DeBakey High School Students to learn about STEM ‘On-and-Off the Planet’

Houston — How does space travel affect your health? How do astronauts sleep in space? What do
astronauts eat in space? How do astronauts
exercise in space?

These and other questions will be answered by
current and former astronauts and scientists
during a visit by nearly 200 students to the
National Space Biomedical Research Institute
(NSBRI) that will occur on April 23, 2015. The
students, from the DeBakey High School for Health
Professions, will participate in an event
entitled, “STEM On-and-Off the Planet” as part
of an overall program to encourage students to
enter the fields of science, technology,
engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“Students who have already expressed an interest
in the health professions will have the unique,
up-close opportunity to tour the NSBRI’s
Consolidated Research Facility (CRF),” said Dr.
Amanda Hackler, Head of Career Development
and Outreach at NSBRI and Assistant Professor,
Center for Space Medicine (CSM) at Baylor
College of Medicine (BCM). “Students will be
able to talk directly with astronauts who have
experienced what happens to the body in space
and who can attest to the very real need for
more scientific study of addressing health
issues faced by space explorers.”

The students will then tour the CRF which
includes a space suit and scientific equipment
tested aboard the ISS. The facility also features
an exhibit of the Mars 500 study, a simulated
journey to Mars lasting 520 days.

“It is important for students to understand
that the health issues facing humans in space are serious and that we are funding studies that not only will help keep our space explorers safe, but will translate to new kinds of treatment back here on Earth,” said Hackler. “To have the opportunity to talk directly with individuals who have spent time in space and who are pursuing this exciting area of medical study is invaluable.”

The DeBakey High School for Health Professions
(HSHP) opened in 1972 and was the first of its
kind in the nation. A magnet school of the
Houston Independent School District, HSHP
provides a rigorous and comprehensive
pre-college program for students pursuing
careers in medicine, health care, and/or
the sciences. Ninety-eight percent of HSHP’s
graduates attain postsecondary education.

Established in 1997 through a NASA competition,
NSBRI is a consortium of leading biomedical
institutions including Baylor College of
Medicine, Brookhaven National Laboratory,
Harvard Medical School, The Johns Hopkins
University, Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Morehouse School of Medicine,
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Rice
University, Texas A&M University, University
of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, University
of Pennsylvania Health System and University
of Washington. NSBRI, a 501(c)(3) organization
partnered with NASA, is studying the health
risks related to long-duration spaceflight
and developing the technologies and
countermeasures needed for human space
exploration missions. The Institute’s science,
technology and education projects take place
at approximately 60 institutions across the
United States. For more information, please


Graham Scott
Associate Director

National Space Biomedical Research Institute