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



Lealem MulugetaOur DSLS Scientist of the Month is Lealem Mulugeta, MSc. for his poster “The Digital Astronaut Project Bone Remodeling Model.”


We don’t know the contribution of each risk factor on bone loss and recovery of bone strength and which factors are the best targets for countermeasure application; and we need to identify options for mitigation of early onset osteoporosis before, during, and after spaceflight. Skeletal loading along with endocrine regulation and local biochemical mediators are what drives the cellular mechanism of bone remodeling to maintain bone. Exercise induced loading, with appropriate input to a model can approximately predict the effect of specific exercise prescription and thus help to evaluate its benefits as a countermeasure option.

Previously Featured Scientists of the Month




Our DSLS Scientist of the Month is Ronita Cromwell, Ph.D. for her poster “70 Days of 6 Degrees-head Down Tilt Bed Rest and its Impact on Ocular Parameters,” presented at the International Society for Gravitational Physiology Meeting in Waterloo, Canada, June 2014.


Ocular changes such as visual impairment and intracranial pressure (VIIP) have been observed in astronauts returning from long-duration spaceflight.  These changes may be attributed to the shift in body fluids due to microgravity, thus it remains to be determined whether 6° head-down bed rest is a good analog for VIIP.


USRA Quarterly Display




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

Research Projects


Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger

UTMB Health Aerospace Medicine Grand Rounds

The Twins Study: NASA's First Foray into the 21st Century Omics Research

Craig Kundrot, Ph.D.
Deputy Chief Scientist

NASA Human Research Program
NASA Johnson Space Center

Presented at

Universities Space Research Association

3600 Bay Area Blvd., Houston Texas

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

8:00 a.m. CDT

Video Highlights

HRP Spaceflight Analogs
Optic nerve compression



Human Health and Performance in Space

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.