Since 1969, the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), a private, nonprofit corporation, has worked closely with NASA. USRA's Division of Space Biomedicine was founded in 1983 to address the biomedical issues faced by humans in space. Harrison Schmitt, lunar module pilot of Apollo 17, was named as the first Director of the Division. In late 1990, the Division was renamed the Division of Space Life Sciences (DSLS) reflecting a broader charter: "to stimulate, encourage, and assist research in the NASA life sciences." This charter continues today and is encapsulated within three broad programs: the Science Program, the Extramural Support Program and the Education Program.

 

Scientist of the Month

 

 

Dr. Jessica Scott

Our Scientist of the Month is Jessica Scott, Ph.D. for her poster, “Influence of Exercise Modality on Cerebral-Ocular Hemodynamics and Pressures,” which was presented at the HRP Investigators’ Workshop in January.

 

Exercise training is beneficial for cardiac, muscle and bone health; however, its effects on the development of visual impairment due to intracranial pressure (VIIP) remain controversial. Resistive exercise without a valsalva has been shown to increase intracranial pressure (ICP) by 3mmHg, while with a valsalva the increase is 18mmHg. Similar increases in intraocular pressure (IOP) have been observed during weight lifting.

 

Previously Featured Scientist of the Month

 

March

 

Susana Zanello, Ph.D. was our Scientist of the Month for her poster, “Brain Gene Expression Signatures From Cerebrospinal Fluid Exosome RNA Profiling,” which was presented at the recent HRP Investigator’s Workshop in Galveston, Texas.

 

The purpose of this study is to investigate changes in brain gene expression via exosome analysis in patients suffering from ICP elevation of varied severity as a first step toward obtaining evidence suggesting that cognitive function and ICP levels can be correlated with biomarkers in the CSF.

 

 

Previously Featured as a USRA Quarterly Display


NEEMO

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/NASANEEMO

 

 

Community Outreach Highlight

 

Space Station Live: Short, High-Intensity Exercise to Stay in Space Shape


Dr. Ploutz-Snyder


Public Affairs Office Amiko Kauderer interviews Lori L. Ploutz-Snyder, lead investigator of the long-running Sprint VO2 exercise experiment. The study investigates high-intensity, low duration exercise techniques on the space station using a resistance device, an exercise bike and a treadmill. Watch the video.


NASA Space Radiation

 

Humans In Space Art Competition

Humans in Space Art

A Message from the Director

Welcome to the Division of Space Life Sciences (DSLS) at USRA Houston. As part of a non-profit entity, DSLS has the mission to support NASA and other Federal entities by conducting and managing research that addresses the risks to humans before, during, and after space exploration. DSLS provides high profile scientists, physicians, collaborators, and science managers to the NASA Space Life Sciences Directorate and the Human Research Program (HRP). Additionally, DSLS conducts and hosts major science meetings, seminars, and workshops. The full-time scientist team is made up of 19 scientists from many disciplines within life sciences. DSLS provides an excellent working environment for collegial intellectual exchange.

 

Dr. Neal R. Pellis, Director

UTMB Aerospace Medicine Grand Rounds

Monthly Aerospace Medicine Grand Rounds seminars

are held at USRA Houston on the 4th Tuesday of each month (January– October).

 

Please check back for information on upcoming seminars.

 

 

Research Projects

 

Digital AstronautThe Digital Astronaut Project

Applying Computational Modelling to Preserve the Health of Astronauts

 

 

 

 

Video Highlights

HRP Spaceflight Analogs
 
Optic nerve compression

 


Human Health and Performance in Space

Human Health and Performance in SpaceThe Human Health and Performance in Space Portal is an informal collection of articles, sites and pages discussing the effects of space flight, travel and habitation on astronauts and other space flight participants.

Featured Books

Space PharmacologySpace Pharmacology, written by DSLS Senior Scientist Virginia E. Wotring, Ph.D., is a review of the current knowledge and use of pharmaceuticals during spaceflight.  It provides a comprehensive study of the literature, addressing each area of pharmacokinetics and all major physiological systems in turn. 

 

Dr. Wotring is Pharmacology Discipline Lead at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Human Heath and Countermeasures Division.

 

Human Adaptation to Spaceflight: The Role of Nutrition was co-authored by DSLS scientist Sara R. Zwart, Ph.D.  (excerpt) “The importance of nutrition in exploration has been documented repeatedly throughout history, on voyages across oceans, on expeditions across polar ice, and on treks across unexplored continents.”  In this book, key areas of nutrition concerns during spaceflight, including loss of body mass and depletion of body nutrient stores, are reviewed in general and in detail with respect to the role of nutrition and specific nutrients.  Existing knowledge is highlighted as well as gaps where additional research is needed.

 

Dr. Zwart is a Senior Scientist at USRA and the Deputy Manager for Nutritional Biochemistry at the Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratory at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.