotor adaptation" said Dr. Seidler, and "I am thrilled to use my skills and knowledge to assist NSBRI in achieving its important goals."
The National Space Biomedical Research Institute, NSBRI, is a 501(c)3 organization funded by NASA. Its mission is to lead a national program to mitigate the health risks related to long-duration spaceflight and to apply the discoveries to improve life on Earth. Annually, the Institute’s science, technology and education projects take place at approximately 60 institutions and companies across the United States. The science and technology development projects address space health concerns, which include bone and muscle loss, cardiovascular alterations, radiation exposure, neurobehavioral and psychosocial factors, remote medical care, and habitability and performance issues. Research findings also impact the understanding and treatment of similar medical conditions experienced on Earth.