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.
J. P. Saha, Ph.D. is our Scientist of the Month for his poster, Biological effects of particles with very high energy deposition on mammalian cells utilizing the Brookhaven Tandem Van de Graff accelerator, presented at the 59th Annual Meeting of the Radiation Society of USA, September 14–18, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The abstract for the poster won J.P. a Travel Award for the meeting.
High LET radiation from GCR (Galactic Cosmic Rays) consisting mainly of high charge and energy (HZE) nuclei and secondary protons and neutrons, and secondaries from protons in SPE (Solar Particle Event) pose a major health risk to astronauts due to induction of DNA damage and oxidative stress. Experiments with high energy particles mimicking the space environment for estimation of radiation risk are being performed at NASA Space Radiation Laboratory at BNL.
Previously Featured Scientists of the Month
Susana Zanello Ph.D. has been chosen as Scientist of the Month. Her student, Jordan Brewer, presented the poster, “Investigation of the Relationship Between Intraocular Pressure and Cardiovascular Measures in Head Down Tilt Bed Rest Subjects,” at UTMB as part of the Medical Student Summer Research Program. For the poster and presentation, Jordan won the Best Translational Research Poster Award, June 26, 2013.
Lori Chappell, M.S. has been chosen as Scientist of the Month for her poster, “Estimation of the Dose and Dose Rate Effectiveness Factor,” which was presented at the 2013 Radiation Research Society Meeting in New Orleans.
Current models to estimate radiation risk use the Life Span Study (LSS) cohort that received high doses and high dose rates of radiation. Transferring risks from these high dose rates to the low doses and dose rates received by astronauts in space is a source of uncertainty in our risk calculations. The solid cancer models recommended by BEIR VII , UNSCEAR , and Preston et al  is fitted adequately by a linear dose response model, which implies that low doses and dose rates would be estimated the same as high doses and dose rates. However animal and cell experiments imply there should be curvature in the dose response curve for tumor induction.
The 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.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Project Scientist Dr. Lori Ploutz-Snyder, a three time Ohio University alumna and Honors Tutorial College graduate, develops strategies to mitigate the debilitating physiologic effects of long-term spaceflight. Her team’s work is of particular importance as NASA continues research on a three-year mission to Mars. Read more.
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 36 scientists from many disciplines within life sciences. DSLS provides an excellent working environment for collegial intellectual exchange.
Dr. Neal R. Pellis, Director
The goal of the NASA space Radiation Program is to ensure that crews can safely live and work in the space radiation environment.
NASA uses the "Aquarius" undersea habitat as a research analog for space missions to develop concepts for long-term space habitation.
In late 2010, the Institute of Medicine released new evidence-based guidelines for recommended intake levels of vitamin D.
Space travel is inherently dangerous – it can entail all kinds of medical hazards.
Changes in sensorimotor function during spaceflight are most pronounced immediately following g-transitions.
The Exercise Physiology and Countermeasures Project and the Flight Analogs Project, both led by USRA scientists.
The risk of radiation carcinogenesis from manned spaceflight is high, particularly for epithelial cancers of the lung, breast, esophagus, stomach, colon, and bladder.